While every disease has its accompanying pain, the pain that comes when a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease is unique and in some ways deeper. It’s almost like you are living with a dead person because the person you once knew is now gone.
While I have not gone through the struggles of a loved one’s Alzheimer’s, our family has been hit by the larger umbrella category of dementia. How do you treat people who are no longer themselves and who no longer have any memory? How does our God of all comfort give hope to the people that seem like shells of their former selves? And how can believers walk through these struggles faithfully?
These are all questions answered by Dr. Benjamin Mast in Second Forgetting: Remembering the Power of the Gospel During Alzheimer’s Disease. Mast’s title comes from the idea that Christians are susceptible to forget what God has done. Struggling through a disease that forces forgetfulness on us doesn’t help either. Mast writes,
The fact that we rejoice in God’s goodness one minute and grumble against him in the next reflects the brokenness of our memory and our ongoing struggle with sin. God knows our need for reminders. He asked Moses to bottle up some manna as a reminder for future generations (Exodus 16:32)….
When we are overwhelmed by the challenges of Alzheimer’s, we are prone to forget the Lord, like the Israelites in the Old Testament, and this contributes to even greater feelings of hopelessness, despair, and isolation.
We are all susceptible to forget God’s faithfulness in the past, His presence in the midst of current trials, and His promises for the future. We must preach those truths to ourselves always–and especially in the toughest times.
Mast’s goal from the outset was to write “a book about hope.” He delivers just that by reminding us forgetful people where our True Hope is found, in Christ. Readers will appreciate his practical and pastoral approach that reminds readers of hope in Christ and equips them to walk down the long and hard road of Alzheimer’s.
Give this book to your friends and loved ones coping with this disease. This book will be an encouragement, a comfort, and will fill them with the hope that is only found in Jesus Christ.