Sunday, December 14, 2014


A few months ago my daughter and I volunteered to teach the first through third grade Sunday school class at our local church. I was ambivalent about this new job assignment because caregiving duties for my mom can only be expected to increase, but my grandson is in the class and no other teachers volunteered. And so we took up residence in a tiny room scarcely large enough to accommodate a half dozen pupils and two teachers.

Our classroom's single table became cramped as attendance increased, and a week ago we realized that if there were no absentees in any given week, we would have more students than chairs or table space.  We discussed finding another small table and finally agreed that I should bring a card table.  But I didn't do it.  My card table was just too big for the allotted space.

When I walked into our classroom this morning, there sat a new little table, the perfect height and size. "Did you arrange to have this table put here?" I asked my daughter.  But she had not mentioned the need to anyone, nor had I.  We learned later that refreshments had been served from that little table at a function earlier in the week. Someone had pushed it into our classroom to get it out of the hallway and then apparently had forgotten it. We remembered to thank the Lord for providing for us and I was aware this was an affirmation that despite my stressful caregiving schedule, teaching Sunday School is something the Lord wants me to do.

Awhile later, I rummaged through a cupboard looking for additional Bibles for our classroom. I found a worn children's Bible, flipped open the cover, and was startled to see an inscription in my own handwriting. I stared at the date--December, 1982--exactly 32 years ago.  In that moment as my 60-year-old self stared at an inscription I'd written as a 28-year-old Sunday school teacher, my past juxtaposed with my present, and I saw that God has woven a theme of ministry to children throughout the fabric of my life.  For just an instant it was as though I was freed of my usual myopic fixation on the present moment and was enabled to share the Lord's perspective. I was reminded that He sees the whole of my life from birth to final breath, and is sovereign over all. 

Taking care of someone who has Alzheimer's disease can wreak havoc with hope. It is easy to focus upon my own fear, and difficult to avoid projecting possible future outcomes based on my present, limited perspective.  Today a new table and an old Bible reminded me that God knows exactly where we are on our individual timelines.  He sees our lives from beginning to end, and is present with us at every juncture. Nothing takes him by surprise--and He has made provision for us every step of the way.  It is safe to place our eyes firmly on a God such as this. It is safe to hope in Him, even in the midst of a journey through Alzheimer's. 

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