Monday, March 25, 2013

Love, Dying, and Life

(I'm grateful to Melissa Fredericks and Marie-Marthe Samuels whose FaceBook statuses alerted me to the existence of this video, and of course, to Todd Friel and the good people over at Wretched TV)

Did you watch the video?  It's a very touching depiction of a husband's undying devotion to his wife.  If you watched just the first 40 seconds of it, you already know what you need to grasp what I'm trying to say in this post.  What struck me was that this man didn't simply deny any burden associated with the care of his wife.  He went on to positively describe the daily, meticulous caring for every need of his wife as "a great privilege".   I'm thinking, "sacred duty"--yes... "because I love her"-- yes... but privilege?  Great privilege?  Well, I guess that's the difference between a man going on 5 years of marriage and a man going on 50, huh?  I have hope that, because of the Lord's mercy, I'll get there.

Once I saw the video, my first thought was to my church's Young Adult Bible Study page on Facebook.  My purpose was to encourage the group to consider the reality of grueling love, consistent self-sacrifice, and perfecting patience that marriage calls for in the long run.  I was also trying to make a statement that this kind of love is not likely to be found in some night club or other places/crowds where the aforementioned character traits are not exalted and openly praised.

But then I thought about this video again and I began to wonder just how much this man really loved his wife.  I mean, she has Alzheimer's and is apparently at a stage where she doesn't know or can't perform normal functions for self-care.  That's tough, but she seemed pretty agreeable and appreciative towards her husband.  I guess that doesn't really minimize his efforts for and love towards her, but it does help when your spouse is at least happy about their treatment.

What if, however, she was not pleasant?  What if she wasn't thankful?  What if she didn't cooperate with him when he's bathing her?  What if she spit out half of the food that he fed her?  What if, despite her weakened condition, expressed disdain and attempted to refuse his choice of clothing and efforts to dress her?  Again, I don't want to take anything away from this man, but I wonder how he would handle a wife whose attitude was totally contrary to the way his is portrayed in the video.

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
-Romans 5:6-8

This is Holy Week, also referred to as Passion Week.  It is a sacred time in the life of the Church when we recall the depth of Christ's devotion to do God's will and redeem His own from their enslavement to sin.  And while we can and ought to affirm this husband's love for his wife, we must recognize that even this great human expression of love is impoverished and impotent by comparison with the love of Christ, the True Husband.  We are supernaturally blessed to have such a Spouse considering we were utterly contentious and at enmity with Him at first and even now we are often faithless despite His faithfulness.

If you think that I've turned an "inspirational" story into one that robs you of your self-esteem or fails to affirm you, I'm not apologizing.  But consider this: a high view of what Christ did on Good Friday depends on a low view of man.  If you think too highly of yourself, you will inevitably think too lowly of the awesome love of God the Father, in Christ, for those who trust in Him by the Holy Spirit's work of regeneration.    

1 comment:

  1. Isaiah D Thomas IIMarch 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I once asked my mom how to know you are ready to marry someone. She told me a story of a friend she had who was engaged. Weeks before the wedding, her fiance was in an accident that paralyzed him from the neck down. She still married him.

    Many would consider this paralyzed man unfit for marriage, if not for any other reason that his state would deem him unsuitable to perform many actions a husband should in pleasing his wife. And she married this man knowing his inability to please her. I am so thankful that Christ married me, while knowing I was unfit for marriage. He knew that I lacked what was necessary to please Him as a spouse reasonably should do, but He loved me enough to marry me anyway. This is a beautiful post Eric, thank you for sharing.