Finish Strong

23 Finish Strong

23.1 My Story

The date was April 11, 2018. It was a Wednesday. I had awoken at the usual time of 5 AM. I stepped into the master bedroom where my wife was resting. I took her hand and held it. I leaned over the hospital bed and kissed her forehead first. I said I love you. She squeezed my hand, and her lips moved mouthing I love you. I softly kissed her lips. I could feel their warmth and her returning the kiss.

We were blessed with a critical care registered nurse in our home twenty-four hours a day. I looked at the nurse and said I was going to Starbucks for a couple of hours to have morning coffee and write. I would be back home by 8 AM. I reminded her that two of my adult children and my wife’s two sisters were in the house if needed. I would only be ten to fifteen minutes away. I made sure the nurse had my contact info.

I then read Psalm 23 to my wife, Miss Benita, prayed with her, and feed her a container of flavored shaved ice before I stole another kiss and then headed to Starbucks. As I drove to the coffeehouse, my heart was heavy. Death was near.

At 7:30 AM I had a telephone call from the hospice supervising nurse. She was at my house checking on the situation. The supervisor had arrived at the shift change to speak to the overnight nurse and brief the incoming nurse. She told me she felt death was imminent. She encouraged me to get home to say any final goodbyes.

Miss Benita and I had already said our goodbyes. I never left her side without saying a final farewell, just in case she died when I wasn’t there. I wanted to be present with her, holding her hand when the time came for her to depart to heaven, so I hastily retreated to my house.

When I arrived, I could see a marked change in my wife. In only two hours she had moved closer to death’s doorway.

No, she didn’t die on April 11. Benita Kepler passed away the next afternoon at 3:54 pm. I wrote that day, “She is in Jesus’ loving arms in heaven. She was surrounded by her husband, children, and sisters when she went to be with Jesus in heaven.”

23.2 Hang On

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness understands the value of hanging on to God.

You will get to the point in caregiving that only with God’s help can you make it through the next few minutes or day. You are exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually

All you can do is grab hold of and hang on to God. Holding on to God allows you to finish strong.

23.3 Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (KJV), “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

23.4 What the Verse Means

The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. Here are Biblical principles that explain the verses. These seven principles give the Biblical alternative of how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

Principle One: I must not forget God loves me. Don’t lose heart!

2 Corinthians 4:1(KJV), “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”

1 Corinthians 15:10(KJV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are!

Remember our performance does not give us our worth. God’s grace provides us with the power to start over.

Romans 8:37 (KJV), “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

2 Corinthians 4:2 (KJV), “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

We must have integrity. We must have character.

Principle Three: It is not about me.

2 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV), “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Your ego will only take you so far.

Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV), “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

Principle Five: Love, love, love.

2 Corinthians 4:15 (KJV), “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

Principle Six: Take time to refresh, renew, and revive.

2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

Principle Seven: I must keep my eye on the goal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV), “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.”

Remember, you cannot do your best at caregiving if you do not face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.

23.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to cling to you.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to ask your help daily as I keep on keeping on.
  • God Almighty help my eyes to look on the unseen.

23.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Do you remember God loves you?
  2. Is your conscience clear? Maybe you feel bitter about having to care for your loved ones. If so, ask God’s forgiveness.
  3. Are you seeking God’s help and guidance? Ask God for his help.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Kepler, Ed.D.

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