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A dying wife; a praying husband

By John A Carroll

Week 36 in the Word—September 3-9, 2021

An old friend called this week. We met when I was in college, a young Christian. He was the regional director for the Navigator campus ministries in the eastern United States. A couple years later, I had graduated, and he and his wife were moving to East Africa as missionaries. For three months, I had the privilege of assisting my friend with administrative duties as he and his wife and two children prepared to move. During those few months, I lived in their home and spent my days helping the soon-to-be missionary family in their big transition.

One of my memories of that time is the daily family devotions around the breakfast table. There was prayer and reading from My Utmost for His Highest the classic work of Oswald Chambers. I learned the importance of taking a verse or even part of a verse and reflecting on the wise guidance it gives to our walk as disciples following Jesus Christ.

It has been over half a century since those days. My friend lives five states away and we have not seen each other much since he went to Africa and Mary and I went to Argentina, but I remember his love for the Bible and his gentle manner of listening and caring for me and everyone he met. He embodied Christlikeness more than anyone I have known.

Then, on Monday he called me to say hello and to catch up. He is now 87 years old. His wife has dementia and is in a memory care facility. He goes to see her every day. She still knows him. They spend each day reading, singing, talking, and praying together. Eight to ten hours. Every day. You can tell he still loves her beyond words. “I could talk half the day about how wonderful she is and has been over the 60 years and 4 months of our marriage!” he exclaimed.

Then he said words I hope I will never forget, “John, I just pray that God will allow me to live long enough to lay her into the arms of Jesus.”

What tender love! What unshakable faith that at death Jesus will be waiting to receive her soul and that all will be well with her forever! That is his prayer. She was his faithful partner in missions and ministry, the mother of their three children.

For every couple, the road of life eventually reaches a fork where they part ways. One goes on. One stays behind continuing the way. Believers are convinced that they will be reunited on the other side.

Our time is coming. Meanwhile, let us love our family and friends fully and pursue the knowledge of God through another week in His Word. We will begin with the “Love Chapter” (I Corinthians 13).

[Note: stock photos are used here and are not of the actual people mentioned].

Week of September 3-9, 2021

September 3/Day 246 The Practice of Love (Proverbs 3-4; 1 Corinthians 13)

September 4/Day 247 The Mature Thinker (Proverbs 5-6; I Corinthians 14:1-20)

September 5/Day 248 The Paths to Life and Death (Proverbs 7-8; I Corinthians 14:21-40)

September 6/Day 249 Choosing Your Preacher (Proverbs 9-10; I Corinthians 15:1-32)

September 7/Day 250 The Man of Dust; the Man of Heaven (Proverbs 11-12; I Corinthians 15:33-58)

September 8/Day 251 The Importance of Giving to the Poor (Proverbs 13-14; I Corinthians 16)

September 9/Day 252 No Exceptions (Proverbs 15-16; II Corinthians 1)

This schedule and devotionals are taken from my book Concealed and Revealed: a year in the old and new testaments. Available here.

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