Still Waters is a Christian blog.
A place where you will find rest for your weary soul.
Here you will find sound Biblical teaching and pages filled with prayer requests and updates on the persecuted church around the world and the missionaries in those various places.
My desire to is present solid Bible-based teaching for the soul weary and to remember the Christians around the world who are being persecuted for their faith.
Friday, September 23, 2011
How to Get Joy When Your Spouse is Dying (An Answer to Pat Robertson) True Worldview from Dr. Paul Dean
Perhaps no recent statement has better captured so glaringly the bent
of our culture than Pat Robertson’s advice to a man whose wife has
Alzheimer’s: “he should divorce her and start all over again.” This
counsel has generated great outrage and much scrutiny to be sure. But it’s that same cruel sentiment of self-centeredness
that underlies most of the decisions we make and attitudes we take in
this culture as a whole and in our everyday lives as individuals. All
Robertson has done is to reveal just how much we’ve bought into the
spirit of the age without realizing it. If you stand in the rain long
enough, you’ll get soaked. And what’s worse, not only have we bought
into the self-centered spirit of the age, even if we’re appalled by
Robertson’s statement as we should be, it’s our captivity to that spirit
that robs us of real joy when we are going through a tragic time in our lives.
It was a man seeing another woman because his wife has Alzheimer’s
that prompted the question Robertson was answering. Such
self-centeredness is not unusual when dealing with an ailing or dying
spouse. In twenty years of pastoral ministry, I’ve seen the good, the
bad, and the ugly, and there’s a lot of ugly in these kinds of
circumstances. This man has abandoned his wife through adultery and
Robertson has advised him to abandon her through divorce. But I’ve seen
others abandon their spouses by sticking them in nursing homes and
forgetting about them, by ignoring them in their greatest moments of
need, by getting on with their lives and leaving the care of their
life-partners to others, by refusing to spend time with them or visit
them if they have to be in a health-care facility of some kind, by
expressing anger and frustration at them for things beyond their
control, by not seeking to understand what’s going on with their ailing
loved ones or
how to deal with it in a caring way, and so much more.
I had a woman tell me some time back she couldn’t give her husband
his much needed medication during the night because she needed her
sleep. How much sleep does a new mother get? A man told me he didn’t
want his wife coming home from the hospital for some recuperation before
an upcoming surgery because he didn’t want to have to physically help
her out of bed two or three times a day. Inability is one thing but
unwillingness is something else. And these sentiments are not that
uncommon; that’s the cultural air we breathe.
We’re told in the Scriptures that “in the last days perilous times
will come: for men will be lovers of themselves” (2 Tim. 3:1-2). When a
Christian minister tells a man to forsake his vows before God and
abandon his wife in her greatest hour of need, we do indeed live in
perilous times; we do indeed love ourselves more than God and others.
And that is exactly the wrong way to find peace and joy: to focus on
self and abandon God and others.
Such focus is the complete opposite of the gospel. Robertson said
this man’s wife with Alzheimer’s was dead to him. The gospel tells us
that God loved us when we were unlovable. He demonstrated His great love
for us by dying for us while we were dead to Him (Rom.
5:8). And marriage is a picture of the gospel and Christ’s love for His
bride, the church; He will never leave us or forsake us. To forsake
your spouse is to deny the very thing marriage is to display: God’s
unfailing love for His people. It is to deny the reality of God Himself.
Think about this: what puts God’s character and power on display
more: abandoning one’s wife because he’s not happy (for obviously God
wants us to be happy); or giving all you have to care for your wife
because she can’t care for herself? But here’s an equally significant
question: from where does real joy come? Doesn’t it come from glorifying
God; from putting His character on display and finding your
satisfaction in Him? Jesus is the true water that satisfies (Jn. 4:10);
the true bread that alleviates your hunger (Jn. 6:51); and the true
treasure in the field (Matt. 13:44). In Him is pleasure forever (Ps.
Does joy come in chasing personal pleasures at the expense of others?
Is there ultimate peace in that? Does one lay up treasure in heaven by
chasing after a new woman because he’s tired of the old one? Ponder
carefully these words: “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused
to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer
affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of
sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures
in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (Heb. 11:24-26). That’s (how you
find joy when your spouse is dying: you trust the promises and God and
live them out; you know and believe that chasing personal pleasure at
the expense of God and others brings only a momentary happiness; you
know and believe that even suffering under the providential care of
Christ is better than the temporary pleasure of sin; and you keep your
eyes on the reward which is Christ Himself and l
ife (joy) in Him long after your momentary suffering is over.
Our culture has sold us a lie. Is it really all about me? Isn’t this
self-focus rooted in evolutionary thought; in survival of the fittest
(me)? Isn’t abandoning your spouse with Alzheimer’s because, as
Robertson says, “she’s gone” the same logic as the promoters of abortion
use? They argue an unborn, and depending upon whose making the
argument, even a live-born baby isn’t able to operate at the same mental
level as you or me and is therefore not a fully-functioning person and
is therefore able to be discarded without any moral consequences. If
inconvenient babies can be aborted, why can’t inconvenient spouses be
abandoned? Such is the lie Satan is selling in clever disguise in the
thousand ways we are selfish every day. God says the way to find joy is
to do nothing “through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of
mind, consider others better than yourself. Look out not only for your
own interests, but also fo
r the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in
Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:3-5).
My wife told me the other day if I was stricken by something
catastrophic that she would not abandon me. If she had to help me out of
bed she would do her best. She said we might hit the floor together but
she would be there for me. I would do the same for her. Not caring for
her would never enter my mind. None of us want to have to go through
these things, but if my wife and I have to for one reason or another,
and we end up hitting the floor together, what a day of joy that will be
– because we’ll be living out the gospel – together.