Yesterday I had a wonderful conversation with a dear friend. We were discussing her mother who suffers significantly from Alzheimer’s disease. Her sweet mom is struggling a great deal. At this point, her mind is a blank sheet of paper. She can’t even remember how to walk or chew.
She cannot say a complete sentence about anything EXCEPT comments to and about her heavenly father. Amazingly, she is able to say things like, “Oh Jesus, good morning.” Or, “Lord, I need you.” Stymied in every area of expression and physical function, she is still able to relate openly to her Savior.
How is that possible?
In Matthew 22:37, the apostle writes: “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Scholars will tell you those terms like “heart,” “soul,” and “mind” are overlapping concepts. But Matthew does seem to be implying that there is some kind of qualitative difference between each of those properties. From a simplistic viewpoint, there does seem to be a dividing line between the mind and the spirit.
We can clearly see how the mind can deteriorate but apparently our spirit can remain in tact. It seems that part of us that is regenerated at our spiritual birth stands apart from the working part of our mind. We can forget everything and lose the ability to do even the most automatic functions of life, and yet…we appear to retain the ability to sing praise to our Lord. Greatly impaired, but we can still mouth expressions of worship. We can talk and relate to our dear savior.
What a blessing and encouragement that thought is. But it is also a clarion call to action. While you and I still have retained the use of our mind, we ought to be intentionally “investing” in the “bank of our spirit.”
We need to be making deposits of memorized scripture, hiding verses of hymns and songs in our heart and making sure that our regular communication with God is personal and meaningful.
If we do so, by the grace of God, maybe one day if you or I suffer the ravages of a disease like Alzheimer’s, we will still be able to communicate with our Lord.
Even with a broken mind, wouldn’t it be great if the words of that wonderful hymn, “How Great Thou Art” just rolled off our lips and we are able to declare:
“Then sings my soul, my savior God to thee, How great thou art, How great thou art!”