As part of God’s work in my life he has allowed me to have many different illnesses. Of all the things He has chosen to bless me with, dementia is the hardest to deal with. It was two years ago when the physiologist told me about early onset dementia. Sitting in my family doctor’s office a few months ago, he asked me if I was scared to lose my mind. Thankfully, so far it has only been little things. Forgetting how to do simple tasks, forgetting who people are, and sometimes – like a blanket thrown over me – I forget it all.
I cannot put into words the concern I was under about forgetting God. For these many years of my ministry He has been my constant companion. I do not know how I would get through a day without the special touch He gives me each day. To lose that connection would be unbearable.
The Holy Spirit brought to mind the last part of Hebrews 13:5. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake me.” I have that part of a verse burned into a small wooden plaque I can hold in my hand. There is a picture of God’s Hand, and the verse. During dystonic storms and times of confusion, I hold this in my hand to give me strength. There is no magic in the wood… the power comes from the Word of God.
One other scripture the Holy Spirit gave me was John 10:27-30. In these verses, God tells us that He holds us in His hand. In this place I am safe, and no one could take me from God.
The answer was not what I thought it would be. I thought I would find that you could never forget God no matter what. The evidence of my studies, however, took me to another place. God could not forget me. God would never leave me. God would never forsake me. God would never let me out of His hand. I may forget God, but He would never forget me. What is stronger that I have a hold of Him, or that He has a hold of me? I can slip, and I can get tired; God, however, holds me in His hand.
So nothing really will ever change. He has held me though over 23 years of ministry. Seven years of Bus Ministry, seven years of pastoring, seven years of working with a local church, and two years of total disability. In all that time He has never left me. There have been hard times, but He has not left. There have been others who have left, but He has remained. In all that time he has never forsaken me. Sadly, there have been people who have forsaken me. Some good friends in ministry have walked away. In all that time He has never taken me out of His hand. If I take a look back at what He has done, how can I fear that He would not continue?
Herein is true faith. We must trust that God will continue to do what He has promised even when we are unable to be aware of it. We must realize that we might not always remember the One who will never forget. God has promised to keep on remembering us.
I wish to say something to those to whom God’s blessings are health and a sound mind. My walk with God began way before I became ill. The faith I have today is a result of the faith of yesterday. I did not wait until I became ill to start living for God. Your today is very precious. The things you do for God today will effect your tomorrow. As I look back on my years of ministry, it seems that each step ended before I was ready. I miss working with children on buses. I miss being a pastor. I miss being a Sunday School teacher and superintendent. Those days are behind me now. Today, my ministry is one of edification. Whatever God is allowing you to do for Him today; do it with all your heart. I am not trying to lift myself up in your eyes. I am rather hoping to lift your eyes to Him.
Every day God gives is a gift that should not be despised. If today was the last day you were able to serve God in the capacity that you do, how would you serve? The day will come to me and others with dementia were our service for God will be out of our hands. Until that day, take the gift of today and use your talent to serve God.
Article by David Wagner