Sunday, August 5, 2018

Never Been This Way Before

(This is yet another chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)

Dear caregiver, do you weary of the constant changes in your loved one’s health? If one’s loved ones faces a disease from which there is a possible cure, one continues to hope for their recovery. It is difficult going through those days, but there is hope for better days ahead. When one’s loved one’s disease is incurable and the declines are persistent, one enters an even more difficult sphere. As a caregiver, I so remember dreading and sometimes fearing the next decline in my husband‘s health. Would I be able to handle his next decline physically and emotionally?

In the book of Joshua in the Old Testament, God's Old Testament people (the Israelites) were about to enter the land that God had promised them many years before. To be able to enter this new land, however, a huge body or people needed to cross the Jordan River. It would take a miracle for God's people to safely cross the Jordan River, but our Lord God specializes in the impossible.

The officers of God's people told them that when they saw the ark of the covenant of the Lord their God and the Levites who were carrying the ark, they were to move out from their positions and follow the ark. Then they would know which way to go, since they had never been this way before (Joshua 3:b-4a).  The ark was a symbol of the Lord's presence among them. Only if God's people did this would they know which way to go and what to do next, for this was new and foreign territory to them.

As a caregiver, I too had never been that way before. I had never encountered a similar situation or been in the same place in my life. It was a scary place to be. So I also had to keep my eyes focused on the Lord, and I had to follow His leading. Each new day is a new day given to us by the hand of the Lord. When we awaken in the morning, we do not know what new experiences or circumstances we may face that day. This is especially true for family caregivers. 

Every day and moment of our lives is known and planned by the Lord, however. He knows and understands the joys and heartaches caregivers face today and in all the tomorrows which may lie ahead. Caregivers must trust that the Lord will safely lead them each and every day, as they keep their eyes focused on Him and follow Him. Before they crossed the Jordan River their leader, Joshua, told God’s Old Testament people to consecrate themselves; for the next day the Lord was going to do amazing things among them (Joshua 3:5). The Lord will do amazing things in our lives also, if we trust and follow Him.

In Joshua 3 the waters did not divide while God's people were still in camp or even as they were marching towards the Jordan River. Only when the leaders and people stepped out into the water in faith were God's people able to safely cross the Jordan River! (Joshua 3:15b-16a)  Dear Caregiver, you may sometimes feel hopeless and even desperate in your care-giving experience. At times like these, commit your needs and desperate situations to the Lord. Like God’s Old Testament people, step out in faith. Trust that the Lord will see you through the seemingly impossible Jordan Rivers of your life. The Lord has our lives in His control, and we can trust and follow His leading!

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