Howdy all! The weekend is closer than the distance we are supposed to be standing at the Piggly Wiggly. Time is short and my sentences are long, so off we go. 🙂
Back to the number thing again one last time(??). Before I do this, a couple of editorial comments: The verse numbers in the Bible are NOT inspired. The Bible wasn’t divided into chapters until the 1200s and into verses until at least the mid-16th century. I don’t subscribe to any numerology or number games with the Bible. Can God use such? Yup. He can talk through donkeys too, but I don’t ask cousin Eddie’s mule for stock tips. However, I am thankful for the grace and wisdom given by the Lord to these folks for coming up with this learning aid, because my brain isn’t what it used to be. With these caveats in mind, I present you:
10 Verses Involving 5:8… Dementia, be Darned. (Sorry…I am Baptist)
Romans 5:8: “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…”
First rule of Bible study: Context, Context, Context…never just read one verse and draw your final conclusion. Verse 7 in this amazing passage Paul wrote to the Romans said: “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—” In this beautiful
verse set of verses letter, Paul lays out much of his theology. In chapter 5 he is still reminding us of the innate evil in humanity that started in the garden when Adam and Eve first unleashed sin into the world. (Note: yes…I do believe in every word of the Bible, rightly interpreted as best I can.) This verse reminds me clearly that His love for me, for mom, for our loved ones, isn’t based on our goodness. Loving a good person is easy. It is easy for me to love nurses in the memory ward who care for my mom. No…He loves the worst of the worst who place their faith in Him, regardless of merit. Mom leans on that as an imperfect person and I do as a super imperfect person as well.
Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
This verse is from the Sermon on the Mount, the most famous and cited (and slaughtered) verses of the New Testament. This verse is fairly free-standing among a list of blessed folks. After reading our first verse, this may seem odd. 2 Points: 1. He purifies our heart when we believe. Further, according to Jeremiah and Ezekiel, we will receive a “new heart” when we believe….one that can and does love Him. Amazing. 🙂 2. Some are born, or die pre-birth, “pure”, if you will. We are still born with a messed up nature, ala Adam and Eve. However, I believe wholeheartedly that God extends grace to those incapable of knowing the right from the left. My cousin, who suffered brain damage at a very young age, reminds me of this 2nd category. Topic-wise, have you ever looked at the peace that some seem to have at end-of-life? I know that not all believers experience this and not all who don’t believe are in a worse state…just an observation. I have had a few loved ones who seemed to already be in the presence of God while living at the edge of death…a truly beautiful picture. I hate that it isn’t always the case.
Job 5:8: “However, if I were you, I would appeal to God and lay my cause before Him”.
Remember the whole context thing? Never is this more important than sentences that begin with words like “However” and “Therefore” like this one. Job 1-5 is truly an amazing, true story of God’s might and of Satan’s power, yet powerlessness. Job is reminded here where to turn to when things are bad…and they were really bad. Worse than even dementia bad. God is Sovereign and is our hope in this world and in eternity. Lean on Him and trust Him. I know it is hard. It sucks for me too. It was far worse for Job…and he struggled mightily. However, he held on. We have to too.
1 Timothy 5:8: “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
This is a sticky wicket, when it comes to dementia. First: Please, please, please (!!!)…talk to an elder law lawyer…not just a regular lawyer…if dementia weasels itself into your world. There are programs that are legal and perfectly moral to get your loved one on Medicaid in most states. (Medicaid-approved annuity and Medicaid-approved promissory notes are two options…) Second: We can only do what we can do…but, we can do at least that and do it well. Call your local Area Agency on Aging and call the Alzheimer’s Association to help you keep your loved one at home as long as you can. This is a heart issue, as is all of the Law as found in the New Covenant. Do your very best. Only you and the Lord know what that means. Some can do a lot and others cannot.
Mark 5:8: “For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
Let me make this clear. Dementia is a disease…it is NOT a demon. However, it does remind me that the devil hates us and wants us to feel pain. Dementia, especially in some stages with some people, is even more terrible than we are used to. There was one of the Sweet 17 that screamed a lot! She swore loudly. She punched. She was scary looking when she wasn’t right…and it was tragic. I pray that she was a believer, because when she hits heaven, the contrast of heaven with her last few years will be stunning…like a diamond next to a black felt board. This verse is a reminder that He is the healer and He will always heal believers..either now or in heaven.
Jeremiah 5:7-8: “Why should I forgive you? Your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods. I supplied all their needs,
yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.
They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man’s wife.”
This whole chapter reminds us very clearly how evil humanity is. It does also remind us, as believers, that some will always exist as a remnant of His people. He is faithful when we are not.
This set of verses also reminds me…if your loved one had dementia, you are still in the same relationship with them. If you are married, you are married “in sickness and in health”. I love you…all of you…but I don’t care about your special circumstance or whether your needs are being met. Entering another relationship while you are married to someone who has dementia is a sinful, shameful act. Society may or may not agree, but the Bible is very clear.
Psalm 5:8: “Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies—
make your way straight before me.”
Family strife and sin happen far too often in dementia caregiving. Family may seem to be the enemy at times, sadly. Fight giving up. Fight fighting back. Do everything you can and lean on Christ to have a straight way even in the face of temptation to lash out when loved ones make things harder. Rest in the Lord and His ability to deal with other’s hearts.
Genesis 5:8: “Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died.”
Even in this era, pre-flood, when people lived much longer, there were limits. We are all in God’s hands as to our life’s limits… and we lean on Him to the last minute.
John 5:8: “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.'”.
A beautiful story of healing. God still heals. Sometimes here and other times eternally. Keep looking to heaven. 🙂
Acts 5:8: “‘Peter asked her, ‘Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘that is the price.’”
Be honest. Be honest with God in your frustration and anger. He has “thick skin”…and knows anyway. Be honest with family, with friends, and with all who help you.
One exception: In caregiving, lie all you need to in those terrible circumstances where your loved one is confused. Misdirect other times. If they ask how their mom is doing (who has been dead for 40 years), tell them awesome! Don’t argue with them and don’t try to teach…just love and lie as you need to to keep them from being unnecessarily sad when telling the truth would have no purpose. Lying is also all about the heart…
1 Thes. 5:8: “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” Uh oh…another context word: But. Read the whole chapter.
Know that there is an end coming, caregiver or dementia sufferer. Some sweet day all will be made right when Christ returns. Heaven awaits and, with it, the lack of pain, suffering, sin, and dementia!
I love the Bible. I wish life was easier, for you and for me, but I am thankful that we have His Word to lean on and soak up in these times. God Bless all of you. 🙂
Update: I had a nice, but short video chat with mom today. She was very tired, but was still upbeat. I am sooo thankful that I know her faith rests in Christ and not me or my family.