I’m pretty sure that I mentioned in a recent blog about the picture that I saw of a gal whose facial expressions strongly reminded me of my wife Piper before the fight for her health began in 2007. In that picture I saw the confidence, determination, purpose and passion that typified the way Piper lived her life. She always amazed me in that she seemed to never be afraid of almost anything! She had the knack of taking the things that life dished out to her and turning them into opportunities for her Papa God to be magnified by yielding to Him and simply trusting and allowing Him and His Word to do what He said He would do… for as she would say: “with God all things are possible!” (Matthew 19:26 KJV)
The years from 2007 through September of 2009 were difficult and confusing as we knew something was going on with Piper’s health, but the doctors in Oklahoma seemed to have a difficult time putting a name to it. The many tests pointed one direction while her still active lifestyle demonstrated the tests to have a false narrative. But besides her having difficulties coming up with “the right word” in the midst of a conversation, I saw the change beginning in 2008 when little comments or actions betrayed the situation. During that period of time I began to notice that her steadfast determination and confidence were beginning to slip away.
After seeing that picture the other day, I realized that I hadn’t seen or experienced the “old” Piper I married and loved through all these many years of dating and marriage for about nine years now! I am so thankful that this picture of a stranger portraying a look that characterized my wife’s personality and life that helped to build a strong marriage and family with me was reignited in my memory.
The stirring memories of that look caused a fresh determination to rise up in me and I immediately began to revisit, study and speak over her a verse from the Old Testament that has always been a favorite of ours. This scripture found in Joshua 1:9 declares “Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the LORD your God, am with you wherever you go." (The Good News Bible)
“Determined and confident, not afraid and not discouraged”… words and actions that perfectly described Piper Kaye Berruto! It is interesting though, that the more I have studied this verse that I have underlined in just about every hard copy Bible I have along with copious hand scribbled notes written under, next to and in the margin of those same Bibles from studies and sermons over the years, the more instruction and confirmations I am receiving for my own life and personal activities!
The Apostolic Bible Polyglot which is a Greek interpretation of the Old Testament puts Joshua 1:9 this way saying: “Behold, I give charge to you, be strong and be manly! You should not be timid, nor should you be terrified, (for) the Lord your God is with you in every place where ever you should go.” The word “manly” immediately stood out to me. I’m sure that one reason it jumped off the page at me was due to “Political Incorrectness” that our modern society would quickly put on that term! But the other reason was that I have heard that term spoken to my heart many times in my daily personal Bible Study over these last nine years.
I have heard the Lord instructing me to “Man Up” under the pressure of everything that we have been through along with the many difficult steps, phone calls, medical appointments, reams of paperwork and the outgoing explosion of finances that we’ve… I’VE… had to pray over, deal with, make decisions for and/or do since those early days in 2007.
Yesterday as I studied this verse, I felt led to look up the words “strong” and “manly” and found some interesting things! One of the meanings in Hebrew for “strong” is “to be “obstinate!” Well, that definition definitely resonated with me as I have been called that name when I refused to yield to outside influences that did not chime in with the directions we believed the Lord was instructing us to follow, and I also saw the disgust and confusion in others who, while they might not have spoken the word “obstinate,” you could sure see it flaming in their eyes as I stood my ground with a smile on my face!
A modern definition of “obstinate” describes the action as “stubbornly refusing to change one's opinion or chosen course of action or attitude, despite attempts to persuade one to do so; not easily controlled or overcome.” (Oxford online dictionary) I actually took that as a good thing that I have done in the face of adversity! I believe it was another one of the many confirmations that the Lord has given me as we have sought to seek and follow His directions for us.
The Greek meaning for “manly” took a different turn than I thought it would. Besides the obvious meaning of “to make a man out of or to make brave,” Thayer’s Greek Definitions tells how it comes from another word meaning “of a husband or of a betrothed or future husband.”
Well, like I said, that thought hit me like a rod hitting a gong! Suddenly my obstinate behavior in negative response to some of the cruel and incorrect accusations or “advice” I’ve been given over the years came back with the joyfully understood realization that all along I have been endeavoring only to do what Papa God has expected me to do as Piper’s loving husband and protector in her deepest time of need.
So… I think you could say that, among other things, the role of a husband to his wife is one of obstinate and manly obedience in following the will and direction of the Lord in the face of any adversity that might come against her! Hummm…. Talk about “Political Correctness!” I’m not sure how that explanation would fly in the world’s eyes! But you know… At this point, I really don’t care what THEY say… I only care about what and how the Lord and His Word directs me to act toward my wife!
What do you think?
Have a great week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… How ‘Obstinate’ in the face of adversity am I expecting to act today?”