Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Man's Role; A Husband's Duty; A Father's Call

Romans 15:1 ASV - Now we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

To think that we are so far along in this journey, is a far thought from where we started. It is hard to imagine that we now have only four treatments of the Taxol chemotherapy left and for the most part we have been moving right along. My beautiful bride continues to blow me away with the way that she constantly carries herself through this trial. Proverbs 14:30 NIV - A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. I doubt that I have ever seen a heart that has been more at peace than my beloved's during this time. She has had every excuse, if there are such, to compare herself to peers, wishing that it was not her that had to go through this. She could be saying 'why isn't my life like her's?'; instead I have never seen her more alive. I will never forget that first night we found out that it was cancer: the pain, the emotion, the uncertainty. And yet, through all of that I got to hear my wife pray as though she were Paul in Romans 9:1-3. I recall her sweet heart in tears praying 'Oh, Lord,  if this cancer would bring people to you, even if it brings just one, then give me cancer a thousand times over.' As tears filled my eyes, joy filled my heart; I don't think I have ever been more astounded by her beauty than at that moment. What a Gem of a wife she is. 

Tuesdays are the days of chemotherapy and by the grace of God alone, Randi and I have gotten to serve Tuesday nights as marriage mentors through a ministry called Merge at our church. How she is able only a few short hours after treatment to give of herself in this way cannot be answered in the natural realm. 1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV - But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. Supernatural strength is so evident in her and I am so blessed by her. Through the class, one of the things that has been talked about is the role of a husband and it has caused me to think often of what my role has been through all of this. Psalm 128 has been a great reminder to me of the duty that I have been given, I hope it is a blessing to you as well:

Psalm 128:1-6 NIV - A song of ascents. 
Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. 
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. 
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. 
Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel.

Firstly, it is evident to me that this Psalm is for men, husbands, and fathers. I believe that it is a great vision of God's plan for us. Blessing will be upon me if I fear the Lord. The fear of the Lord can be defined in Proverbs 8:13 NIV - To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. I must so hate evil that I would choose to walk in the truth. This is my responsibility first and foremost as a man. I must lead myself before I am able to lead anyone else and it must be done in righteousness. 1 Timothy 4:7b NASB - Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; Who I follow, is who they follow if they follow me.

Secondly, I notice that I will eat the fruit of my labor. I believe that this can be applied in the confines of work but given the context, I believe that the fruit is shown foremost in the familial relationships. Galatians 6:7 NASB - Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. In other words, this thing of being a man, husband and father is hard work, but blessings and prosperity in those relationships will be mine if I am willing to labor for it.

Thirdly, my wife will be like a fruitful vine within my house. Joy is often symbolized in the Bible with wine, but good wine takes good grapes. These grapes must be grown, crushed, and aged. Good grapes only come from a good vine, and a good vine requires a good vine-dresser.  A vine does not grown in the dirt, it must be elevated above all that. I as a husband, must elevate my wife, honor her and take her higher than the dirt of this world. A good vine must also have something to cling to. I as a husband must be her strength, be what she clings to no matter the storms or droughts that come her way. Genesis 2:24 KJV - Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. A good vine needs water and nutrition as well as to keep the pests away. I as a husband must be the provider and protector of my wife. I need to keep the pests away (Song of Songs 2:15 NIV - Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.) and I need to provide for her everything necessary to grow. Lastly, for a vine to grow, it must be in the right climate. I have heard it said this way: As a husband, I have the choice as to be a Thermometer or a Thermostat. I can either report what the temperature is, or I can set the temperature of our relationship. In other words, I must Act as a husband, instead of Reacting like a fool. Oh, when I have done these things well I have tasted the sweet joy of marriage, no matter what has come to crush my bride, she is my fine wine: only getting better with age!

Now if I lead myself well, and I lead my wife well, then my children will be like olive shoots around the table. It is my understanding that an olive plant takes about 15 years to produce fruit and then can produce fruit for more than a hundred years after. It is a sobering thought to me that I only have 13-16 more years with my sweet daughter. How important it is to be "around the table" with her, to be involved in her life. My prayer is that she can grow up to be as much like her mother as she can be, for then she will be an astounding woman.

If I am able to lead well in these areas, I shall be blessed beyond belief. Through this journey of cancer, it has been my hope and sincere desire to be that man, that husband, and that father. As my family knows all too well, I am not perfect in this, I just know the One that is. Proverbs 24:16 NLT - The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked. I have seen in my life that success comes in getting up again, even when I fail and fall. So grateful that God is not done with me yet. Is there anything keeping you down? If God was able to raise the dead, then there is nothing that can stop you from getting up in His power.

In the last two verses of Psalm 128, I see mentioned Zion, which can be representative for the church (Hebrews 12:22-23), Jerusalem, which is representative of a city, and Israel, which is a representation of a country. In other words, God's economy and master plan is summed up in this Psalm. If we want a blessed country, it must be made up of blessed cities. If we want a blessed city, it must be made up of blessed churches. If we want a blessed church, it must be made up of blessed families. If we want a blessed family, it must have a blessed wife & children. If we want a blessed wife and children, we must have a blessed Man: Psalm 128:4 NIV - Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.

Oh, Lord, to be this man! God, would you walk with me and guide me so that no matter what comes my way, my wife's way, my children's way, my church's way, my city's way or my nation's way, I would be blessed; that I would be that man. May I live in such a way that everywhere I am, it is life-giving.

This has been the truth that has guided me so far through this journey. It has been my ideal through the ordeal; it has been my standard to carry in this war. What are you fighting with? What is your goal? May today be the day that we as men would live out our calling in this world that is falling. On this Father's Day and everyday, may we live out what David wrote to Solomon on his deathbed:

1 Kings 2:2-3 NIV - "I am about to go the way of all the earth," he said. "So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these incredible messages. Our God is great!! "Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:12