Six Great Bible Verses for Caregivers
Some people choose to be caregivers, and they prepare themselves by becoming professionals in the healthcare industry. They receive training on how to deal with the physical and emotional challenges which come with the role. Still, they look forward to the end of each shift, so they can reboot their bodies and refresh their minds.
Other people have the role of caregiver thrust upon them when family members become old, sick or disabled. They have no training, and no end of shift. They need heaps of physical and emotional help--and just as important, spiritual help.
Here are six great Bible verses which can encourage caregivers--trained and untrained alike-- while they share comfort and compassion with their loved ones. They empower six valuable features of a caregiver’s personality.
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 MSG)
From the start, the caregiver needs a healthy dose of cheer (or joy, according to the other Bible versions). Without it, a mood of despair can easily set in at the sight of physical decline, medications, wheelchairs and other objects associated with adverse conditions. To escape the related overwhelming stresses, the caregiver can choose to remain connected to his inner Source of Joy.
The verse ties unconditional cheer to two habits—continual prayer and constant gratitude. These habits empower an individual to focus on blessings like contentment, forgiveness and hope which are also stored within. They enable the caregiver to keep joy in tact despite the external circumstances.
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25: 40 NIV).
In recent years, many missionary-minded individuals are traveling great distances to feed, clothe, and minister healing to needy people (actions to which whatever in the text refers). This is commendable. The ministry projects are motivated by kindness, but they are not without the glamor of travel, the enjoyment of group fellowship and the experience of different foods, languages and customs.
Caregiving, the practice of kindness to family members at or near home, is kindness for kindness sake. Often there is no tangible incentive, which makes it all the more important to remember that God (the King) notices the kindness and considers it a kindness done to Him—no less than the kindness demonstrated on the mission field or anywhere else.
Real kindness begins at home, among relatives who were once the caregivers and need help now.
We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in . . . because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next (Romans 5: 3-5 MSG).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible explains that it is God who implants patience in the heart. Difficulties, like those experienced by a caregiver, strengthen, exercise and increase it. There is no wishing away the difficulties, when we know that they are “divinely appointed . . . for a definite period, and are not sent without abundant promises of ‘songs in the night.’"
The patience of caregivers is stretched and expanded when the patients behave differently than expected, and require more attention than the caregiver is prepared to give. It is then that the caregiver discovers what he is made of—what measure of kindness, goodness, faithfulness and other segments of the fruit of the Spirit. In the process, the character grows in preparation for bigger assignments. No self-development without development of patience.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
This perfect peace is what Paul refers to as the peace which is beyond human comprehension (Philippians 4:7). Who can understand the calmness of a caregiver who is tired, but not allowed to rest because the patient keeps calling? Or, the caregiver who continues to speak gently to a demented patient who is verbally abusive?
According to the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, it is God who keeps (guards like a well-garrisoned stronghold) the peace secure so that nothing can touch it. The caregiver keeps his or her thoughts focused on God as the Peace Giver, and He empowers the peace to remain functional.
Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies (1 Peter 4:11 NLT)
As with all the other characteristics, the caregiver’s strength and energy comes from a connection with the Divine Source. The God who supervises the assignment is the same God who supplies the strength. No request for more energy will take Him by surprise.
The caregiver who sees the caregiving assignment as God’s purpose will adopt the mindset that God will meet his need for strength as a prerequisite for him to do his job. This is not to suggest that his efforts must be excessive, but that God is able to make up his human deficiencies when necessary.
The caregiver needs to remember that the God who supplies strength also provides rest.
Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 NLT).
The emphasis for this section is on trust – trust in God; for only He can enable the graces necessary for the caregiver to perform effectively and remain sane.
As a caregiver for my mother who is an Alzheimer’s patient, it is difficult to keep schedules, to spend time away from the house, to get help from other family members, to watch my mother endure the despair of memory loss and confusion. My joy, my patience, my strength and all the other graces I need are dependent on my trust in God to supply them.
My prayer and meditation altar have become increasingly important, for there is where I experience renewal like the reputed replacement of eagles wings. It is there I gain the hope that I will survive the assignment with physical and mental ability beyond human expectation.
Whenever someone warns me of the damaging effects that the caregiver can suffer, the warning reminds me that it is time to renew my faith and trust in God.
© 2012 Dora Weithers