I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Mark 10:9 “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Actually, they were my aunt and uncle. I called them Mom and Dad because they raised me from the time that I was three months old. They met while working at a hotel in Sturgis Michigan in June of 1940. Three weeks later, they were married. My oldest sister, Sally was born in 1941. Later, because of Americas entry into world war II, my Dad went into the navy and served in the Paciffic. He was on a supply ship and, as a result, never saw actual combat. He had albums full of pictures that had been taken on various islands following major combat operations. I was always amazed that all of the palm trees were blown away from about 4 ft up. Tree stumps everywhere, in nearly every picture.
He returned home as things were winding down and returned to work at the White Pigeon Paper Mill. My sister, Sandy was born at the leading edge of the “baby-boomer” generation in 1946 Later on, they opened up a greenhouse/pet shop which my folks both operated while Dad continued working nearly 7 days a week at the paper mill. In 1965, they were granted legal custody of me at a time when their youngest daughter was 18 and thoughts of not having to raise kids would normally have been a reality. They willingly took on this commitment, and as a result, I had two of the best parents that one could ask for.
In all of my years, my folks were always very busy. In 1974, they sold the properety in White Pigeon, closed the greenhouse, and moved to Constantine to continue operating my Grandpas farm. (He passed away in 1970) We raised cattle initially, but later changed over to swine as the profit margins were greater and the turnover was faster. (I don’t know why I’m going ito all of this) Dad retired from the paper mill in 1982 after 42 years of service and full time farming, his longtime dream, became a reality.
In their later years, my folks were finally able to do some travelling. I was happy for them as they had been tied down for as long as I could remember. In 2000, my Mom lost a battle with liver cancer, and this past December, my Dad passed away at a nursing facility in Sturgis. They had met as teenagers, married three weeks later, and remained together for sixty years.
During the time that I was a kid, they would have some incredible squabbles over nothing that would at times last for two or three days. They seemed to have their own way of “handling things” The sheer numbers of these arguements became less after moving to the farm but would still pop up and I often thought to myself, “this might be the final showdown.” They remained together through it all. They really loved each other “for better or for worse” despite not always seeing eye to eye.
Today, such stories of commitment are nearly unheard of. Folks will often “live together” or will “try out” this marriage thing. If it doesn’t work out, they split up and an astronomical divorce rate is the result. A landscape filled with single parent households, or grandparents raising their grandkids because the parents “have a life.” I know of such situations personally. Ours has become a self-serving, instant gratification society. Kimberly and I will have been maried fifteen years on March 28. It’s amazing that we know of very few who have been together this long. The way that I look at my parents steadfast commitment in amazement, people look at us in similar fashion. We have very defined differences concerning ideas, but we love each other, we love the kids, and “for better or for worse” means exactly that. Any relationship is what you make of it and any one of them will require work and steadfastness.
Our older son Matthew has autism. I have heard folks say to me “I don’t know how you can handle it. I couldn’t do it.” Well the truth is you just do what has to be done. He has special needs, but he has a personality that’s undeniably “Matthew.” I pray for him much and my desire is that he would be deliverd from this, but you still work through things and you love the Lord Jesus; no matter what. Commitment means being there regardless of the advice of those around you who watch from afar. (This post has absolutely nothing to do with what I was originally going to talk about. This is one of those “here it is just run with it” mornings.)
Lamentations 3:22-23 “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
What a comforting scripture. When I think back at all of the times that I’ve failed the Lord it truly is amazing that he has still put up with me. It is incredible that Jesus really is able to save us to the uttermost, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for us. Gods mercies are new every morning as verse 23 states. The more that you think about it, the more incredible it becomes. He sees everything from an eternal standing, and he remembers our frame.
I John 2:1-3 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”
We don’t have a licence to openly live in rebellion. If we love the Lord, we’ll desire to live for him. Folks outside of the faith look at us oftentimes with a “don’t do this” or “can’t do that” mentality and in the process, miss the entire picture. When you love someone, you desire to please them. When you are born again, the old desires begin to go away; replaced by an everlasting love that never wains. A fellowship with the Almighty that will carry you through the darkest valley or the most trying of situations. A peace that the world can never give and can never take away.
I Peter 4:19 “Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
He remains faithful. Jesus truly is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. I’ll be wrapping this up, but I just wanted to think about things concerning commitment in an age when many seem to be only committed to themselves. I would encourage all who know the Lord Jesus to not allow any form of discouragement or anything in this world to cause wavering. We’re all in this present evil world together but we have our affections set on the world to come. I was originally going to talk about Hebrews chapter 11 this morning, and so I’ll close with this passage from the “hall of faith” chapter.
Hebrews 11:8-10 “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he would after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
One more thought came to me as I was typing that in. A city “with foundations” The works of our hands, regardless of how great their physical foundations may be, will not abide forever. The city whose maker is God “hath foundations.” It will never pass away. Now I need another closing verse.
Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”