The other day I caught something on the Daystar Network that was really good. It was a conference of some sort. Governor Mike Huckabee was speaking. I sat glued to the television. He told a story about friends of his. It goes as such (this is not a literal retelling).
Delbert and Roberta were friends of the Huckabee family. Roberta; who was affectionately known as Robbi, was suffering with mild Alzheimer’s. As this horrible disease progressed it came to the place where Delbert had to place her in a facility that was specifically for people living that nightmare. Delbert went faithfully three times each day to see his dear Robbi. He fed her each time he went. Family and friends offered to fill in for him to give him a break. He politely refused citing his commitment to his loving wife since the day they wed. Her condition was so far advanced that as Delbert would feed Robbi he would lovingly tell her things like, “Now dear, chew up that bite of food.”
It is sad; but, true that we do not see this kind of commitment much anymore. As you can imagine, Governor Huckabee told this much better than I. He made application in a manner that I could never. One thing he taught me was a love that is committed no matter what. The Scriptures came to mind, from John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
We are commanded to love our wives. If this does not work, we are commanded to love our neighbor and she is the closest neighbor. If this does not work, we are commanded to love our enemies.
Last night I had the opportunity of going to the mission and preaching their chapel service. I do this on the forth Friday of each month. It is such a pleasure. These men are so appreciative of the snacks and that we take time to go and minister to them. I normally do not pick out songs prior to going because I let them request their favorite songs. They sing at the top of their lungs. Some sing off key; but, I don’t care. They are singing from their heart.
We go each month because we are motivated by love. Look at I Peter 4:8, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” The word “charity” is the Greek word agape which means love, i.e. affection or benevolence; specially (plural) a love-feast (Taken from the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).
Charity is basically love in work clothes. If I love the men at the shelter then I will do my best to teach them God’s Word and to win them to Christ. What a privilege! I can honestly say that I love those men and they respond in love to us. I am so thankful that God has put His Love in me in so many different ways. I am thankful for the love of Christ which constrains me to go each month and share with these men.
Anyone who is around my family knows that life for us is not all pie in the sky, by and by. Please do not think that I am complaining; because, I am not. I am simply stating fact. If you tell someone that when they trust Christ as their Saviour that everything will be okay or better you have lied.
If you are breathing you are either entering a trial, in the middle of a trial or coming out of a trial. This is a fact of life. For parents of children with special needs it seems to always be in the midst of a trial. My wife and I know from experience. Life is difficult for sure; but, it is what you make out of it.
You and I have two choices when choosing our response to trials. We can become bitter or we can become better. The choice is up to the individual. If you go around like a victim saying, “Poor, pitiful me” then you are going through it. If you go around asking God, “What are you trying to teach me?” then you are growing through it. We need to be better and not bitter.
Look at Naomi’s response to great loss in Ruth 1:20, “And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.” Naomi means Pleasant. Mara means Bitter.
Yesterday was our nineteenth wedding anniversary. We celebrated by going to the eye doctor and then out to lunch. While at the eye doctor we had to evacuate the building because of a gas leak. It was in the thirties I believe. Wow, what a trip that turned out to be. The doctor felt horrible for us all as we sat in our vehicles waiting for the all clear. We could have been very upset at this inconvenience; but, with us it was just another day of adventure. Because of this incident my wife was able to take a very important phone call that she would have missed otherwise. We were able to hold hands and pray immediately for an urgent request. I was glad for the inconvenience.
Sometimes God uses unpleasant circumstances to get us where He wants us to be. I don’t always pass the test with flying colors. Sometimes I fail miserably. We need to step back from our pride and arrogance so that we can see that God is working in our lives and He has brought things about for a reason.
Parents of children with special needs should learn this too. So many times we feel like God is doing this to us. In all actuality, He is doing this for us. When we endure these tough situations we become better or bitter. If we can go through the storms of life with Christ leading us then we will be better. Otherwise we just come out bitter. Nobody wants to be around a bitter person. People who are like Jesus attract others. God help me!
Look at Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” or Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
The other night my wife was baking brownies and cookies for me to take to the mission when I preach. We love this opportunity for service. She always makes brownies, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies and a third kind of cookies. The men in the shelter love the homemade goodies. They are such a blessing.
The reason that this comes to mind is because when she made the peanut butter cookies she called our son into the kitchen. He went running in there with no outbursts or anger. She gave him a fork and he mashed down the cookies with the fork as you are supposed to do. Then she turned the cookies forty-five degrees and he began to mash them all again with no frustration at all. However, instead of being a basket weave pattern it became more of an arrowhead pattern. This is outstanding! It is a huge accomplishment for him. We praise God for these little victories as they make the tough days just a tiny bit easier to struggle through.
As I thought about our son and his accomplishments, I began to realize that as he marked the peanut butter cookies; so, he is marked. I do not mean this to sound mean or demeaning; but, God has marked him. He is one of God’s special creations. God knew before the foundation of the world that our son would be one of those who live the life of autism. Unfortunately, people do not always see this about people like our son. It is sad. They are seen as weird or crazy and even worse they are seen as some kind of monsters. I pity the fool that thinks this way!
Look at Galatians 6:17, “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” So, friend, what are your marks?
My father and I are not really close. I am really jealous of a great friend of mine. When he greets or says goodbye to his dad they hug and they even still give a little kiss on the cheek.
When I was asked to preach at a Pastor’s fellowship meeting I could not hardly think about what to share. What do you share with those who as one man said, “know it all”. You know what he meant. I finally settled on the parable of the prodigal son. I picked this not because of the son or even his bitter brother. God showed me in this account the true love of a father. Tears of joy flooded my cheeks in waves.
Look at Luke 15:20, “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”
When the son returned his father had to be watching for him because he was spotted “a great way off”. Then when his son gave his speech of repentance the father just called for a robe, a ring, shoes and a celebration in which the fatted calf lost out. Not only that; but, the father against Jewish traditions “ran” to his son. Then he grabbed him up, hugged him and kissed him. My friend, if that isn’t love then I don’t know what is.
If you want to see true love in action look at the cross. There Christ died to save us and demonstrate His love for us.