Every morning when I help my wife up from bed, I begin by placing my right hand under her left arm and my left hand under her shoulder on the same side (as she normally sleeps on her left side). Then I gently lift her into a sitting position on the edge of the bed. I always tell her what I am about to do and sometimes add a few silly phrases along the way, like today… As I got into position I laughingly told Piper that I was lifting her up with my big strong arms! Then I had to pause and ask her, “I wonder how many times I have put my arms around you over the years?”
If you figure that we have embraced at least once a day over the 46 years of our relationship, that number comes to 16,790 times! Of course there were a few days when we weren’t together due to work or church retreats, conferences and the such. But then there were also LOTS of occasions when we embraced more (many more…) times than just once a day as well. So I would conservatively have to say that the number of our embraces is at least double the minimum 16,790 times!
Now, you might be wondering where I am going with this. Well, when I am assisting my wife in the morning as well as any time that I help her to get up, move about or simply stand, I have to put my arms around her and support her. I guess you could say that I am acting as her foundation to keep her upright and steady! Over the last seven years I have never lost my grip or accidentally dropped her! (Although… I did do that the very first time I foolishly picked her up and attempted to carry her up her parent’s front steps when we were in high school… I have to laugh now, because she was never real comfortable with me carrying her after that initial – and only- mishap!) Her legs may occasionally collapse on me and I have to let her gently go down to her knees so that I can get a better ‘handle’ on her… but she knows that she is safe and that I am still in control of the situation!
My example with Piper goes right along with Paul’s petition for us in Ephesians 3:17 when he prayed that we would be “rooted” and “GROUNDED” in God’s love (KJV). The word “GROUNDED” is an architectural term referring to the foundation on which buildings or houses are built upon. Without a strong and solid foundation a building would shift and eventually fall down in the face of many of the natural storms and disasters that occur around the world.
I come from California where most residents have come to realize the utmost importance of the foundation upon which their home is built. In my home county, most home owners will shy away from a cement slab foundation as it is very inflexible during an earthquake and can easily crack and cause havoc to the house. In San Francisco, architects have developed a type of roller foundation that actually flexes with a quake and helps to keep the building intact and its residents safe.
I have to admit that I got a little annoyed at the various inspectors that checked out our new home here in North Carolina during the escrow process of the purchase. Every one of them went to great lengths in explaining the type of crawlspace foundation that the house has and to clarify with me that the brick enclosure had NO weight bearing function but was simply for aesthetics. But it did get me to thinking about how any other foundation but God’s love is simply aesthetics in the life of a Christian. When our lives get shaken, the aesthetics won’t hold us up for long, and will quickly cause us to take a great fall!
I have said it time and again how Piper’s and my ever increasing intimate knowing of God’s love for us has been the solid foundation that has held us up throughout the earth quaking, tornado spinning, tsunami flooding that has come upon the home of our lives since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009. His love has given us the strength to get up each day with a smile of expectation, an underlying dependence in His grace to see us through, and the unshakable faith in her total and complete healing based on the truth of His Word!
Over my years in ministry I have seen those whose foundations collapsed when faced with the storms of life and the result was not pretty! It is also not the results that Papa God has planned for His kids! He has given each and every one of us the tools and material in His Word to build a strong and solid foundation… but it is up to us to take what He has provided and become “GROUNDED” in His love and truth as found in the Word of God.
Have a great weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose or What kind of foundation am I expecting to hold me up and keep me steady when the storms of life come my way?”