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How do they do it? You never know until you are there, and it is then you learn to draw upon strength from the Lord …

By President Randall A. Bach

Interviewing Dr. Jen Jensen stirred my awareness about people who serve as caregivers. Dr. Jensen and her husband, Mike, both led full lives. Mike’s being diagnosed with a brain tumor was not in their plans. The couple was determined to work at maintaining as much of “normal” as they could; however, increasingly the burden of carrying that commitment fell on Jen’s shoulders as Mike became more dependent on her. She kept up the pace of a busy chiropractic practice, coordinated her children’s schedules, and made sure Mike had everything he needed to push forward.

I was struck by Jen’s pluck and faith-filled resolve. I assume she has her moments when the weight of everything becomes wearisome, but I am inspired by her steely determination to support and defend her husband from that which the tumor is trying to steal. (I urge you to watch the video interview with Jen at openbiblemessage.org.) Jen trusts God for what she cannot do while pulling more than her weight in personal dedication.

RELATED: “When Faith and Fear Collide“

Dr. Jen represents so many people who graciously care for a loved one who is living with some level of disability. For some folks, like Jen, providing care means doing double-duty, juggling employment and other family responsibilities while caring for their loved one. For other caregivers it is virtually a 24/7, all-consuming mission. How do they do it? You never know until you are there, and it is then you learn to draw upon strength from the Lord to an extent that surpasses anything experienced to that point. I have observed these characteristics of caregivers:

• They provide a living definition of the term “commitment.” They are all in, frequently to the point of exhaustion.

• They give sacrificially, sometimes having little time for their own personal lives. They yield up
their personal wants as they devote themselves to their mission.

• They are ferocious defenders. They contend for their loved one, willing to take on health-care providers, insurance companies, mortgage companies – you name it. They become like a mama bear protecting her cub.

• They don’t let their faith die. They are hard-nosed realists. They know the diagnosis and prognosis as well as doctors because they have researched and asked questions. But they do not let go of faith. Theirs is not a so-called “faith” that exists by hiding from reality; it is faith that clings to hope in spite of what reality proclaims. They press in with God, asking and trusting for restoration of their loved one’s health. They are like the centurion who approached Jesus in faith, asking Jesus to “Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:7, NLT).

RELATED: “Reopening Wells: Rediscovering Models of Preparation“

I salute the untold thousands of caregivers around the world. Most did not volunteer for their way of life; life volunteered them. They have accepted an assignment, a mission of love with a high cost in terms of sacrifice. Few people see how absorbed their lives are by their mission. They are hidden heroes, as in the parable
Jesus shared:

“‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” (Matthew 25:37-40, NLT).

About The Author

Randall Bach
President of Open Bible Churches

Randall Bach delights in opportunities to serve the Lord, including his current assignment as president of Open Bible Churches. He and Barbara, his wife, have been in ministry for over 45 years and call it “Our adventure together.” Randall loves the church, pastors, and church leaders and is convinced that God loves to work through them to make disciples, develop leaders, and plant churches.