5.1 My Story
My wife’s left arm had started swelling up. The wrist and hand also were puffed up and getting noticeably larger day by day. A surgical oncologist was called. An appointment was made with the managing oncologist.
When I returned from work, my wife greeted with the news. She said, “I have lymphedema.”
“They removed thirty-four of your lymph nodes last June when you had your Melanoma surgery. The lymph node removal and lymphoma seem like they might be related. Am I right?” I queried.
“Don’t look so smug. You don’t know everything,” Miss Benita replied playfully.
“It looks and sounds serious.”
“It is.” She went on to explain to me that lymphedema is a condition of localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system. In her case, the cause was complications from her cancer surgery.
“Can they treat it? What are they going to do?”
“I have an appointment with a lymphedema therapist later this week.”
She saw the lymphedema therapist. She was treated in the therapist’s office daily for two weeks, and then a machine lymphedema therapy machine was delivered to our home. For the next twenty-eight months she would attach herself to the device for an hour a day to reduce the swelling in the arm.
And no, she didn’t have to do the therapy the remainder of her life. Five months before her death the brain tumor she developed had an unexpected positive side effect. A combination of massive amounts of steroids taken to reduce swelling in the brain also reduced swelling in the arm.
The lymphedema was just the first of six addition afflictions my sweet wife experienced following her initial surgery.
Somehow, she maintained a Godly, optimistic attitude through it all. I can testify the Lord Jesus delivered her out of it all.
As her caregiver, I helped her stay on schedule, encouraged her, and picked up some of her former household responsibilities where she could go to the treatments with feeling guilty.
5.2 Deliverance for the Believer is in Jesus Christ
Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness understands God’s deliverance for the Believer in Jesus Christ. The Bible does not flatter us with the false hope that goodness will secure us from trouble. Instead, the Bible warns us over and over to expect tribulation while we are in this body.
Our afflictions come from all directions and at any time. The challenges are many, but with Jesus Christ, we can face each day.
There is no promise the challenges, problems, illness, or disease will go away in this lifetime. However, the Lord will guide us through or lift us out of them.
5.3 Bible Verse
Psalm 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
5.4 What the Verse Means
We either have faced, are confronting, or will experience afflictions and trials. Facing adversity is an unchangeable fact.
There is good news. God’s mercies are more numerous than the afflictions and trials. God’s wisdom more wondrous than the sufferings and trials. God’s power is more miraculous than the hardships and trials. God will give us the grace we need to face them, and God will deliver us.
5.5 Pray Using Scripture
- Heavenly Father, I know the afflictions of the righteous are many.
- Lord Jesus, I find some comfort in knowing hardships and trials are the norms.
- I confess I don’t like the hardships and trials but trust in you.
- God our Father, I give you thanks for the promise of deliverance.
5.6 Responding to God’s Hope
- What new challenges is your loved one facing?
- How can you help them as they navigate the new challenges?
- Have you asked God for the grace you need for the challenges? Give God the glory for meeting your needs when he provides the needed grace. Acknowledge his presence and activity in your loved one and your lives.
Photo Source: Pixabay
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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