By: Sheila Kun RN, BA, BSN, MS
Julie-Allyson Ieron’s book on “The Overwhelmed Woman’s Guide… Caring for Aging Parents” gave me many good tips on how to care for seniors and how to take care of caregivers. Many of the chapters are what I considered my survival guide. The following is her chapter on how to show seniors adjust to change. She called it the divine secrets.
Divine Secret 1: Embrace Grief
Here is a secret that frees us to experience the range of human emotions: Death made Jesus weep. Which Sunday school child hasn’t padded her memory verse list with “Jesus wept”? (Okay, smarty, where’s it found?) Let’s examine the context of that little verse (it’s John 11:35, by the way), because it has something important to offer our grieving seniors.
It is planted in the middle of the story about the death of Jesus’ friend Lazarus. Jesus’ tears were genuine and striking to those who saw them given the context we can surmise they might have encompassed; sadness at the painful death Lazarus had endured, empathy with the sorrow of Mary and Martha, and anger at this brazen evidence of the fact that for a time His Father was allowing death to exist, as a consequence of sin.
The study note in the Believer’s Bible Commentary reads, “He shed real tears of grief when He witnessed the terrible effects of sin on the human race. The face that Jesus wept in the presence of death shows it is not improper for Christians to weep when their loved ones are taken. However, Christians do not sorrow as others who have no hope.”
May be it is not a bad thing after all for Sunday school children to cut corners in learning this verse. What a powerful concept. Death makes God sad: its separation, its tragedy, its temporary finality.
Yes, temporary finality. Just as in this context Jesus knew what He was about to do – demonstrate His ultimate authority over death by raising Lazarus to life – we have insight into what Jesus is about to for all with faith in Him. We are about to be raised to life – un-ending life in paradise with Him. That is why Christians can experience the range of emotions – with the exception of hopelessness. We have hope that will not disappoint us, hope of a future He promised to His followers: “I am there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2b-3)
Your homework from the Care Ministry this week: examine your past experience with death and see if you agree with Julie Allyson on the Christian perspective of death?
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