Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where is God in Alzheimer's?

I have been speaking and writing about Alzheimer's disease since my mom was received her diagnosis in April of 2004.  During these seven years I've been asked several times,  "Where is God in Alzheimer's?"

All I can do in the face of such a soul wrenching query is to attempt to comfort with the comfort I've received from the same God who allowed my mother (and your mother/ brother/ father/ sister/ husband/ wife/ friend) to be afflicted with this grievous disease.

Here are quotes from my book and accompanying Scripture that might help someone who is trying to find the Lord's presence and purpose in the midst of a struggle with a loved one's dementia:
God is sovereign over life, death, and everything between. There is great peace in accepting this fact. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

Common sense based upon the facts of the expected progression of Alzheimer’s disease will lead to despair. Faith based upon the reality of Jesus Christ offers hope. 

The future is in God’s hands, and you can trust Him. No one but the Lord knows the future. Follow Him in your present and leave tomorrow in His hands.

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27a).

Anchor your heart to the Lord. Although everything around you may be in a state of upheaval, God does not change.

God is mighty to act on behalf of those who cry out to Him. I must avail myself of the healing balm of Gilead. Expressing pain and grief won’t kill me—but repressing it just might.

“The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, He saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you” (Psalm 116:5-7).

God is with you. If you act burdened and communicate your stress to your loved one, you are in sin against the Lord, who has provided for you.

In all of our trials large and small, God is present with us.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
“The LORD is with me; He is my helper” (Psalm 118:7).
God is the Provider for your loved one, and He will provide for you too.

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge”
(2 Samuel 22:2,3).
I was comforted to be reminded that the Lord is in control even of events that are devastating to us. Because I knew Him to be a loving God, there was great peace in this reminder that He was in control. We cannot comprehend the why of distressing events, but we may always find solace when we come to the Lord. It is a difficult truth that our only hope of deliverance from the pain of grief lies in the arms of Him who allowed us that grief.
 I will close this post with a quote from my mother's journal, dated July, 1962.  I pray that each person who reads these words finds the strength and comfort they need to move forward through their own Alzheimer's journey: 
Continually look for things that remind us that God is in all things we see or experience. Don’t hold back from life in fear of being hurt—or of seeing or feeling things that are devastating to us. Sometimes these are the things [in which] we may find some of God’s work for us.
Where is God in Alzheimer's?  Right where He has always been, sovereign over every circumstance of our lives, and present with power, provision, and comfort for His own.   
If you feel your relationship with the Lord isn't one that will afford you the peace promised in the Scripture  and quotes above, check out this link. 


  1. In this world we have suffering. I am glad that this world is not all and that God has a better plan which includes trusting Him.

    Hugs and prayers,

  2. This was a wonderful post. Copied alot of it down to share with the loved one in our extended family, whenever he comes to the Lord, he is caring for his wife with early dementia that they have just diagnosed as Alzheimer's...all of this screamed at me that it would help him so IF he knew Jesus. We are praying that this curse will be turned into a blessing and that he will bow the knee and accept Him and have His peace. Blessings on all you share with everyone on your blog.

  3. I wish I had known you and had these truths when I was on this journey.

  4. These are wonderful Linda, very encouraging scriptures for caregivers. I'm going to print out and give to my mother who is caring for her sister. ~ Abby

  5. I have a dear friend in her late 70's that just had her husband in his 80's diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I am so thankful to have found this in my search of how to pray for and comfort them both! It has always been my belief that God can use a trial in our lives to help us gain wisdom and insight to help others who cross our paths and are going thru something similar. In this, our trial turns into a blessing! Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. What a load of bollocks. God, if there is one, doesn't seem to have any problem snuffing out the lives of the young such as the children gassed in Syria but allows the old demented ones who look forward eagerly to death to live on.

    1. I don't understand it either. The peace I have comes from accepting the comfort and help God provides in the midst of the griefs he allows. It is ok to bypass our own reasoning and logic; the ability to do this comes when we can accept that our finite brains aren't up to comprehending God's ways. That's humility, always a good thing. Humility allows us to choose faith--and it is a choice. We don't have to be happy about our circumstances and we don't have to give God our approval, He asks only for our love in response to the love He has shown in offering Christ for us. He really has paid a terrible, heartbreaking price in order to give us a path to Him. It costs us nothing to accept the offer.