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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Your Dying Spouse 25 - Does God Play Favourites? {Five Minute Friday}

It's time for Five Minute Friday, hosted by the brilliant and humble Kate Motaung (and yes, she's one of my favourite people...how did you guess?)

We're also linked with Wedded Wednesday this week. Please drop by there for some really great marriage resources!

Fittingly, today's word is...FAVOURITE.

Let's go.

As a caregiver, there are times when you're going to be...well, not angry at God, but certainly resentful.

It feels like he's playing favourites, and you're not on the list.

Other couples in your generation your social circle, are planning for ream vacations, planning for retirement together, are enjoying the love of children and grandchildren and the satisfaction of a life well-lived.

And you're on your way to the doctor's office, for some more bad news.

You may want to scream, "What's going ON, God? What did we do to rate this?"

What did I do, to be in the prime of my life, and to have to be a spiritual anchor for the person I love...and I have to watch him die, bit by bit.

I have to watch the pain build, to be countered by medications that induce Zombiehood.

I have to see things that we could enjoy together...something as simple as a night out at the movies, a restaurant dinner, a walk around the block...fade into History.

WHY?

The truth is that God does not play favourites, no matter what people like Joel Osteen say about "having God's favour" in getting good parking spots on the Saturday before Christmas at the mall.

It's not the favour of God that Creflo Dollar (a TV preacher) got his followers to pitch in to buy him a new private jet. The old one just didn't have that new-jet smell any more.

And it's not the disfavour of God that you are holding the head of the person you love most out of the toilet, as his body strains to rid itself of the meagre meal he could force down.

It's just life. God's Son was tortured to death, and the people you'd expect to be next-in-line as favourites - the Apostles - were cruelly murdered as well (with the exception of John, who was merely banished to an island).

People want to read feel-good theology into the Bible (or into whatever religion of philosophy they follow), something that rewards a 'good life' with good stuff.

But it's wishful thinking. If you're a Christian, you're promised...wait for it...your very own Cross.

And you're promised a Love that will see you through, if you will lean into it.

And you're promised a life beyond this one, in which all the tears are wiped away, and the sorrows erased.

God's not picking on you, nor has He 'picked' you for this very horrible trial.

He just loves you, and wants to help you bear the hurt, if you'll let Him.

Because you're His favourite.

Endex.

How'd I do?

We're also linked with The Weekend Brew.

28 comments:

  1. You did fabulous! And, I couldn't agree more. Joel Osteen is full of promises that he can't fulfill, but it keeps his teeth white and shiny.

    "He just loves you, and wants to help you bear the hurt, if you'll let Him.
    Because you're His favourite."

    And? You're using my favourite spelling of that word. I can practially hear C.S. Lewis reading your post to me. (Well, Anthony Hopkins, actually, when he portrayed Mister Lewis)

    I am so sorry that you have had to hold that sweet, darling head above the porcelain as his body fights and fights and doesn't get a break.

    But, I love, love, love your post!

    You two have such hope pouring out, even in the bleakest of seasons.
    Each post moves me to tears, and I thank you for it.

    Love,
    Tammy
    (tammysincerity)
    #5 this week

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    1. Thanks, Tammy - and I love C.S. Lewis too. Anthony Hopkins did a GREAT job.

      And yes, there is always hope, even when it all seems so wrecked, so hopeless, because we have the example of the Man whom the tomb just could not hold.

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  2. Andrew, what a great post. I so appreciate the vulnerability and the fearlessness of asking, "WHY?" But, remembering that, even if God doesn't choose to answer, He does choose to be with each of us through life's hard because He loves us. He doesn't pick one favourite (like my spelling? :) ), all His kids are His favourite. I'm continuing to pray for you, my friend.

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    1. Yes, we're all his favourites (and I do like your spelling!).

      We're each of us as precious to Him as His own Son.

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  3. Great job. You managed to squeeze a whole lot of hope into this. As I read I could feel the strength of truth and mercy meet in what God's word says. Thank you for sharing your words.

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    1. Thank you, Chara...truth and mercy, combined...that's what God,and life, are all about.

      Thank you for being here!

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  4. Yay! I knew I'd find a 'favourite' friend who spells it right!! Amen - again, thanks for keeping us honest... and for pressing on through all the pain with such kindness, consideration and grace.

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    1. That's the ONLY way to spell it!

      And thank you, Ruth, for your kind and gracious presence here.

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  5. Andrew, I always love your raw vulnerability in the words you write. It is so hard not to ask Why or to question if we matter at all to Him as we go through life's trials. I'm so grateful that He is big enough to let us question and to hear the questions and to answer them in the way that is right and good and perfect for us...even when we don't see it. Thanks for being such an example of trust and faith.

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    1. Thank you so much, Holly. It IS good to have a bif=g God...even when He calls us to be bigger than we think we can be.

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  6. Your posts are always favourites of mine. So many blessings to you, Andrew. #40 FMF

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    1. Thank you, Susan! You made my day!

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  7. I think your words are raw and honest, Andrew. There aren't easy answers, are there? God is big and vast and His ways, as much as we wonder over them, are higher than ours. So grateful for that promise of eternity with no more tears and sorrow. So exceedingly glad that He holds us up and gives us the strength for one more day. Blessed to be here from FMF today.

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    1. Thanks, Tiffany. No,none of the answers are easy, and sometimes it can be hard to even know what the real question is.

      And thank you for being here; your presence means a lot to me, and I appreciate your thoughts.

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  8. My bro, I am enjoying reading and trust that the Lord will let you finish (sorry everyone else as we digress). I relate to this one thing - journalising kept me from going insane. I advocate it as a really useful therapy for anyone in crisis. For me it acquired a life of its own and I couldn't stop. It filled me with a fire that would not die down even when I gave it all back to Him. Seek that fire, that higher cause and purpose that will not just tell your story, but touch your world.

    At some stage I had to let go of my subjectivity and capture the stories of so many others. My own story always had an elusive and tantalizing mystery yet to be unfolded and I think that is starting to happen - its this: when I married, my motives were things like her looks and other practical virtues, but in time all of that will fade away, grey and age, until all that remains is all that ever mattered: a love that endured. Crisis has awakened me to that in God, for as everything fell away and we lost and lost again, we tested His love and questioned, until it was all we had ... and then it was all we needed.

    Moses said, "He crowns our years with his loving-kindness". Out of the cauldron of struggle, a light shines, a hope that transcends all that is temporal in this life ... and then we find peace at last in knowing that this spiritual journey only ever had one goal - not dogma, theology, service or whatever we tend to emphasize. It is the unfolding realization of the greatest love story ever, the knowledge that for reasons I will never grasp, God actually loves us so dearly that He traded His son for us ... when you can transcend the seeming unfairness and contradictions of suffering and finally surrender to that love, very little else will matter any more.

    I will keep reading.

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    1. Pete, you said this beautifully..."the unfolding realization of the greatest love story ever".

      YES!

      Thank you for bringing this, and adding so much depth to this post.

      I'm glad you'll keep reading, and I hope you'll keep commenting. Your insight is awesome. Truly.

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  9. Overwhelmed with this, Andrew. Please give your wife a hug for me. And take one for yourself.

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    1. Hug delivered, Sandra - Barbara said thanks...and she teared up. She needed it.

      This is really all for her, and for people like her. In writing this, in this journey, I have come to realize that the caregiver is the one who hurts the most, by far.

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  10. As always, Andrew, your words give us pause to reflect over what you say...I don't think anybody can really KNOW from where you speak, unless they themselves are in that same place. I cannot say "I understand" because I don't! All I can do is say that - what you have said about favourites is true! We ARE all His favourites...He reaches His arms down to each and every one of us to hold us when we need His arms wrapped around us. He showers us with many blessings, when we feel we have nothing. He lights the way for our path, wherever we may be treading; and puts us on the right path when we stray.

    And to repeat your last two lines: "He just loves you, and wants to help you bear the hurt, if you'll let Him. Because you're His favourite."

    Yes, IF we will let Him! He IS there to help bear the hurt - and the illness; and the sorrow; and whatever else we may need from Him...and I am here to continue to follow, and to pray with you and Barbara; and to send out a cyber hug to each of you...I pray you feel those prayers and hugs that I send to each of you.

    Stay brave, friends...

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    1. Yes, we are ALL his favourites...he made each of us specially, and with His Great Love.

      It hurts Him so, when we turn away and hurt ourselves in trying to go it alone!

      We'll be brave, with God, and with the support an prayers of friends like you.

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  11. Oh how we all have asked that question "Why?" This post is full of so much vulnerability and truth. Those last sentences are so good. Promised a love if we lean into it etc. Stay strong and brave friend!

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    1. Thank you so much, Tara. It is sometimes hard to be brave, but I only have to look over my shoulder, and I see the legions of friends, dear angels...and God.

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  12. Drew I love your writing and have gone back to the start of this series. It reminds me so much of my own journey. It was just a daily journal or blog, but God's spirit took hold of it and made it more.
    I wrote on human crisis, so did you. In these times, that may be the most relevant message. I cannot and dare not take advantage of your struggle, but I do sense this that He does His finest work in our deepest sorrows. He may or may not heal, but as long as you are going through hell, be like David and walk it. Indeed, his walk came with a regular journal of Psalms that still use his voice to comfort the majority of believers. David's lowest time was his highest, and this, this hard time you are in, may be your greatest chapter.
    As Graham Hess shouted to his brother Merrill in the film "Signs", I say, "Swing away Andrew, swing away". I have watched runners crawl over a finishing line and I encourage you to take your word-craft and humour across that line, whether you walk or crawl the last miles. Look up and have hope, for you may never know how your courage under fire will touch lives in similar straits, long after you are crowned in glory.
    Don't feel pressured by time to limit it to a blog, put death and God on hold by taking it further and commit to a serious non-fiction endeavour (but keep blogging as you go). I can only say that writing like that kept me from going off my mind and it is starting to instil a deeper peace and surrender in my life. I value you bro and want to see more.

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    1. Pete, if any of my struggle can help you, in your life and writing...by all means, take advantage! That's what I'm here for.

      And I loved 'Signs'; surely one of the most faith-filled movies of all time.

      And oh, yes, it will be a book. I will stay the course, and crawl over that finish line. Like Tony Stewart in a NASCAR race a few years ago, I may coast over the finish line out of gas...but I'll get there.

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  13. I feel like there is this "softer, gentler Andrew" speaking in this post that, though I recognized this softer side of you in your other posts, feels like you must be in a better place emotionally and spiritually now. Am I right, Andrew? I do hope you are feeling more comforted, even as your pain accelerates. Thank you for always being so real, practical and inspirational, my friend, and my prayers for you continue daily.

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    1. Yes, Beth, you are right. As things have become physically worse, there has been an epiphany of sorts, a realization that I can be hard, and kind and gentle at the same time. Barbara commented on that yesterday, in fact.

      Thank you so much for the prayers. they are a light in the darkness that is sometimes oppressive and scary.

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  14. Hello Andrew, I missed this post. Well am here😀
    every true Christian goes through trials.
    The courage and strength to hold on at such times only comes from God.
    Trails don't mean God does not favor us as you pointed out.

    but they are meant for polishing and strengthening our faith. Our trails serve as a testimony to other believers.

    As you walk your road , God is with you....

    Kindest regards to your wife.
    God bless and strengthen you in Jesus name.

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    1. Ifeoma, thank you for being here, and please pardon my delay in replying. The past few days have been a bit tough.

      God is indeed with me, every day, and when I find it hard to walk, He holds me up, and gives me the strength to go on, to meet the next minute.

      And that is all I really have to do. Keep going for one minute more. Then I can CHOOSE, with His help, to face the next one.

      I will pass on your greetings to Barbara. She does appreciate them!

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