My Need of a Caregiver
ALS is a horrible disease that leads to the body becoming totally paralyzed; the once-healthy and self-reliant victims of this killer eventually become forced to rely on a caregiver for all of their needs.
Coming to rely on my caregiver for help was very difficult and humbling. I had always been so independent and hard-working, and I suppose that I believed these qualities would keep me from ever having to rely on a caregiver. But the more familiar I became with my disease, the more I was forced to admit that my self-reliance and good work-ethic were not enough; I had to accept the fact that I couldn’t do it on my own; I needed a caregiver to help me.
One day, I admitted defeat and began accepting help from my caregiver. However, even after all these years my pride still makes it difficult to rely on someone else for assistance. But, day after day, my patient, selfless and devoted caregiver is always willing to help me. I’m so thankful for that!
Although everything I wrote above is true of my wife, Mary, and Sharlene (the woman that helps her care for me), I was not referring to either them. The process of coming to terms with accepting help for my physical needs was very similar to something that occurred in my life 13 years before being diagnosed with ALS. It was then I came to realize that I was spiritually helpless. And, like ALS, my efforts to conquer this eternally fatal disease through my own efforts were completely useless; I needed a full-time caregiver. After thoroughly reviewing the “résumés” of all the candidates for this most important position, I determined that only Jesus Christ was qualified to be my caregiver (my Lord and Savior).
Thankfully I didn’t have to become a theologian to conclude that the most significant difference between Christianity and every other belief-system can be summed-up by just one word – Grace! Every other belief-system is based on human efforts (“works”) to earn eternal life. They might phrase it differently, but the bottom line message is always the same – “Clean yourself up and God might accept you.” Christians are those that have come to realize they’re incapable of cleaning themselves up enough to stand before a Holy God. Like ALS rendering me physically helpless, all of humanity is spiritually helpless and in need of a spiritual caregiver.
Jesus didn’t wait for us to clean up our act before coming to die for us. In fact, He wouldn’t have had to come at all if we were capable of purifying ourselves. The Bible says it was “…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Unlike other belief-systems, Christians don’t perform good works hoping to obtain salvation; we do good works because we’ve already obtained salvation.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)