I sat beside my father in the loungeroom, silence filling the air.
My boys had been running around, fighting, pushing the boundaries – as they often do – while my mother followed after them.
But my dad?
He just sat there, alternating between watching the news and seemingly staring into space.
I sat there too, wondering if my presence made a difference.
Then he spoke.
“I think I have dementia…” he said.
Then I saw his newspaper clipping on the table. It was filled with gloomy looking black-and-white pictures of people in their eighties being fed by a spoon, and dire stories of once-great minds deteriorating.
“How do you feel about that?” I replied, knowing full well he’d had it for a long time now.
He told me he couldn’t use numbers anymore and lots of things were fuzzy.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so sad.
You see, while everyone is intelligent in their own way, my father is next-level.
He’s a linguist who in his day managed to master more than 15 languages, and his attention to detail was incomparable.
He was gregarious, dynamic, and talkative… the life of the party.
And he was always proud of the things his mind could do.
But now, he sits lifeless, powerless, humbled.
His power is gone – or so it seems.
But as I sit, I remember Paul’s beautiful prayer in the book of Ephesians:
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”
Earthly power might have been stripped away from him, but the same power that raised Jesus from the dead still lives in him, many years after committing his life to Christ.
And, though my father is frail, one day, before long, this power will raise him from the dead as well.
All will be restored – and more.
So while we sit in the reality of a world devastated by illnesses of all kinds, we can look forward to the day when everything will be made right.
It was time to go, so I patted his thin shoulder.
He didn’t have the energy to stand up.
“Don’t be scared, dad,” I said.
“You’re safe with Jesus. He’ll look after you.”
And he’ll look after you too, no matter where you are on the journey, and however scary and sad things feel.
He’s got you, and one day he’ll carry you home.