As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane he said, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Then Jesus prayed a second time, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Matthew 26:39b (HISC) Matthew 26:42b (NIV)
How many times have you asked God to cure your loved one, to remove the “cup” of illness or dementia. Doesn’t God promise that he will hear and answer our prayers?
Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. I John 5:14-15 (HCSB)
The key feature to God’s promise is “according to His will.” Does God really love me? What does God want of me? How can I know God’s will? These are questions that many caregivers grapple with daily. Our prayer mirrors Jesus’ plea to “remove this cup.” Look closely and you will find a codicil in Jesus’ prayer to his father, “Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Let’s look to the Bible for a greater understanding of God’s will for our lives.
Does God really love me? Yes, God loves you and me. He has shown himself faithful to love and care for us through the ages. Look how much he loves us, he allowed his only son to die for our wrongdoing. There is nothing that can separate us from God’s love.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV)
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. I John 4:9 (NIV)
…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39 (NIV)
What does God want of me? “Scripture makes it abundantly clear that God first and foremost wants us to know Him, to have a relationship with Him, to bring glory to Him by the way we live our lives, by how we relate to Him and others” (Thomas, n.d. Part One, para.6).
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 36-39 (NIV)
So, life is not all about our wants and needs. We are commanded by God to first love God and then love others. “If you are making decisions based primarily on what makes “me” happy, then you have your priorities backwards and you will stumble at every turn” (Thomas, Part One, para.9).
Jesus said, “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.” Matthew 10: 38-39 (MSG)
How can I know God’s will? “What does God want from you as an individual? This …is like your fingerprint, something specific to you as an individual, a person uniquely crafted and gifted by God to perform meaningful tasks of service to Him and to others” (Thomas, Part Three, para.1). “With service as your foundation, you can begin to explore your God-given gift of unique talents and abilities. You didn’t earn nor do you deserve these talents. God has endowed you with them” (Thomas, Part Three, para.5).
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. I Corinthians 12: 4-5 (NIV)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
As caregivers we can identify with the idea that we do not deserve the talents we have been given. I had no idea that God’s gift of being compassionate and wanting to help others would have brought me to the point of being a full-time caregiver for my husband, Ed. However, knowing that God is using my gifts in this manner is a comfort. Also, understanding that God loves my husband enough to bring me into his life demonstrates God’s will for my life right now. I understand that God brought Ed and I together knowing what the future held for us. It makes me appreciate how much God loves and cares for both of us.
“Remember, discovering your unique design is a lifelong process. The more you do, the more experiences you have, the more you know what energizes and de-energizes you. Don’t let any of this put you into a box. Things change. You grow and mature. God equips you for a certain task, and that task is completed, and you move on to another one” (Thomas, Part Three, para.9). Caregiving is for a season, even though it might seem like a lifetime. Look to God for strength and your support group for encouragement.
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV)
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Isaiah 40:29 (NIV)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Thomas, J. (n.d.) Finding God’s will for my life Part One. Focus on the Family. Retrieved from https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/spiritual-development/finding-gods-will-for-my-life/gods-will-for-my-life-part-1-of-3
Thomas, J. (n.d.) Finding God’s will for my life Part Three. Focus on the Family. Retrieved from https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/spiritual-development/finding-gods-will-for-my-life/gods-will-for-my-life-part-3-of-3