As you may remember from yesterday’s article , I love numbers and notice how they interact with other thing… perhaps a little too much. There is a chance that being stuck in my house is enhancing my Spidey Sense here, but, as my dad and I both are fond of saying, “It is what it is!”. Regardless, today’s date made me think a little of dementia in a somewhat unique and hopefully not offensive way today re: a Bible verse.
Which verse is he going to pull out of context here, you may be thinking. Is it:
James 4:17: If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
Nope. Great verse, though. Our conscience is important to us and when we know what we should do in a situation (the right thing) and don’t do it, we sin. Good stuff, but not my verse.
1 Peter 4:17: For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Nada. Great verse too. When God judges a nation, the Church is the first volunteer. We, in the church, should rightly handle the Word of the Lord. When we do a bad job (re: Health, Wealth, and Prosperity gospel; cheap grace; many other examples…), we are actually enhancing unbelievers’ unbelief. We harden their hearts even further. We deserve judgement if we can’t explain the simple truth found in the message of the Gospel. It starts with us, not with those who don’t understand…
Could it be Matthew 4:17: 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Nope. One of the most important concepts in the Bible, though! If we want Jesus to be our Savior and save us from our sins, we must submit to His Lordship and turn from our sins and follow Him. That is repentance… and nobody will enter heaven without it.
No…the 4:17 verse I want to submit to you is 2 Cor. 4:17 which reads: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison..”
Note before continuing: I encourage you to click the link and read it in context. Same with the rest of the verses. The second most important concept in understanding the Bible is very similar to the first one. 1. Context. Context. Context. 2. See #1. 3. Never read just one verse…see rules 1&2.
Allow me to explain? Dementia is not a light affliction to us. It absolutely stinks. It is very, very, very, very, very hard. It is 24x7x366 on your mind and is heavy, not light. It is extremely heavy for the patient. It is similar to caregivers, nurses, doctors, support systems, etc… It is anything but light. The key to meaning here is the end of the verse: For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…
John Gill explained concept, saying “Their affliction is represented as “light” which though it is not in itself, but often very grievous and heavy to be borne, especially when any soul trouble is added to it; yet is light, when the saint is supported by the arm of the Lord, indulged with his presence, and favoured with the discoveries of his love. The afflictions of God’s people are light, when compared with their deserts, with the sufferings of Christ, the torments of the damned in hell, and the joys of heaven, which are here, by way of opposition thereunto, styled a “weight of glory”.
While the afflictions in view are primarily persecution, I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to add physical suffering to this discussion or at least draw comfort by understanding the context of “light” here. Dementia is hard. It is heavy. It is anvil on Wile E. Coyote heavy. But believer, can I give you some good news? In comparison, heaven will make these hard times, whether we end up under persecution or in the grip of dementia, feel as light as a feather in comparison. Hold Fast, believer…Help is on its way!
Another way of thinking about this: Think of it like a jeweler and a diamond. He/she hold up the diamond to a plaid background, right? No…they use a black velvet background. Why? The contrast. The clear, white-hot brilliance of the stone pops in contrast to the dark backdrop. The moon is “bright” when compared to the darkness around it. Dementia sucks…but heaven is infinitely greater in magnitude the other direction.
Can I add something here from way out in right field? Asking has never stopped me before. 😉 The Passover. We recently passed the Passover on the calendar. Here are the verses that talk about it in Exodus 12. Here is a dramatic retelling of it through spoken word from Shai Linne:
In the Passover, as you likely know, was an amazing, ultra-heavy event. Read the previous 12 chapters leading up to it. It was a tremendously important event to the children of God. In the climax of this event, the believers were told by Moses the following:
“Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.”
Cliff’s notes: Mark your door in red and stay inside and all is ok Passover night. Choose not to and the death angel takes your firstborn. Bonus Note: This is also a foreshadowing of how Christ’s “blood”, through His death on the cross, protects us from the eternal death angel.
So what does this have to do with light afflictions from 4:17 above? Forgive me if this is sad or for whatever negative emotion it might bring, but it is common knowledge that there is a sticker (or a symbol of some sorts) on the plaque by the door frames of the folks at nursing homes in a most places. If the sticker is green, the person’s directives include lifesaving measures like CPR, ventilators, etc… If the sticker is red, it means that they have opted out of these measures. Therefore, mom’s red sticker, should she get COVID-19 or any terminal illness beyond what she has, will mandate that she is kept pain-free, is comforted (we would even get to visit), and that she would likely then pass away. The red dot, if you will, and infinitely more importantly the Christ waiting in Heaven, will save her from the (comparatively) light momentary affliction she now faces, and provide a fireman’s hose of joy to extinguish her match.
Why do so many die in nursing homes of COVID-19, you may ask? It isn’t only that they are seniors/frail, although that does play in. In some (many?) cases, it is their directive that they not be on a ventilator or be treated heroically beyond comfort care that leads to these numbers. Some would likely be able to be saved had they not opted out from such. We know this because so many survive getting it using treatments including ventilators. However, I am not judging anyone’s decisions here even a little bit, but for a believer being spared from the slow death angel and opting instead to go to the Savior’s arms in heaven isn’t a bad plan either…eh? We are all terminal…but some are more terminal than others. Fleeing death’s long process in this way and clinging to Christ will someday be mom’s Passover solution, and will be mine, when I am where mom is, as well.