As a Christian Caregiver and as a leader of a Christian Caregiver Support Group I truly believe that God calls us to this role and walks with us in this role. No matter how long and difficult the journey, He is there by our side, offering and providing what we need to get through and loving us the whole way. In return for my thanksgiving for knowing this I share the following scripture, Colossians 1:24 “It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that still has to be undergone by Christ.”
Nice scripture but a little tough to take in saying I’m happy to suffer or that we as caregivers should be happy to suffer. Is it possible in looking at this scripture to look upon what we are going through, even the struggles, even the difficult parts, the “suffering” in a thankful way? For what did Christ suffer on the cross and how is what we are going through a gift to Him now?
We can look a little deeper at Christian suffering to help us grasp this. We see through Christ we do not suffer alone. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
We know the journey Christ suffered and walked we also know the promises yet to be fulfilled through Christ. We know He currently walks with us. If we attempt this journey of caregiving alone without Him by our side, or without the gifts He gives us in each other as support, we risk the pitfalls of self-pity, self-preoccupation and depression. Denying and pretending we can do this task of caregiving alone runs the risk of hardening a place inside us. Allowing Christ to walk with us in our struggles and recognizing we cannot do it alone protects us from edge of despair, feeling beat and destroyed in life’s difficulties. Rather than falling into those pitfalls, sharing our struggles with Christ helps us find meaning along the way and offers us an opportunity to allow the love of God and others in. He lights a path to see our way through this journey we are called to.
Not only does Christ walk with us he provides others on our journey, Christian Caregiver Support is one way we do not suffer alone. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 we are told “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” We must not underestimate the bond of each other, under the cross of Christ to soften our souls in our journey of Christian Caregiving. When together we can share in our difficulties, trials, struggles and yes even suffering we are humbled by the fact that we are in this together.
Christ suffered on the cross, and he was victorious! Together under His mighty care and with His help we can joyfully suffer our calling and be victorious also. Praise God!
Caregiver in Christ,