Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lessons of Life

Life is one big classroom.

This can be especially true when it comes to the institution of marriage. Every season seems to bring unique challenges to learn something new. For example, you discovered early on in your "marital bliss" that you are not as unselfish as you thought. Some personal habits of your mate became personal conflicts and you had to learn what it meant to compromise.

Some lessons we have to learn over and over again. Like commitment or being true to your word. As a married couple you took vows. The essence of those vows is that you commit to learning and growing together. For many husbands, an ongoing lesson is that words are not enough. We can take our wives and their needs for granted. We need to learn to love them practically and creatively. For wives it might be the ongoing challenge to respect and submit. When a wife becomes too focused on what might be lacking in her husband it can hinder her ability to see the strengths he does bring.

When do we stop learning?

I'm in a lesson learning or relearning mood lately. My mom died a few weeks ago and it is still fresh in my mind and heart. Dad preceded her by about 12 years. They are both gone. Their earthly marriage is over. At the same time there is an elderly couple in our church and the husband is perhaps in his final weeks or months of life. What lessons have they learned that will carry them through this final season. They have been married over 50 years and I have had the privilege of watching them and listening to them. The have learned some precious lessons in life.

Two of the many lessons they have been teaching me is that life is precious and brief. They are working even harder now to make the most of the moments and days the Lord has left for them. She knows she will be saying goodbye so she wants to reaffirm those vows she took many years ago. "In sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, til death do us part." They have learned and relearned those vows over the years so they can rest in that love even now.

The other lesson that comes screaming through is their quiet confidence in Jesus. He indeed has been their foundation. In life and now in death they have learned that their hope is not primarily in their marital love but in the love of Christ. There is sorrow and fear but there is also faith.

They are learning anew what they learned many years ago. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me..." Psalm 23:4 "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

May we be couples who learn the gospel. Over and Over again. And may others see that our ultimate hope is in the one who never changes, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.