Part 4: Why Me?
Whenever we experience an unexpected turn of events, people tend to ask one thing.
Perhaps it is human nature to want to know why bad circumstances should befall us. Have you noticed that we rarely ask that question when times are good? In fact, when circumstances are in our favor, we may say, "Why not me?" It's as if we are saying that we are deserving only of good things, and never bad.
It may surprise you to learn that being a caregiver is not a bad thing. It is not a punishment from God, or a deviation from your career goals, or a setback from your "life plan." If you find yourself being a caregiver, especially if nurturing does not come to naturally to you, then you are exactly where God wants you to be.
But if you really want an answer to the Why me? question as it relates to being a caregiver, let me offer you a few.
Because it's what you'd want.
Years ago, when my grandmother was still alive, her children (my mother, aunt and uncles) used to take turns housing her in their homes. Eventually, my grandmother became too infirm to move from house to house, and a suitable nursing home was found for her. They would take turns visiting Grandmother in the nursing home, one of them each day, to make sure that Grandmother received the very best physical care and was reminded that her children cared about her.
That level of active involvement left an impression on me. My mother and her siblings modeled for me that the older generation are to be looked after. For that reason, I chose to care for mom and dad in their home. If you have children, then you should know that caring for elderly parents is cyclical. The behavior you display toward your elderly parents will teach your children how they may care for you when that time comes. In this, the old adage applies: "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you."
Because it is God's command.
"Honor your father and mother," says the Lord. This was a command that God wrote with His very own finger into a stone tablet. It was not intended just for young children; it was a command for adult children as well. The apostle Paul, in the Book of Ephesians, noted that this is the first command with a promise: "...so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you" (Deuteronomy 5:16). There are blessings of prosperity in store for us when we obey our Heavenly Parent in caring for our earthly parents.
Because it puts a smile on God's face.
If you are a disciple of Jesus, you live to please Him. And the Bible tells you one way you can do that. "But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God" (1 Timothy 5:5). Who wouldn't want to please God, who is so generous and compassionate with us?
The Bible goes on to caution us what happens when we fail in this familial duty: "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Timothy 5:8).
Because it refines you.
Undeniably, being a caregiver does bring its share of problems. And Jesus promised us that in this world, we would have troubles. But the purpose of the troubles is not to exasperate us; it's to refine us to such a high finish that we reflect the very image of God. The testing we undergo is not meant for us to endure alone; in fact, quite the opposite is true. God wants us to call upon Him.
"I will refine them like silver, and test them like gold.
They will call on my name and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’ ” (Zechariah 13:9)
Because why not you?
Let's consider for a moment Job. Few people have suffered so much as Job. Though once a wealthy and prosperous man, in one fell swoop he lost all of his children, his material possessions, and even his health. If anyone had the right to ask, "Why me?," it was Job.
His wife, weary of the agony that they were both going through, offered him a suicidal option: "'Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!' He replied, 'You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?' In all this, Job did not sin in what he said" (Job 2:9-10).
Despite his troubles, Job had the presence of mind to embrace whatever situation God handed him. He had once been given the blessing of wealth, health, and prosperity, and now he was being asked to endure hardship. Just as Jesus would later do in the Garden of Gethsemane, Job accepted the Father's will, whatever pains it put him through.
The Book of Job tells us that the Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the former part. That is the economy of God. His nature is one of overwhelming generosity. For that reason alone, He can be trusted on both good times and bad.
“ ‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord." (Leviticus 19:32)
“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (Deuteronomy 5:16)
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. (1 Timothy 5:4)