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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

If We But Trust

Being discharged from Hospice is reason to celebrate. After all, Hospice offers comfort while awaiting death. Discharge means you’re looking toward life, not death. That’s reason to rejoice.

But we didn’t rejoice. Saying good-bye to Hospice meant we were losing helpers who had become family. Several times over 14 months it seemed my 93-year-old father-in-law was in his last days. Hospice was by our side each step of the way, with love, care, comfort, and guidance.

Release meant we’d miss the attention and cheer from the chaplain, social worker, and volunteer who visited Dad regularly. The nurse and doctor who knew him and were familiar with his case would no longer be caring for him.  The aide whose banter brought cooperation would no longer bathe him three times a week. Suddenly, we were on our own.

Symptoms that qualified Dad for Hospice had stabilized. He was no longer eligible and had to be dismissed. But he continued to decline nonetheless. As we bid the team farewell, we faced greater demands--without our team.

We reminded ourselves to trust in the Lord instead of our own understanding. If we acknowledged Him, He would be with us and guide us (see Prov. 3:5-6). We’d take one day at a time and lean on Him.

Almost immediately, Dad seemed weaker, and his daily care was more demanding. Increasingly, he needed a wheelchair instead of a walker to get to the next room to eat. Bathing him was also a challenge, but the days passed relatively smoothly.

God provided. A brother from out-of-state came to help a few days. A nurse from church volunteered to sit with him occasionally and give him a good bath. Nevertheless, the daily burden of care and responsibility rested on my husband and me.

The Veterans Administration rushed the application process to take Dad under their care, but it was a still couple of weeks before a nurse could come for an assessment. The doctor planned to come a week later but his visit was postponed an additional week because of icy roads. Meanwhile, we waited, wondering what the future held.

Dad became weaker, more unstable, and more dependent. His cough keeps us all awake at night. Because of his instability and lack of sleeping routine, we have to be constantly vigilant for his safety. We need assistance.

Finally, the doctor came. He was cordial, gentle, and seemed competent. We answered his questions, trying to help him understand our situation, eager to hear how the VA could assist.

He didn’t have hoped-for answers. He said he was new in that position and is still learning where to go to for needed information.

We were devastated. Still no help. Still no answers.

Over lunch, my husband prayed, “God, help us not look to man for the things You want us to get from You.”

Guilty. I was hoping in man—rather, in a government institution. I had not been trusting “in the Lord with all my heart” (Prov. 3:5).

After lunch, I dipped into Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. The devotion for March 5 began, “Make friends with the problems in your life.” The Scripture listed was familiar, reminding me that “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

So why am I anxious?  Why crushed by the lack of answers?

The pressures of life are in God’s hands. He is sovereign and sufficient. He is with me and will never forsake me. He’s at work in this situation. And in me.

Dad continues to weaken. It’s been over a month. We’re tired, and we still don’t have answers. Nevertheless, it’s time to rejoice, give thanks, and celebrate.

            Indeed, God will supply all our “needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19) . . . if we but trust in Him.

Copyright © 2014, Kay Camenisch. Used by permission.  

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