“…He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.” Jer. 20:13
Yesterday, I met with a family to discuss how to cope, emotionally and physically, with a parent suffering from dementia. Dementia/Alzheimers takes the mind and personality and leaves behind the physical appearance of the person you love. Caregivers are forced to mourn the loss of that person they once knew each time they visit. It is incredibly difficult.
There was a woman I once visited who suffered Alzheimers. When she was younger, she was the most proper woman in town. An English teacher, she spoke eloquently and would politely chastise anyone for even the slightest bad word. By the time I met her, she no longer cared about her appearance and she spoke like a sailor.
Every time I visited, she would talk about a trip to Montana. It was a place she had never visited in real life. On the trip, she took revenge on the people who had done her wrong. Some she shot and others she beat with a stick. She used the most vulgar curse words to describe her actions. In her altered ability to communicate, she was using a story to share her frustration, anger and feeling of abandonment.
The most difficult visits were the times her daughter was in the room with me. The daughter was horrified by the Montana story. It was so far out of the realm of the mother she knew. “Mom, you’ve never been to Montana!” she would say. Then she would apologize to me for the way her mother was speaking to a pastor. This really bothered the daughter. To her, there were ways you were not supposed to talk to God.
Jeremiah’s heart is full of anger and frustration. He vents all of it on God. Why did you call me as prophet? No one listens to me! They all want to kill me. Punish them and let me see it so I can give glory to you. These thoughts are not the most inspirational. Still, they have a value we often miss.
Sometimes, we need to vent our frustrations. It may be difficult to hear, but it helps the soul be healthy. Burying it can do us emotional harm. Jeremiah reminds us, God has the ability to bear these feelings. He helps us remember that God rescues the needy from the wicked. Even when the wicked are the thoughts in our own head.
Click to read: Jeremiah 20: 7-13
- When was a time you vented your frustrations and felt ashamed afterwards?
- When have vented them and it felt really good?
- How do you respond to Jeremiah’s thoughts in verse 12?
- How honest are you with God?
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