Mother with Alzheimer's Saved?

The Question

I am not 100% sure that my mother is saved although we were raised as Christians. She now has advanced Alzheimer’s and I am wondering: if she isn’t, is there no chance for her to be with God in heaven?

M. from North Carolina


The Answer
Part 1: Heart most important

Heart most important

I bet it is extremely difficult watching your mother deteriorate physically and mentally and on top of that having this worry about her spiritual condition. I would like to tell you to rest easy and simply trust God for your mother but I know that is easier said than done.

You can start with this: “for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Since no one knows the true condition of another person’s soul but the Lord, I imagine we will all be quite surprised in heaven to find out who shows up present or missing.

Regarding diminished mental capacity; I think we are often too quick in our assumptions about what it takes to effect salvation. The gospel message is extremely simple and it is meant for ALL. It is a message of the heart, not the head. Perhaps your mother has already accepted Christ but who says that if not, it wouldn’t still be possible?

Let me share a story. Years ago I knew a pastor who had a son born mentally retarded but that child was one of the church’s best altar workers. When people came down to the altar for prayer and healing the son laid hands on them with simple childlike faith. Any who thought he didn’t have the capacity to embrace the gospel were dead wrong.

Also, what about those considered beyond reach who wake up from a coma? Sometimes they report having heard and understood much more than considered possible and sometimes they tell of deep spiritual experiences like visits from angels or talks with Jesus.

I know your mother doesn’t fit either of these categories but what I’m saying is not to count out the plans God still has for your mom. You may be able to participate. Read scripture to her even though you think she doesn’t understand. Ask her to accept Christ even if she can’t respond. How do you know that God isn’t reaching a place deep inside of her?

Pray over her and pray together with her by taking her hands and speaking out loud to God on her behalf. Even if your mother received Christ years ago there is great benefit in praying things that may reach her deepest heart. Begin to trust that God is at work. Trust that He will use what time remains, even for eternity.

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