4. A Prayer to Find Joy in the Midst of Dementia Care
Slide 4 of 6
Lord in Heaven, I struggle with joy sometimes. I want my father to dance and laugh and have fun, not feel afraid. I’m scared about the future too, so please give me a Spirit of joy and show me how to share joy with my dad. Calm my father’s fear. Lift this heavy blanket of depression and ease the journey to you. Amen.
One symptom of dementia is depression, and depression affects health. Studies have long linked good physical health with laughter; and decline with perpetual sadness or ill humor: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
Psalm 16:11 is one of many scriptures about joy—the subject clearly matters to the Lord. The Psalmist wrote “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)
God wants us to rejoice over His Son, even during “trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2)
Dementia is a trial for everyone closely concerned, offering no hope for improvement until heaven, but it is possible to experience joy and suffering side by side. Part of that suffering is the fear experienced by the parent and his or her loved ones. Even while they forget how to tie their shoes and how to use a telephone, parents realize that they are supposed to remember.
Adult children lay awake at night, remembering a heartbreaking expression of fear on mom or dad’s face: the pain which accompanies fleeting clarity. Yet, when the Psalmist wrote of the Lord “Your consolation brought me joy” (Psalm 94:19), Israel was being oppressed and persecuted by his enemies.
What a relief that the Lord of Heaven listens patiently and lovingly to our groaning, and expects us to turn to Him in the midst of dire need. He has defeated our enemies, including the enemy of our rebellious bodies and minds.
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