Yesterday afternoon, I visited Allan. Anne has given me permission to share my experience with you.
Allan has a form of dementia called Frontotemporal Degeneration which impacts behavior, personality, language, memory, and movement. It slowly drains a person of life.
The good news is Allan’s personality has remained gentle and kind. He recognizes Anne and his caregiver, Charles, but that’s about it. Allan continues to be a voracious reader even though he is unable to retain anything he reads.
Yesterday was Bible study time. I decided we would begin with the first creation story found in Genesis.
Anne had already printed the New Revised Standard Version of the first chapter of Genesis for Allan to read out loud. Even in his diminished condition, he did a great job.
As Allan read, I explained what each day meant, drew a picture of the ancient Hebrew’s concept of the universe, and clarified how God was the sole author of life and all creation. I did not expect Allan to remember anything I said.
At the end of the lesson, Anne said, “Allan, what is God?”
A look of confusion washed over Allan’s face. He was struggling to find an answer. Then, in a moment of clarity, Allan said, “The creature that put this world together.”
Allan is exactly right.
God is the one who “put this world together.” And when God put the world together, God proclaimed everything created to be good. That includes you.
While God created the universe, that does not mean everything that happens within God’s universe is God’s doing.
When a drunk driver gets behind the wheel of a car and kills an innocent person, that is the result of a person’s choice. God does not do that.
While cell growth is necessary for life, when cells grow in a bizarre pattern, there is cancer, which causes tremendous suffering and grief. God does not do that.
When winds, which are necessary to sustain life on earth, come together in a strange pattern over the Atlantic Ocean, suddenly there is a hurricane that wipes out Jamaica. God does not do that.
And when someone like Allan finds his life diminished by dementia, it is an illness. God does not do that.
I do not know why bad things happen but they do. The good news is the bad things of life never have the final say – God does. And what we know is the One who created the universe and everything in it, is the One who will ultimately bring good out of the bad.
This is why Paul said, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
You will have good in your life. You will also have bad.
Trust the One who “put this world together” to make it right.
Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, help me always trust in you in both the good and bad times of life. Please use me as a blessing for those who are experiencing the bad that life can bring. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
While I cannot say if Allan was blessed by visiting with me, I know I was blessed by visiting with him.
Also, just for the record, my quick drawing of the ancient Hebrew’s concept of the universe was really bad.
Thank God, I don’t have to make a living as an artist. I’d starve to death.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.