by Abraham Cremeens
Our time in Hebrews 11 has reminded us that faith is central to the Christian life. Without faith, everything falls apart. We may attempt to protect ourselves with fail-safes, but there are none in this life. Rather, we follow a God who never fails us. We walk by faith every minute of every day.
Different seasons present various trials. Kids navigate relationships and try to fit in (and sometimes don’t). College students meet challenges while trekking slowly toward a degree through sleepless nights and daunting exams. Young professionals wade through the tensions of work-life balance. Every season of our lives must be lived by faith. But one season continues to be on my heart as I watch and love my church family: the season of caring for aging parents and loved ones.
I don’t walk in your shoes at the present, but my heart goes out to you as I watch your constant, sacrificial love. There has been a significant shift in your life, and that takes a toll. You now hold the frail hands of the one who once held yours while crossing the street. You diligently watch over the one who helped carry you through sickness and heartache. You navigate the hard road of taking the car keys from someone who gave you your first set of keys in your teenage years. Just when you make it through one difficult decision regarding medical care, another is right on its heels.
I would imagine it is like walking through a very dark room, hand in front of you, bracing for the collision with the wall that may or may not be there. It is one step at a time while making sure everyone is still standing.
Hebrews 11 reminds us that all of life is by faith—even this season. You may feel the pressure to be 110% confident you are making the right decision, at the right time, each and every time, but God does not promise that fail-safe. He simply promises never to fail you. With that in mind, I humbly offer a few reminders.
By faith, remember…
You are not alone
Caring for an aging parent or loved one is often the most lonely of roads. No one sees the late nights and sacrificial service. But God does. He is with you in this season of your life. He is aware and cares deeply for you, your family, and for your aging parent. He cares even more than you do. You may feel all by yourself as you make decisions and drive many miles to pay another visit. But I assure you that you are not alone. He is with you (Psalm 23:4).
Your parent or loved one is not alone
In Christ, God does not abandon us even in our last chapter of life. Your parent may even be changing significantly in personality. But she remains God’s beloved child regardless of what version of her you experience on any given day. God is near and ever-present with your father, mother, or loved one. If your parent isn’t a Christian, then remember your hope in Christ by continuing to point him to Jesus. It is never too late.
Death will be reversed
Though this body gives up and passes away, God is big enough to reverse the devastation. This season of life represents an ending, but God loves to reverse endings into new beginnings. One day there will be a celebration that exceeds the most amazing party this world has ever offered. All the grief you and your loved one now endure will be put to the side and done away with. Our hope is not in this life, but in the life to come.
There will be a great reunion
In Christ, there are no goodbyes. You have spent wonderful decades with your parent or loved one. There is sadness in seeing that precious life come to a close. You should grieve that loss but not as one without hope. You will see her again. His hand will touch yours again. You will embrace again.
If you find yourself discouraged and worn down, so did Abraham, Moses, and Elijah. But they walked by faith through it all. They offer a mantra amid your care. You may not know the best decisions to make at any given time. You likely struggle to balance your care for your loved one with all the other demands of life. You are not called to be perfect through it all. You are called to walk by faith.
So, inside the next difficulty that arises, look to Christ for strength in the moment. Ask him for grace, wisdom, and support. As you weigh the pressure and tension, choose to walk by faith and even call it out: “Today, I choose to walk by faith” as you walk through the front door. And embrace his promise that he will never fail you or the one you care for.