My mother's Alzheimer's has stretched over 15 years of time, and as her only child, my life has been heavily impacted. I was her primary caregiver for 12 years, and since her nursing home placement, I have been her patient advocate and continue to carry responsibility for her finances. These are roles that have been more taxing than I anticipated. I thought things would be easier, at least emotionally, once she was in nursing home care, but I haven't found it so. The physical burden of providing her care has lightened, but these past three years have brought new challenges.
I'm within a dozen or so years of the age my mother was when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and I have risk factors that she did not. And so I have been struggling with fear of the future.
Yesterday morning my Scripture reading included Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. KJV
Here's that same verse from the Contemporary English Version: Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. CEV
Proof. So often when I'm up at 3 a.m. grappling with anxiety over what the future may bring, I would like proof. But as I pondered Hebrews 11:1 today, I had a new-to-me thought: faith is the proof, the present reality, a symbol and evidence of unseen truth: “This is the victory that overcometh the world; even our faith...” (1 John 5:4).
It seemed a huge revelation to me today that faith brings victory... (all the angels and witnesses around me are doing a collective forehead slap right now). Faith isn’t just a component of victory, it is the victory. It doesn’t just spur us to actions that win the battles waged against us, faith itself wins the battle.
My faith in the risen Christ is the current reality that douses the fires of my fears for the future; I can be encouraged by the fact of my own faith. Do I love Jesus? I do! Am I grateful for what He has done for me at the Cross, forging a path for me into eternity with Him? I am! Can I praise His Holy Name even when my own circumstances seem bleak? I can, I really can, because I trust that He has a plan, and that it is a good plan, and that He loves and provides for me.
I am not talking about emotion. I don't ask myself how I feel. Faith has more to do with knowledge than feelings. What have I learned of the Lord? Have I decided to believe what He says? Have I made the choice to trust in Him? Yes, I have. I have made a confession of faith. I believe.
Even when our faith is small, it is powerful. Even when we must pray, "Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief," He is quick to comfort and strengthen (Mark 9:24).
It's never wrong to bring our fears to the Lord who loves us. Fear itself is not a sin; it is a weakness. We have a choice of whether we will take our eyes from our fears and place them upon the Lord who loves us, or not. Choosing faith over fear brings peace, because faith brings us closer to what is true both now and for the world to come.
Many websites offer instruction for receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Remember that belief in Christ as the risen Savior is the victory itself; after your confession of faith, any list of "things to do" should be considered guidelines, not rules. Here's a reliable source: Find Peace With God (billygraham.org).