(We don't usually send out a message on Sunday, but the following is so fresh in heart and mind that I'd like to share it today. Also, while the following concerns someone else, writing it also made me think much of my dear friend Bill, who also experiences the circumstances mentioned, and who shows a similar devotion of grace. Glen)
First, Mr. Ray is the husband of Sara, a dear lady who has a form of dementia that has gradually separated much of this present world from her perception and consciousness. And, as time goes by, from Mr. Ray. He nevertheless treats and relates to her in the same love that I'm sure has graced their many, many decades together. He spends most of the day with her at the nursing care facility, attending to her every need, never leaving her side, and simply being with her. As I write these words, I can honestly say after many years of ministry in such facilities, I have never seen greater devotion, love, and sacrifice. As I told him this morning before our service, "Mr. Ray, you are the example to me of everything a husband is called to be."
In recent weeks, Ray and Sara have been able to attend our services because she grows increasingly quieter and more withdrawn. Before, Mr. Ray felt uncomfortable, believing that they would be a distraction. But now, they honor us with their presence. How they honor us! This has happened so often over the years, as countless people whose physical and mental impairments belie a richness of spirit, and of Christ. Indeed, Mr. Ray and Sarah are dedicated believers in the Lord Jesus, and in the days when they couldn't attend our services, I always rejoiced in the blessing I knew would ensue when he would tell me, "I'm praying that you'll have a good meeting."
This morning, I shared a message that began with my showing the congregation my mother's Bible. Her torn and ragged Bible, that is. It's literally in tatters, but I still use it sometimes in honor of her, and also because it illustrates a wonderful prophetic passage of Scripture concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.
"He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him" (Isaiah 53:2).
In His first coming, our Savior so veiled His glory that His own brethren did not know who He was (John 7:5). No form. No comeliness. No beauty. Sort of like my mother's Bible, God's written Word that seems to me perfectly reflective of the Lord Jesus during His earthly sojourn. I shared this thought in today's message, and here, Mr. Ray reenters the narrative. "Glen," he said as the service concluded, "You know, your mother's Bible may not be much on the outside. But it's beautiful on the inside!"
Yes it is, Mr. Ray. As are you, and as is the Spirit of the risen Lord Jesus who so beautifully shines in your heart, your hands, your devotion, and your love for your wife. I do not expect to see in this lifetime a greater expression of Christ walking in a husband, or of the sublime fulfillment of Scripture that you are to me, and now to many others who will read this...
"Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it."