It's probably fair to say that one of the most-prayed prayers of all time is:
"Lord, I do believe; help my unbelief!"
This has often passed my lips as I struggle to understand matters of life and faith.
But these days I have a new, consistent petition:
"Lord, I do love; help my unlove!"
You see, I especially need this prayer answered in me right now - and for someone I love very much.
I need it to love aging parents, these dear ones who are grandparents to my children. The ones who carved out a Christian legacy, pinched pennies, walked in faithfulness all their lives, hiked mountains, showed their devotion to family by driving across the country every summer, who recorded family history in books & journals, who worked tirelessly in caregiving (and still do) and who diligently passed on Christian values, a strong work ethic, a love for the outdoors & a sense of adventure to their two children - one of whom is my husband. Did I mention that they have lived sacrificially all these years we have been overseas, releasing us and their only grandchildren to follow our call?
Today age & disease is obscuring all this for me and I struggle to help them in ways they deserve. It's not that I am not eager to help them. It has just come as a shock to me that the elderly would not want help. That was not on my radar. And the denial! I had heard all these funny "senior" jokes throughout the years that make light of all the aging issues. But it turns out not to be so funny. There has been denial about memory, abilities, judgement, the doctor's diagnosis, you name it. No jokes, just plain, hard reality that everyone around them sees clearly - except them - and through their blindness I hear their frustration as they struggle to accept their stage in life.
Must it be so painful to grow old? Is our only hope that the Lord will return and rapture us from out of this season? Or what could Jesus be saying to all of our dear, aging folks? What will He say to me when I get there?
Might He be saying:
"I am with you....even in this unknown, uninvited season of life."
"I hold your days - and your years - very tenderly and intentionally in My hands."
"I have beautiful plans to use you in new & different ways if you'll let me coach you."
"I have people ready to bless you if you will let them...and you will see Me revealed in new ways through them."
As these beautiful people struggle to process their realities & limitations, God help me to love them, to honor them in ways that they can receive and respect them in ways that will bless them.
"Lord, I DO love them; help my unlove!"
Photo by: Homecaregivers