Where is God in Parkinsons?

Parkinsons is a cruel disease. Hands that don’t work as they should; no longer writing or giving a warm greeting. A mouth that can only mumble where it once spoke forth friendship and warmth. Eyes that once sparkled with humour now won’t shut or open as they should. And most cruelly, medicine that creates its own world in the imagination of the sufferer.

I returned today from visiting an elderly uncle who has Parkinsons.  He is a warm, friendly and beautiful human being who was the family letter writer, in the past, keeping a family separated by continents connected through his written words.

He recognised me when I entered his room at the nursing home, which pleased me. But soon he was mumbling about a fantasy world in English and Dutch. The amazing thing is that he has not spoken Dutch on a regular basis for 60 years. Yet that is where his mind takes him back.

I chatted and he mumbled for forty minutes. I read some of Psalm 139 and prayed. Then his eyelids drooped and it was time for me to go.

I felt so helpless and frustrated in the face of such a disease.

Today as I was taking the 2 hour drive home, all I could do was to hand it over to God. God please give comfort. God, please be present in his heart and mind. God give give strength and healing. God please …  So the prayer went on.

Parkinsons is one of the more dramatic and tragic manifestations of our human frailty. Cancer, MS and the myriad of other diseases point to the same reality; as much as we try, life on this earth is temporary. Ultimately our humanity crumbles.

Where is God? God is in the promise, that through His son son, there is hope and life beyond the frailty. His desire for us is not Parkinsons or cancer but a wholeness in mind and body, in His presence, for eternity.

Can I understand all that? No, it is beyond my comprehension. Do I believe it? Yes, for me and especially my uncle.

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Categories: christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Family, Parkinsons | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Where is God in Parkinsons?

  1. So very well stated! His promise of eternity is where God is during these times; in fact that’s where He always is. Maybe the saddest part is that we are so often caught up in everything else even when we are of sound mind and body. Thanks for sharing this in a sensitive and hopeful way!

  2. My wife’s mother has been in a nursing home for three years now due to Alzheimer’s. She no longer recognizes anyone and babbles like an infant. It is one of the hardest journeys we’ve ever had to undertake. I am sorry for this difficult season of your uncle’s life. Thanks for the words of encouragement. God’s peace to you brother.

  3. My dad has Parkinson disease…prayers for your uncle.

  4. Thanks for sharing Pieter. My wife’s mother has Parkinsons and moved to be close to us so we could help in her illness. It is sad to see someone waste away. She has moments, but mostly is in a bad place. But, when she is lucid and talkative, she praises God and says she looks forward to the other side of eternity. All of our years combined will not even be a drop in the bucket in eternity! Remember: “hope does not disappoint”…one day we will all be whole and perfect and joyful. Sometimes I view suffering and pain as a dark backdrop to create a contrast between darkness and light; we can’t appreciate light without dark, joy without suffering, and life without death. Thank the Lord that all this is simply temporal and what we can’t see is eternal. It is humbling to say the least…

  5. Ron Koerntjes

    Hi Pieter, sorry for the pain you must be feeling now. My own mother and my father in law were both non compos mentis in the last few years of their lives, unable to care for themselves and not even recognising their own children. I recall visiting my mother in the nursing home, telling her that I was Ron and her reply was “I have one of those,” It hurt to have to remind her that I was her firstborn. You asked where is God in all of this? Achallenging question indeed. At the risk of sounding harsh, at least initially, I don’t think God is anywhere directly in disease and pain.Those I believe are a result of the curse the creation came under as a result of Adam’s disobediance. Our comfort and our hope lies in the fact that Jesus has opened the way to a joyous eternity for all who will believe in him. That is God’s answer to the pain and suffering of this world.

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