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Lenten Devotional – Day 31 – Joy in the Midst of Death

Scripture: Psalm 34:4

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.

Hearing the Alzheimer’s diagnosis, I knew a long, difficult journey was ahead. I knew enough not be seduced into false hopes of recovery for him.  Years of slow decline unfolded. In December, physical issues emerged. By January, I employed a morning aide and began to consider physical space in our
home to accommodate an anticipated need for a hospital bed, loss of mobility, and perhaps loss of speech.

It was a sad time, but I was determined to fulfill my goal of keeping my husband home, where he wanted to be, to the end. Then January 18 arrived and within an hour my mobile, talking, walking-around-the-house husband was dead. Shock!

As I sat for a time beside his lifeless body, holding his hand that was losing the warmth of life, a realization hit me. All my prayers since hearing the
diagnosis had been answered, “Yes.” He was not suffering pain; he hated pain.  He had ended his journey at home. He had not suffered a time of constant confusion and anxiety. He still knew us. He was free!

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.

And so was I. Free from concern about making his days safe and palatable. Free, knowing that expressions of love for each other had been shared to the end. A strange kind of joy in the face of death and separation! Joy just the same.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to see your provision of joy even in the midst of sadness and loss. Amen.

  – Youtha Hardman–Cromwell – Washington, DC









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