My precious wife, Susan, is, without doubt, a gift from the Lord. We’ve been married two years, nine months and I learn new reasons every day to love her more …. But of late our Lord Jesus is also revealing just how much I need Sue in my life. Let me stray a bit and tell you a brief story that will illustrate this fact.
Susan, feeling the pressures of her work with seniors, planned to take a week off this fall to refresh, relax and recharge her batteries or, as she put it, “catch her breath.” Three or four of her days off we planned to spend at a cabin on lake Coeur d’ Alene, here in north Idaho. Lake CDA, as I’ve heard, was once named one of the five most beautiful lakes in the world. I was unable to verify that as fact with an internet search, although I’m sure you would agree once you see the lake. The scenery, the quiet, the lake itself certainly lives up to this description, as we found during our three day stay at the cabin.
But there was a problem. A large part of the lake has sharp drops from highway 97 to the water. These steep descents forced those who owned small pieces of property around the lake to build their lodges and cabins as though glued to the steep landscape. “Stilt houses” I call them because the front deck on most cabins hangs out over the steep hillside below and is supported with long 4 x 4s or 6 x 6s!
The cabin we rented for our three-day retreat was no different, built on the steep hillside and accessible by a long set of stairs. Suitcases, food, bedding, coffee maker (and its water supply) as well as six or eight other necessities were all carried down to the getaway from the car via 57 steep steps over three or four trips. Once settled in, we found that there was a second, even-steeper descent from the cabin to the lake itself where we had to negotiate an additional 35-plus steps; the last eight or so of these being hand laid stone with no handrail; wet stone I might add.
To make a point, I am no spring chicken. (Okay, so I’m an old turkey!) I am 73 and quite out of shape. A fact born out by my encounter with the stairs! I am always cautious where and how I walk, especially up or down steps, because of a crippled left foot and a balance problem due to neuropathy in my feet from an old accident. Add to this the weakness in my legs from little exercise and, well, you get the picture.
Two trips from the truck to the cabin plus one to the dock Saturday afternoon would have drained my tank. But then a trip back up to the truck for the coffee maker Sunday morning and one down to the dock for an hour or so of fishing took me far beyond my limit.
Every step of the way my Susan was there doing her share of helping and carrying, as well as shouldering about half of my share. With each step I took she was close, doting over me, reaching a helping hand to pull me up, keep me steady, help me down or carry part of my load. And then when the inevitable did come, where my legs gave out and I sank to a knee on the stone steps or when on the steep stairs as we prepared to head home the third day, she was there, as an angel sent from above, to help me up. I shudder to think of the dilemma I would have been in had I been alone on those steep steps or descending the stone stairs by the lake those times when my old legs gave out.
So what is our life about as we go on together, step by step, reaching a helping hand to each other? It’s about God’s plan and purpose for us to live together as husband and wife, as one, blessed by our Lord. It’s about the simple joy of my opening the car door for her and taking her hand to help her out, or any of the other little things I am privileged to do for her to support her and show her I love her. It’s about gentle acts of kindness and love. It’s about honoring our Lord.
It’s about her helping me work my way up the steps at the cabin, or any so-called steep steps I might encounter under any other circumstances I would have faced alone in life. But now I have a new best friend, a sweetheart, a wife … whose name is Susan.
Hey Guys, take a hint. Get up off the couch, turn the TV off and ask your sweetheart what you can do to help her. Ladies, let him help, then return the favor. Maybe you should ignore him when he says (with manly pride) “It’s okay, I can get it!” Maybe he can and then again, maybe he can’t. Work as a team. When you do, all of life can be like a vacation at the lake.
In Josh McDowell’s Youth Devotional for October 16, 2013, (www.josh.org) titled “Help to make it through,” (based on Galatians 6:1-5), he speaks about our need for three distinct types of helping hands; comfort, support and encouragement. In marriage, Christ has brought a husband and his wife together specifically to be the unique individual who knows their mate best, therefore the person through whom our Lord is able to comfort our hurting heart, support us when in physical need and encourage us as our cheer leader, as we weather the storms of life together, step by step.
Never live a day without asking Jesus to be in the center of your marriage as a permanent part of your life together, lending each of you a helping hand through your mate.
Lord bless until next time.
Addendum: Novels by Carl Peters, available on Amazon Kindle, above right:
Victory – Heroes are sometimes found in the most unusual places. Victory is the short story about a boy’s daydreams and how he learned “the secret formula of how to make his dreams come true” … from a most unusual friend. Victory is an animated fantasy adventure for the whole family.
The Tallest Angel – The inspirational family adventure novel based on the short story, Victory. This family story takes over where Victory ends, that is, AFTER RICHIE WAKES UP from his dream adventure! A fun story, part real life, part Disney-like animated fantasy, woven together to surely charm the kid in each of us.
Solo – A twenty-four year old Christian woman, Joy, is tempted to stray from her Lord. But through a series of unique, heaven-sent events she is befriended by Paul, an older man who steps in as the father figure Joy has not had for nine years. As their father – daughter friendship develops, Paul gives Joy much-needed wholesome Christian advice about life and marriage.
Transgression – Definitely an edgy John Grisham type novel. The story of a sinful preacher and the terrible consequences his sin brings upon his church family. The amazing part of this story is how the Lord eventually brings a silver lining out of the darkest storm clouds. This story is powerful, at times overwhelming, yet gentle in its application of God’s truths.