So, as I sat through meeting after meeting in those first several weeks at my job and listened to the nurses talk about all the medical issues that people were dealing with and how to best treat each one, I began to decipher all the medical lingo. While that was a relief (to finally understand what everyone was talking about) I couldn't understand why all these people had so many problems! And everyone was talking about it like it was normal. Infections, wounds, inability to walk and feed themselves and even swallow...and the cognitive issues. Depression, confusion, dementia. What in the world was going on? Is this what happens when we age? To all of us, or just some? This can't be normal...or is it?
The principle of sowing and reaping is mentioned throughout the bible. God has been teaching me a lot lately about this principle. It has to do with the choices we make and the consequences of them. There are always consequences...
"Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit."
I used to be confused by this. As Christians, I thought that accepting Jesus meant that He would save us from the consequences of our choices. He would come in with his big eraser and take care of everything that I screwed up in my life. I'm learning that is not entirely true. While He paid the penalty for our sin in order to restore our relationship with God, and He offers TOTAL forgiveness, there are still consequences to our choices that we may have to live with on earth. It isn't God's will, but in the areas that we don't surrender to Him, He does not always spare us from our choices. From ourselves.
Nowhere has this principle been shown to me so clearly as it has in the past few months. The choices related to our physical health, I can understand. How we take care of our bodies and invest in our health when we are young has a direct effect on our quality of life as we age. Now there's a wake up call for me! Hello!! But as a social worker I am more focused on the mental, spiritual and emotional quality of peoples lives, and God is showing me that this principle very much applies to those areas as well. Everyday I see people living out the final years of their lives, reaping what they have sown...before their health, their independence and sometimes their minds have been stolen from them, or have simply slipped away. While it's not true for everyone, far too many are overcome with loneliness. Emptiness. Hopelessness. People who have lived their whole lives for themselves, pursuing their dreams, working hard, raising their families, placing their value and worth on the things they were able to do and accomplish and attain. Now, as one by one those things have been stripped away from them, even in some cases their very dignity as they depend on others to do even the simplest of things for them, what are they left with?
Without Christ, it's very simple. They are left with nothing.
Nothing to live for. Nothing to pursue. Nothing to value. Nothing to hope for. So they sit the days away and implode. Hopelessness is like a blanket that is draped over their souls and they have stopped trying. Stopped living long before their lives are truly over. It is nothing short of heartbreaking to me.