Q: My dear friend is going thru hell watching her husband slowly succumb to ALS. What Urantia Book passages can I share to help ease her dramatic suffering, and deal with the 3 young grandchildren they are raising?
Thanks so much for writing to us here at TruthBook…what a sad situation for your friend to be going through. She is lucky to have a friend like you in this trying time. I feel sure you are doing all you can to ease her burdens…
You don’t mention whether your friend is a believer, but I hope that she is, for having a strong faith can be a rock of stability when one’s whole world seems to be falling apart. It is really a blessing that you want to help her. The presence of a friend can cut sorrow in half! In any event, It must be hard for her to try and make sense of such a terrible illness, and to watch her husband slowly declining. And on top of it, they have the three grandkids who are surely becoming totally dependent on her…I can only imagine how hard this must be.
Even though she may not realize it (or want to hear it), her situation is rich with opportunity for character and spiritual growth. She must be a very trustworthy individual, for her circumstances have placed her in a position of solemn trust – as caregiver to her ill husband, whose help to her is surely compromised, and parent to her grandchildren. Understanding this alone can help her to realize her nobility and dignity as a beloved daughter of God.
Maybe you will be able to give her this information in a way that she will be able to hear it and benefit by it. If she can re-frame her trials right now as a means for developing a strong character, it might give her a renewed sense of purpose and a more uplifted sense of what it’s all about. A person with a lesser character might fold under the weight of such burdens, giving in to despair or hopelessness, but she is being called to the heroic privilege of high service not granted to all.
“The privilege of service immediately follows the discovery of trustworthiness…”
28:6.20 … the quality of unselfishness revealed in disinterested labor for the welfare of one’s earthly fellows, particularly worthy beings in need and in distress, that is the real measure of planetary greatness.
Here are more thoughts that might be of help to her – and you – from The Urantia Book:
(3:5.6) Is courage—strength of character—desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments.
(Really, all of those “inevitabilities” are good for your friend to know…click the link)
(118:10.9) Much of what a mortal would call good luck might really be bad luck; the smile of fortune that bestows unearned leisure and undeserved wealth may be the greatest of human afflictions; the apparent cruelty of a perverse fate that heaps tribulation upon some suffering mortal may in reality be the tempering fire that is transmuting the soft iron of immature personality into the tempered steel of real character.
(140:8.20) [Jesus] placed great value upon sincerity—a pure heart. Fidelity was a cardinal virtue in his estimate of character, while courage was the very heart of his teachings. “Fear not” was his watchword, and patient endurance his ideal of strength of character. The teachings of Jesus constitute a religion of valor, courage, and heroism. And this is just why he chose as his personal representatives twelve commonplace men, the majority of whom were rugged, virile, and manly fishermen.
(166:4.10) [Said Jesus] “In the matter of sickness and health, you should know that these bodily states are the result of material causes; health is not the smile of heaven, neither is affliction the frown of God.”
159:3.13 [Said Jesus] I do not promise to deliver you from the waters of adversity, but I do promise to go with you through all of them.
(131:2.10) The eternal God is my strength; he is our dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. The Lord is near to those who are brokenhearted; he saves all who have a childlike spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous man, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Commit your way to the Lord—trust him—and he will bring it to pass. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
(188:5.5) On millions of inhabited worlds, tens of trillions of evolving creatures who may have been tempted to give up the moral struggle and abandon the good fight of faith, have taken one more look at Jesus on the cross and then have forged on ahead, inspired by the sight of God’s laying down his incarnate life in devotion to the unselfish service of man.
(I hope that your friend is able to enjoy at least brief periods of leisure and play in the midst of her overwhelming duties as a wife and mother:)
(28:6.17) Service—purposeful service, not slavery—is productive of the highest satisfaction and is expressive of the divinest dignity. Service—more service, increased service, difficult service, adventurous service, and at last divine and perfect service—is the goal of time and the destination of space. But ever will the play cycles of time alternate with the service cycles of progress. And after the service of time there follows the superservice of eternity. During the play of time you should envision the work of eternity, even as you will, during the service of eternity, reminisce the play of time.
(The children are witnessing their grandmother go through these difficulties as well. They will benefit by seeing how she can meet this challenge successfully:)
(84:7.26) The true parent is engaged in a continuous service-ministry which the wise child comes to recognize and appreciate.
And here are some additional thoughts from The Urantia Book:
(140:4.6) Strong characters are not derived from not doing wrong but rather from actually doing right. Unselfishness is the badge of human greatness. The highest levels of self-realization are attained by worship and service. The happy and effective person is motivated, not by fear of wrongdoing, but by love of right doing.
(137:8.11) [Said Jesus] “In my Father’s kingdom there shall be neither Jew nor gentile, only those who seek perfection through service, for I declare that he who would be great in my Father’s kingdom must first become server of all. If you are willing to serve your fellows, you shall sit down with me in my kingdom, even as, by serving in the similitude of the creature, I shall presently sit down with my Father in his kingdom.”
176:3.5 Said Jesus: You who know these truths must yield the increase of the fruits of the spirit and manifest a growing devotion to the unselfish service of your fellow servants. And remember that, inasmuch as you minister to one of the least of my brethren, you have done this service to me.
(176:3.6) Said Jesus]”And so should you go about the work of the Father’s business, now and henceforth, even forevermore. Carry on until I come. In faithfulness do that which is intrusted to you, and thereby shall you be ready for the reckoning call of death. And having thus lived for the glory of the Father and the satisfaction of the Son, you shall enter with joy and exceedingly great pleasure into the eternal service of the everlasting kingdom.”
(180:1.6) Keep in mind: It is loyalty, not sacrifice, that Jesus demands. The consciousness of sacrifice implies the absence of that wholehearted affection which would have made such a loving service a supreme joy. The idea of duty signifies that you are servant-minded and hence are missing the mighty thrill of doing your service as a friend and for a friend. The impulse of friendship transcends all convictions of duty, and the service of a friend for a friend can never be called a sacrifice. The Master has taught the apostles that they are the sons of God. He has called them brethren, and now, before he leaves, he calls them his friends.
(100:2.7) Jesus portrayed the profound surety of the God-knowing mortal when he said: “To a God-knowing kingdom believer, what does it matter if all things earthly crash?” Temporal securities are vulnerable, but spiritual sureties are impregnable. When the flood tides of human adversity, selfishness, cruelty, hate, malice, and jealousy beat about the mortal soul, you may rest in the assurance that there is one inner bastion, the citadel of the spirit, which is absolutely unassailable; at least this is true of every human being who has dedicated the keeping of his soul to the indwelling spirit of the eternal God.
(101:3.4) Through religious faith the soul of man reveals itself and demonstrates the potential divinity of its emerging nature by the characteristic manner in which it induces the mortal personality to react to certain trying intellectual and testing social situations. Genuine spiritual faith (true moral consciousness) is revealed in that it … Generates profound courage and confidence despite natural adversity and physical calamity. (Note: all of these evidences are inspiring…click on the link)
Thanks again for writing with this difficult situation. I hope that my reply is a bit helpful to you and your friend today. Click on any of the links to open the text.
There really is a great and glorious plan at work in our lives … when faced with such unspeakable hardships as your friend is experiencing, it might be the most helpful thing to turn our thoughts and our hearts to the real meaning of life here on this difficult world. This can elevate any situation.
“There is a great and glorious purpose in the march of the universes through space. All of your mortal struggling is not in vain. We are all part of an immense plan, a gigantic enterprise, and it is the vastness of the undertaking that renders it impossible to see very much of it at any one time and during any one life. We are all a part of an eternal project which the Gods are supervising and outworking. The whole marvelous and universal mechanism moves on majestically through space to the music of the meter of the infinite thought and the eternal purpose of the First Great Source and Center.”
God bless you and your friend…I will add you both to my prayer list as well.