Voices: God’s memory: What Alzheimer’s cannot take away

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My mother has Alzheimer’s disease. She remains fairly independent and has a good spirit about things, but she is no longer the woman who raised me. I know one day, she will not even be the woman she is now.

Her body and her brain are rebelling against her. She is no longer in control of her own memory. So much of her life is lost to her because of Alzheimer’s. Rich years full of life have been stolen away. People she loved dearly are now scarcely remembered. Names and voices provoke some recall and stir positive emotions within her, but she has lost largely the narrative thread of her own story and relationships.

How much will be forgotten?

That may be what troubles me most. I cannot bear to think that a day may come in which she cannot remember who she is. It breaks my heart to think she may feel alone, unloved or unwanted by the strangers who surround her. She will not know us.

My mother has known, loved and served Jesus Christ most of her life. It pains me to imagine a day may come when she no longer knows the Lord. She may not be able to remember the Lord is with her, how far he has brought her, that she is precious to him.

What comforts me is the testimony of Holy Scripture, which tells me even though the day may come when my mother may not remember herself, her loved ones or the Lord, God will always know and remember her.

The Bible promises we will not be forgotten

The Bible tells us God knows us intimately and that he cannot and will not forget us. God told Jeremiah that he was intimately acquainted with the prophet before his existence, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you …” (Jeremiah 1:5).

In the Psalms, David described how God searched his heart and his life and knew David intimately. Psalm 139:1 says, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.” God knows, and has always known, the truth of David.

Jesus tells us we are to cast our anxieties upon our Father in heaven because the Father knows us, knows our needs, counts our days and the hairs on our heads (Luke 12:6-7). Jesus promised we would not be left as orphans (John 14:8). He will never leave us or forsake us (Matthew 28:20), even if our minds and memories do.

God will not forget, even if we do

My mother is known by God, precious to and beloved by him. He will remember her when she enters into his kingdom. I believe and trust God will restore to her all that has been lost. Her memories will be redeemed. On that day, she will be completely the woman God created her to be, and I will know her fully, even as I am fully known.

Fragile and frail as we are, each of us must confront the truth of our own existence and then exercise our faith in Christ. Is your testimony that you are known by God, that he will remember you always, and that he will never leave or forsake you? It can be.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14).

Scott Jones is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Rockport and a member of the Baptist Standard board of directors. The views expressed are solely those of the author.

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