“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed…” and we wait…groaning inwardly, as we wait eagerly for our adoption—the redemption of these bodies…(Rom.8:19) these bodies—transient containers that give out… I sit in the Alzheimer’s ward babysitting (or was it visiting?) my dad.
He’s sacked out on a recliner, asleep, or approximately so, dead to the world, almost.
“But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.” (Rom.8:10)
These verses I’m committing to memory seem so apropos in this context. Somewhere inside this failing body waits a spirit, waiting to be released to Life unencumbered, the glory of the sons of God…
A grown daughter passes hurriedly, tearful after spending several hours with her incapacitated mother. “I’ve gotta go. I’ve gotta get out of here” she mumbles as she heads for the door.
If my dad could speak, is this not what he would say? Oh to be delivered from this body of death. But mutely he sits, eyes downcast, drugged senseless, this man whose genes I have inherited, who has passed on this life I carry in my veins, and indirectly, this Life I carry in my soul. His God has become my God. And we both wait for that which is to come. He lingers in this ignoble, humble fashion—helpless, prodded awake, fed, changed, babied.
Around him mumbling, stuttering graying folk sit in stupors or uttering snatches of disjoint conversation, meaningless except perhaps in the recesses of distant memories. Others socialize in endless rounds of polite conversation. Who can make sense of it?
But then we make our shuffling pilgrimage to the little chapel down the hall. Mom sits at the piano. We kids take our seats on either side of Dad and we sing a medley of treasured old hymns:
“It is well with my soul”...
“…when darkness veils His lovely face, I trust in His unchanging grace. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay……On Christ the solid Rock I stand…”
“My Jesus I love Thee, I know Thou art mine…” our voices blend surrounding Dad, giving voice to his soul, calming and comforting him, and ourselves. “I’ll love Thee in life; I will love Thee in death. I’ll love Thee as long as Thou givest me breath…”
Tears overtake my singing for a moment. But there is sense, and hope…’the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We don’t know what to prayer as we ought but He intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express…’ Rom.8:27-28
“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (Rom.8:29)
The wait is not forever and in my heart I concur with Paul, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom.8:17,18)
This too shall pass. The best years are yet to come. Together we wait.
Our time is not His time. My late father-in-law epitomized a faithful minister for Christ. A Godly man who preached for 40+ years, made regular trips to the poorest cities in India and Eastern Europe when it was under Soviet control, he would come home with only the clothes on his back, having given everything else to the pastors he went to train. Now he had been in bed for months in serious pain which defied the most powerful drugs. The last 2 months of his life were spent in restless unconsciousness in obvious discomfort. Why didn't GoD answer our prayers and take him home? The night before he died my he regained consciousness, was free of pain and had a long conversation with my wife without the use of his hearing aids. He passed away the next morning. At the funeral service the program showed that he had lived 77 years 7 months, and 7 days. My father-in-law had often taught that 7 was the number of completion. Coincidence? We felt silly questioning God's time.
Lived this with my beloved father.....very hard to see their once strong bodies and agile minds deteriorate before our very eyes......but somehow it remains true that though our outward man perish, our inward man is renewed day by day. The sweetness of my father's spirit grew with the passage of time, inside of his poor broken body.... When the time is right, the appointed day will come for your dad....may His grace carry you till then, the day of his release.....much love to you....thanks for writing!
Thanks, Wayne for sharing your story. My Dad has just turned 77. It is a comfort to know He is in God's hands, and Mom too.
Thanks Val. I do ponder this idea of our spirits being very much alive and well though our bodies fail. My Dad is known in the Alz. Unit for his smile. We just caught him on a bad day when pictured. The next visit he was chipper and making eye contact and smiling. He seemed aware of who we were and happy to see us. Hard tucking him in that last time with a goodbye kiss. One day no more goodbyes.
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