Through a pet lover’s post, I wrote a very short story that included a small slice of my father’s character. I never forget him, not for one day since he went home. There’s never a day goes by that there’s something I want to point out to him. My youngest great-grandson looks so much like Daddy’s youthful pictures. Will he have that sense of humor, the great story-telling ability?
But that’s not what came to mind after I wrote that short pet story. Nope. What came to mind was this verse:
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 KJV)
You see, my Dad laid down his life for his friend – his wife. For a couple of years he took her to a variety of doctors, then to Mayo Clinic. He retired early, giving up a portion of their income for the rest of their lives. He gave up going fishing, which he enjoyed all of his life. Instead, he cared for his wife, afflicted with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Eventually, he turned her several times a night. Cooked and cleaned, for she could no longer. Shopped, not just for their groceries, but also for her clothing. (Try that. It is NOT easy.)
I wish I could tell you how much Mom appreciated it, but first imagine the frustration of such a debilitating disease. Losing your ability to communicate, to walk, yet retaining all intellect. To be forced to sit and think, yet not share. Unlike Stephen Hawkin, there was not an inner universe she could manipulate and disperse through a computer. Sometimes her frustrations boiled over.
Yet her husband laid down his life, for this friend.
That situation gave me two examples. That of our heavenly Father, willing to accept us with our limitations and our faults. And our Christ, willing to lay down His life that we might live:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:28 KJV)
My father is not a singular incident. One such husband lives nearby, spending his days at a full-care center. His wife does not retain her intellect. Alzheimer’s has stolen all of her memories, even her ability to eat. For almost four years, he fed her every day. Today he simply holds her hand as she slowly slips away.
Are there those who do not believe in God and yet offer their lives for their friends? Yes. Christians do not have this market cornered. This is simply a way of looking at men who bring to mind Bible verses.
Even greater than this love is the love these particular men and women have shown for their God. Not once did I hear any of them express a thought of life’s unfairness. Not once did I hear them rail against an uncaring deity, nor indicate a loss of belief.
I’m sorry – I’m beginning to ramble, seeking to create a larger portrait, when this covers what was on my mind. My agenda? Summed up as:
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (Colossians 1:9 KJV)