1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on God because He cares for you”. What a wonderful statement of truth.
If you are a carer, you are someone who is constantly giving out to others – particularly to the one who is dependent on you. It can be extremely draining to look after a sick child, a spouse or parent – especially if the caring is long term. Your world has become closed to a large extent. You are limited in when you can get out, how long you can be away, at the mercy of medical and other appointments.
Many carers also find that when a crisis first happens there is interest and support and prayer. But after the months and years roll on, people get used to your situation and no longer realise that for you the need hasn’t changed.
As well as all of this, there is a toll from the strain of constantly being on call. The physical strain of managing sometimes demanding tasks as you get older or ill yourself, the emotional strain and sometimes grief that comes from realising that your dreams for that person or the relationship are not going to be as you hoped.
For many carers there is a sense of guilt if they feel the need to take time off for themselves. But it is so important to be able to do that; to remember that the needs of our humanity are legitimate too.
That’s why God’s words of comfort in 1 Peter are so helpful. We serve a God who cares for us. In your care of others know that you have a God who cares deeply about you. He communicates his care through his word, through the comfort of his Spirit and through his people.
We need to help churches to think creatively about practical care but also about how they can care spiritually and emotionally and to recognise the need to support people who are long-term carers. There is real significance in a listening ear, an honest prayer that captures what a person has shared, being willing to read God’s word and share God’s encouragements, the ability to recognise that the carer’s world has shrunk and they need people who will walk with them in this sometimes lonely place.
May we all cast our anxieties on the God who cares for us, but especially may we stand with our brothers and sisters who are long term carers as they bring their anxieties to God. May we be people who are expressions of God’s care to these people.
If you are a carer, this website may be of interest to you: www.carersaustralia.com.au