Acknowledge God for Real Rest
18.1 My Story
I had been awake for thirty-three consecutive hours. My marathon of being up began on Tuesday when I had awakened at 5 AM. I had gotten up, checked on my wife, showered, and went to Starbucks at 6 AM for my morning writing. From writing, I had headed to the local climate controlled shopping mall where I did my morning walk at 9 AM. Following the exercise, I had an appointment with the dermatologist at 10:30 AM.
I returned home just before lunchtime. I again checked on my wife. She was in her recliner. She said her head was hurting, and she had been trying to call her doctor and me.
Her neurologist had recently reduced her steroids. When the dosage of the steroids had previously been cut, she had felt bad, so the doctor increased the dosage to former levels.
Miss Benita assumed this is all that was needed.
Now she couldn’t figure out how to use her cell phone. Fear and concern overwhelmed me. Doctors were contacted, medications changed with an immediate doubling of the steroids, and sleep overcame her.
She did not wake up until after 8 PM.
She didn’t know me when she awoke. She couldn’t tell me what day or month it was.
When I asked if she knew the time she answered, “blue?”
We headed for the emergency room at the hospital where only four months earlier, she had a brain tumor removed.
I was up all night. My three children took shifts being with me. Around 9 AM on Wednesday the doctor told me the brain tumor had recurred. He said another surgery would only add a few weeks to maybe two months maximum to my sweetie’s life. He said your options are surgery or hospice. With hospice, you have days to weeks at best.
Miss Benita and I had previously spoken on what to do if the brain tumor recurred. I followed her wishes and chose hospice. I called my children, my brother, her sisters, my minister, and my best friend informing them of the situation.
The next step was to move her from the intensive care unit to an intermediate care unit where they worked on stabilizing her and helping her regain her faculties. It wasn’t until late in the day that she was moved from ICU to a room. During this time, my oldest son arrived on the scene. My best friend was there with me, as well.
It was nearly noon on Wednesday before I somehow managed to drive home. Instead of sleeping, I prepared the house for the arrival of my wife’s sisters who were coming in from out of state. I had my sons schedule to shuttle them from the airport to the hospital.
At one-thirty on Wednesday afternoon I tried to sleep. I slept less than ninety minutes before waking up and returning to the hospital.
When I got back to the hospital, my oldest son and best friend lectured me on the need for rest.
It was late in the day on Wednesday before the massive amount of drugs given my wife took hold and had her where she was conscious, could talk and understand.
I shared with her what was happening. The trust she had in me showed in her eyes and on her face. I still remember her response.
She said with a nervous smile, “I knew the Melanoma Cancer was going to kill me. I didn’t realize it was going to kill me today or in the next few days. I believed I would make survive at least until the end of the year. I hope I live long enough to see Jason (our son) graduate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in May. Thank you for not letting them cut on me. Thank you for loving me enough to let me go by honoring my wishes.”
She squeezed my hand and added, “I’ve always been in God’s hands. He has this. Trust Him. I do.”
I went home around 7 PM that evening and cried out to God. I hurt. I was exhausted. I remember having Psalm 46:10 come to mind, “Be still and know that I am God …”
I got in bed and started recalling Bible verse after Bible verse. I had worked with the children in my church for nearly two decades in a program called “Bible Drill.” The program’s purpose was Scripture memory. I had memorized the verses along with the children.
Those same verses came to mind, calmed my spirit, and helped me to sleep.
I also was listening to spiritual songs that praised God. The songs calmed my nerves and spirit. I had to slow down enough to experience God’s presence.
18.2 Slow Down and Know God
Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is slowing down and knowing God. As we live with the daily challenges of caring for a person with an ongoing disease, it is essential that we get adequate rest.
This respite is both physical and spiritual. Psalm 46:10 tells us to slow down, that is to be still and know I am God.
18.3 Bible Verse
Psalm 46:10 (KJV), ” Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
18.4 What the Verse Means
Psalm 46:10 is a famous verse for comforting ourselves and others. While the passage encourages the reader to rest and relax in God as well as reflect on who God is, the Scripture is a wake-up call to be in awe of God.
The verse was written in the context of a time of trouble and war; therefore, we should consider the words with that context in mind. Back in Psalm 46:1, we were told that “God is our refuge and strength.” Psalm 46:10 is telling us to wake up, stop fearing, and acknowledge who our God is. As we care for our loved one, we too should take the time to acknowledge who God is.1
18.5 Pray Using Scripture
- Heavenly Father help me to be still and know You more intimately, and to feel Your presence.
- Lord Jesus, please help me to slow down and even stop when necessary to get to know God.
- I pray that I would find rest in the adequacy of God.
18.6 Responding to God’s Hope
- Are you getting enough rest? You cannot care for someone twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. You need assistance.
- Are you slowing down where you can hear God and feel his presence?
- Ask God to help you rest, have the help you need, and to experience his presence.
We need to take time to acknowledge God. God provides rest for us.
If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
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This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.
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