Over the past seven years I have received many kind words concerning my loving commitment to my wife with the devastating attack on her health. I have also received a few comments expressing the exact opposite that questioned my resolve and even worse than that… wondering if I would even stay with her throughout this journey.
I openly admit that both of these expressions have surprised me. The kind words have startled me and caused me to shake my head and ask: “Wouldn’t every spouse want to stay by their loved ones side throughout the most difficult times in their lives?” And sadly enough, I have come to learn that the real life answer to that is “NO!”
Now I understand that there can be a varying amount of reasons for the inability to be personally involved in the care of your spouse, but for me, there was never a question of who would care for her! It really surprised me when family members questioned our decision with more questions about finances than my wife’s needs. (Actually there never was much discussion on the subject between Piper and I, for we always KNEW that we would be there for each other in time of need!)
As far as questioning my personal commitment to Piper and our marriage, with the bottom line (as far as I was concerned) being my unquestionable love for her, I think this situation was one of the most difficult ones that I’ve had to deal with! To this day, I still can’t fathom what caused these folks to even consider, much less repeatedly express this thought to mutual friends as well as with our kids, at the beginning of our life-changing ordeal.
The Apostle Paul prays in Ephesians 3:17-19 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend, with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
In my continuing study of this passage earlier today, I suddenly realized that Paul’s words written to us through the letter to the church in Ephesus, perfectly explain my actions in the care of my wife! The writer emphasizes his teaching by using the words “rooted” and “grounded” in reference to our Christian love.
The Greek word “rooted” means “to become stable, to render firm or to cause a person or a thing to be thoroughly grounded.” While “grounded” implies the action of a builder who “lays a foundation, or something put down, like a substructure.” It can also define the “first principles, an institution, or a system of truths” that govern a person’s life. (Strong’s and Thayer’s)
So from those definitions it is easy to see how Paul was praying that the recipients of his letter would come to the place in their Christian walk where Christ’s love would be both the unshakable and unquestioning foundation from which everything else in their lives is built on.
Without any pretense of sounding haughty, I believe that we have tried to make every decision concerning my wife’s care and well-being based on the firm foundation that Piper and I have been building through the daily study of God’s Word, Biblical training and personal experience (both good and not so good!). I have come to understand that it is this foundation of ROCK that has kept me going through the ups and downs of our situation.
My Dad once told me as I was helping Piper down the front stairs of their house in the early days of our journey, that I was very patient with her. I took that as a great compliment from my Dad, but had never given it a thought before he made the comment! My daughter-in-law mentioned recently, when all our children were here, that someone at their wedding mentioned that my son had the same look in his eyes toward her as the love that they could see in me toward my sweetheart!
You know, our personal and ever-increasing foundation of Christ’s love is not something we do… it is who we are in the eyes of those we come in contact with throughout the days of our lives!
I found myself chuckling last night as I was squeezing the toothpaste out of the tube. For I was reminded that when the adverse situations of life squeeze us, what is truly inside us comes out! Have you ever considered what would come out of you today if you got squeezed? Would it make a mess on those it hit… or would it be a soothing balm of Godly love, peace and joy?
Think about it this weekend… and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting the foundation I’ve built on the inside of me to keep me steady when the adverse situations of life hit?”