13 Do Not Lose Heart
13.1 My Story
My wife was excited when the eleven months of taking the prescription chemotherapy medications ended.
I was expecting her to do a happy dance and to go celebrating her accomplishment. Instead of a time of rejoicing, it became a solemn watershed. She was tired of the handful of pills she took multiple times a day.
“Jimmie, I will never do chemo again. I know you’ll support my decision,” she said with the authority and resolve of a military general ordering troops into battle.
I looked at her. I’m sure she saw the fear, the disappointment, the lack of understanding in my face. I knew better than to question her decision. Her mind was made up. Questioning her decision would bring her to tears. Challenging her choice would breach my commitment to her.
I prayed for God to give me wisdom before I replied. I heard myself say, “You have decided never to do chemo again. You request me to support your decision. Is that correct?”
“Don’t be so clinical. Please, do not treat me like you did the children when they were young,” she demanded.
“I’m sorry,” I apologized. “I was just restating what you said to make sure I heard you correctly.”
“You heard me. Our body isn’t made to take these terrible treatments. You can’t imagine how horrible they are.”
I just looked at her and listened as she continued talking.
“I’m not saying I want to die today. I don’t want to die. However, I know that I have an eternity with Jesus Christ in Heaven waiting at the end of this dreadful journey. No pain, no suffering, a new body, a grand family reunion with my family and your mother (at the time of the conversation my mother was deceased, my dad would live another three months). It’s only because of the final destination that I can continue with this adventure as you like to call it with Melanoma. Living with cancer is hard. It’s terrible. I pray you and the children never experience it.”
13.2 Not Losing Heart
Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is not losing heart. Your maintaining a positive attitude helps you to provide the best care. An optimistic view helps to maintain our outlook from an eternal perspective.
In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 verse, God is pointing out we should view all earthly adversity in comparison with our future heavenly glory. When we do this, we should be strengthened to endure our human trials.
13.3 Bible Verse
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
13.4 What the Verse Means
While our bodies (outward man) grow old and suffer from diseases, our spiritual side (inward man) is renewed daily. Too often we only focus on the things we see in this present life. We need to also focus on the spiritual, that is the things that are not seen but given to us by God as a future promise.
Seeing with “spiritual eyes” takes belief. A part of faith is believing that what God has promised he will undoubtedly bring to pass. I have confidence in God’s word and promises.
13.5 Pray Using Scripture
- Heavenly Father help me to focus on you, our loved one’s final destination and never lose heart.
- Lord Jesus, help me remember that while my loved one’s outer body is perishing, yet their inward body is being renewed daily.
- God, I realize the chronic illness my loved one is facing won’t last forever but is working in them and me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
- Lord God help me to not look at my loved one’s circumstances which are temporary but to look on the things that are not now seen, but eternal.
13.6 Responding to God’s Hope
- Lord Jesus, help me have the courage to see my loved one’s situation from their point of view.
- God in Heaven help me to support their choices.
- Father help me to listen to my loved on.
This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.
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