A living sacrifice

September 11th, 2010

The true test of a servant is whether you act like one when you are treated like one.  ~IBLP

Nine years ago, my youngest brother and his wife were a few days away from getting married when the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists.  My dad had been asked to preach their wedding sermon.

I don’t know what he had been planning to preach about before the 11th, but on the 15th, he preached the most memorable wedding sermon I’ve ever heard.  I call it memorable because it’s the only one I remember out of the countless wedding sermons I have heard, including the one Dad preached for our wedding!

He acknowledged the amazing heroism that it takes to walk into life-threatening danger to save the lives of strangers.  It is noteworthy enough when someone gives their life for someone they love, let alone for someone they don’t even know.

But who would give up their life for their enemy?

Emerson Eggerichs, of Love and Respect fame, states that nobody gets married saying, “I hate you; you hate me; let’s get married.”

Joe and I have seen our share of marriages fall apart, often simply because at least one side is no longer willing to put up with the other side.  They have turned into enemies.  They will love and cherish almost anyone other than the spouse they have vowed to love and cherish. They would rather die than give up their way to that one enemy, their spouse.

There is more than one way to give up a life.  It is arguably easier to give up one’s life by dying in dramatic glory, than by laying down one’s life daily over long years of a difficult marriage.  Easier to make that split-second decision once, than to make it over and over and over again, many times a day, for year after unrewarding year, out of a deliberate choice to love their enemy.

Did you know that the divorce rate for parents of children with special needs is very high?  (Down syndrome alone has the opposite effect, but the more ongoing health needs a child has, the more strain is put on the parents’ relationship.)

Those who give up their lives daily, when the choice to back out is the easiest choice, are the truest heroes in my book.

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8 Responses to “A living sacrifice”

  1. Marilyn Osborn says:

    Great post!

  2. Stephanie Blanchard says:

    I agree!

  3. Joy Horton says:

    Absolutely!

  4. Andrea Mann says:

    Beautifully written.  One of mine and my husband’s commitments is to acknowledge we deal with, and grieve differently over Abigail’s health issues, and to refuse to let that cause angst between us!  Satan would like to use the pain that comes with this to cause strife, but we will use it to draw closer together and bring glory to the Lord!

    Andrea

  5. Tami Swaim says:

    I love your thought about marriage being a sacrificial decision made over and over which IS far more difficult because it requires perseverance and long suffering~ words our culture RUN from.  Where is the commitment among our generation?
    Mark and I came across the statistic for divorce rate within marriages where there are children with autism spectrum disorders.  We agreed that the level of decision making involved gives rise to conflict in an already difficult union of two wills.  In the end I believe that our marriage is stronger.

  6. Susanna says:

    Tami, your comment about the difficult union of two wills is right on.  My wise mom used to tell us, “You’re not ready to get married until you’re ready to give up your own way.”

  7. Shari~hotfudgecustard says:

    Susanna, your mom was right!  And I was *not* ready to get married when we did, if that is the criteria.  Thankfully, my husband is gracious and merciful.  And the Lord is showing me where my own way is ungodly and I have to die to self in order to please Him and please Eric.  Thankfully, we have lots of chances to practice.  : )

  8. Amy says:

    I have been married for 13 years now. For the first 4 years of our marriage I called myself a Christian all the while not truly being saved. Thankfully God opened my eyes and showed me that I didn’t truly know him. I know I am a new creation and that my love for him now is something I didn’t have before. Unfortunately my husband is an unbeliever. I didn’t think our marriage would make it through the first four years. When God changed me he saved my marriage. He has given me a love for my husband that I couldn’t have had with out his mercy and grace. Although things are still difficult at times God constantly reminds me that he is my rock and firm foundation. When Amelia was born 6 weeks ago and we found out she had Down Syndrome my husband said right away that “she is a gift from God.” Yes, she is a gift from God. I pray that God will use this beautiful gift to show my husband his need of God. It is hard to know that he is thanking God for our beautiful daughter but doesn’t see his need for God. He says he is not ready to give up the things of this world that he lust after. Years ago he even told me he knew if he died he would go to Hell. I know God gave us Amelia for a reason. We will both grow in so many ways by being her parents. We have 5 beautiful children. Sometimes it is overwhelming because I feel very alone in the decision making but I have to remember that God is at my side and he will guide me every step of the way. If I lean on him all things are possible.

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