Written by an international worker in Central Asia
There are two sisters that I know and am friends with. They are both the daughters of Deaf adults with tender hearts for their country and are heavily involved with our sign language project.
One of the sisters, who we’ll call Delight,* was sharing about their mom one day. She’s in her early 60s and has either dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. She’s completely deaf and has slowly, over time, forgotten sign language. She is now literally trapped in her own mind. It has been very difficult on the sisters who are helping to care for their mom.
Their dad, also completely deaf, had once professed faith in Jesus and has since rejected his faith due to anger and pain over his wife’s condition as well as pressure from family and neighbors to return to his old faith. The sisters’ mom, as far as they know, accepted salvation and held on to her faith until she got sick.
Delight shares that it’s just so hard to see their mom decline so drastically and so quickly, and she really struggles with beliefs from her old religious system that claim any sickness or pain is due directly to some sin committed, that God is so harsh and judgmental and far removed from our pain. She finds herself wondering what sins her mom committed to be in such pain now. But then, she also recognizes and knows from Scripture that is not true.
Delight prays for her mom’s healing all the time and finds herself discouraged when a physical healing doesn’t happen. She continuously wonders if it is because of some sin that even she has committed that her mom is not being healed. It’s a confusing and awful cycle to be caught in.
She says that it is hard to not carry old, untrue beliefs into her life of faith in Jesus, even though she came to faith as a teenager. It is hard not to cycle into those beliefs when difficult things happen—beliefs that say: “God is far off, against us, and judging us.”
When she shared with me, I was able to share my belief—which was not new to her—that pain and suffering are due to living in a fallen and sinful world and not at all how God designed this life for us to be. He is not far off and removed from our pain but is able to identify with us and cares deeply that we are suffering.
I also told her that I wonder sometimes if when we pray for physical healing, we discount the true and full healing that happens for those of us who believe when we pass away and leave this fallen world behind, when we wake in the arms of Jesus, full and whole and healed. I wondered if when her mom dies, she would then truly be free from the pain and suffering she’s experienced her whole life on this earth.
We cried and prayed together, and I was reminded that we all have a part to play in encouraging and equipping each other. I get to watch Delight and her sister walk this road with their parents and family members as some of the only believers in their family, suffering from ridicule and misunderstanding.
I get to encourage them that this world is just a faint whisper of the reality of eternity—a small thing, maybe, but for me, it was very encouraging and full of possibility for my time here.
Please be praying for Delight, her sister, and their mother. Also, lift up their dad who gets to watch his daughters live a life of faith, contrasting that with their two brothers who are not living in faith. Pray for his renewed commitment to Jesus.