The last couple of mornings have been very difficult for me as my wife has hardly been eating anything. With the attack of Alzheimer’s on her body over these last twelve or so years, she has been slowly losing many of her intellectual and physical capabilities. From the early beginnings when I began to notice some small but subtle changes in her physical appearance and then having a difficult time finding that “right word” in order to complete her thoughts, it was increasingly apparent that something was going on with her although at that time most attributed it to the onset of menopause.
Piper had a complete and thorough physical in the summer of 2006, just before we left for Oklahoma and Bible School, and even with that, the doctor reported her to be in great health and sound physical condition. About a year later things began to get more pronounced and we started off the investigation in earnest with multiple brain scans and other tests with a variety of specialists. The changes came at a rapid pace once we returned home to California in 2009 and the deterioration of her well-being progressed from a seemingly innocent stumble in the hallway to the point today where she can no longer carry her own weight and requires 24-hour care for all of her needs.
One would think that I would be acclimated to changes in her by this point! But as you can expect, each and every change has been very difficult for me to witness. The swallowing yesterday and today caused me to step back and look deep inside to see where my faith really stood. On both days I found myself at the completion of her breakfast, sitting on the floor in the hallway in prayer to the Lord.
At times like these it is easy to question your beliefs, and I must admit that there were a great multiplicity of questions going through my mind. But as I finally quieted down those voices in my head, I recalled John 6:63 where Jesus said that His words are "spirit and life" (KJV) and I began to ask myself if I REALLY believe all those healing scriptures that I’ve been pumping into Piper and I for years now. I needed to know if His Word was only in my head… or is it firmly planted within my heart?
Well, with a quick shake of my head and a rub to my eyes, I reaffirmed my belief in God’s Word as well as to my commitment to Him and to Piper that I would NEVER give up! So, with a steading arm on the dog standing next to me (it’s nice to have a big dog!), I pushed myself up to my feet and walked back into the dining room, praising the Lord and thanking Him for His Word that is working inside my wife and perfecting a healing and a cure in her.
I think it is times like my experience this morning when you really learn if your faith has gone beyond the realm of “Mental Assent” and is a faith that actively “ACTS” on the Word… whether you see the end result of your faith or not! I read a good explanation of “Mental Assent” the other day that stated:
“With mental assent you believe something in your head, you approve it and confirm it is right, proper and godly. It carries your endorsement without qualm. You may not speak of it, but it carries your seal of approval. However, the problem is that you don’t realize that you are not fulfilling it. You think it, but you don’t actually do it. Why? Because you believe it in your head, not in your heart: Mental Assent. If you truly believed it in your heart, you would put it into practice. You only believe God’s Word as far as you obey and act on it.”*
As I mentioned in our last post (7/6/18 – “Swooning…”), I have seen this on different occasions as we have interacted with others concerning our stand for Piper’s healing over the years. The above definitions brought a peace to a part of me that has been extremely frustrated and confused with some folks who I know believe the same way Piper and I do, but yet continue to give us that blank and dazed look when it comes to actively agreeing with us.
I’ve also mentioned before of how I questioned just about everything I have ever believed and stood for when we returned home from Bible College to face the greatest battle in our lives. The more I questioned, the more it came down to the point of exactly where my supposed faith was located… in my head or in my heart! The answer to those questions is what helped me to begin making the many decisions we’ve had to make over the years that favored following God’s promises over what medical science and even some good-meaning family and friends were suggesting.
How about you? How would YOU answer those same questions about where YOUR faith is located? Is it stuck in your head or has it moved down deep into your heart?
Have a great new week! And as you do, keep asking yourself… “Where am I expecting to find my faith in time of need today?”