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One of our close relatives—we’ll call her Elizabeth—is residing in the assisted living wing of a nearby nursing home. She is a Christian widow who has served the Lord for many years as a prayer warrior. Although Elizabeth is declining mentally, she has remained kind, sweet, and, at times, funny, telling little jokes and making quips. In the last few months, her deteriorating condition has become disturbing. We are unsure, but it appears that various incidents in her life have accelerated that decline.

Recently, we received a call at 2:30 in the morning from the facility where she lives. They told us that Elizabeth had been running down the hallway screaming, “They’re liars! They’re trying to hurt me! They’re trying to kill me!” The reader is probably aware that paranoia is an interesting phenomenon. If one says things like, “I’m sure no one’s trying to kill you,” you may be perceived as among those who are the enemies. One must tread carefully and wisely.

My wife, Laurie, threw on some clothes and rushed to her. When Elizabeth saw Laurie, her eyes were hollow, like she wasn’t sure she recognized her. An idea came to Laurie, from the Lord, surely, to suggest that they look at a new photo album of her great-grandson recently sent by her only daughter. This seemed to calm her down and things began to improve.

The Lord, bless His name and thanks to Him, has given Laurie a heart of love for this woman. Nevertheless, dealing with and ministering to her is persistently sad. And, yes, frustrating.

The other night, this afflicted lovely lady called at 3:30 in the morning. She told Laurie that she was “being hidden.” She thought the Cheerios the staff had given her had been poisoned. Laurie offered to come, but thinking Laurie wouldn’t be safe, Elizabeth declined. She said there had been a trial and, “Somebody is going to die, and it won’t be you.” Laurie offered the encouragement that the Lord would keep her safe, and that she was indeed, safe and loved. She reassured her of these truths many times, and it seems that eventually the Spirit of God began to make them real to her. After flushing the Cheerios down the toilet, Elizabeth seemed to relax and said she was tired and would be able to sleep now. Assured the Lord would and could keep her she said, “I am safe.”

We have prayed for several years that the Lord would restore Elizabeth’s mind. This, however, does not appear to be His will. It is Laurie’s calling to minister to this sister and suffer, in a relatively small way, with her.

God does love Elizabeth, this afflicted woman. He loves us. When all seems to be deteriorating and falling, His love remains true regardless of how horrible the circumstances. It is not just a faint hope or something we must struggle to believe. He loves us in our terrors. He loves us in our injuries. He loves us when we are mentally healthy or mentally ill. He loves us when our bodies are young and full of strength and vigor as well as when we are old, busted up, and worn out.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:1–2). 1

The Creator of all that exists has made us His children, heirs with Jesus Himself. He offered up His life in His love for us and to accomplish this adoption. Elizabeth is His child.

I wonder how those who don’t know the Lord deal with situations similar to those in which our sister lives. True, it is difficult for us, her relatives, but tragically, unbelievers have no hope of help from the only One who can supply comfort and love. May they come to know Him, the great Comforter.

Thank You, Father; thank You, Jesus, for Your peace and great love for us—and for Elizabeth.

1Scripture reference from The New King James Version. (1982). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

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