Dementia is a frightening prospect.
We watch elderly relatives struggle with how to make a sandwich, what day it is, how to get dressed, or even who we are, and fear wells up within us.
We mourn the loss of who they used to be as we also dread the possibility of losing our mental faculties little by little.
God gave us the mental capacity to think and reason. When we accept Christ’s forgiveness, He gives us a brand new heart and restores our soul. However, the change of the mind takes a little more time.
After we have been changed heart and soul, that inward change must make its way into our daily thought processes. However, our minds are eventually transformed to be more instep with who the Lord has made us to be.
Whereas before, our minds were like water assuming the shape of any cup or bowl it is poured into, now, the Lord’s presence begins to make our minds unyieldingly strong like rock. Instead of being conformed, our minds are transformed.
Both Peter and Paul wrote about this phenomenal transition as essential to the Christian life. A mind in the wild is one that fits any pattern it finds, but a mind for Christ honors Christ as the ultimate reality and isn’t bent by illusion.
Shortly after I was married, I was reading my Bible one morning and thinking about the command to love the Lord with all my mind. I was also taking some classes that just didn’t make sense. I read in James, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” I prayed and asked God to give me wisdom. He has answered that prayer time and again.
That doesn’t make me a rocket scientist. It didn’t put me at the top of the class. However, it was the beginning of using my transformed mind to the fullest extent of my capabilities to love the Lord.
Missionary Elisabeth Elliot Gren served the Lord in South America and wrote 28 books after losing her husband, Jim, on the mission field. She used her transformed mind brilliantly to encourage others to follow Jesus. However, Elisabeth developed dementia and suffered its effects for the last ten years of her life. She rarely spoke and only responded with slight hand signals.
But in an interview just a year before she died, Elizabeth’s third husband, Lars Gren, explained to the journalist that Elisabeth had made the choice (with her mind) to accept dementia as a part of God’s plan, and that with acceptance had come peace.
In the only word she spoke in that interview, she looked up with clear eyes and said, “Yes.”
Instead of hoarding our minds in fear, let us love the Lord with all our minds by trusting Him with them, to make of them what He wills.