‘Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion...’ (1 Tim. 3:15)
I just crossed the 65-year-old mark where Medicare agents ask you upbeat questions like: ‘Does anyone feed or clean you?’
I stammered a response. Annette does feed me, as her peerless culinary skills render me helpless (learned helplessness) in the kitchen. Cleaning me? Not quite but she nudges me toward the shower when I assess my sweaty self as ‘earthy’ rather than ‘gross’ (her more objective take).
43 years of marriage is the nearest we’ll ever get to human devotion—revealing, maddening, nourishing, empowering. We light up each other’s imperfections. Then we invite the Savior who saves us a little bit each day to cleanse and feed and cover the other.
Undeniably great is the mystery of vulnerability, and the virtues we discover in seeking to love another as he or she is! The lifetime plan of attuning to another’s need and aiming love there…well, I have not attained this, nor has she, but we are closer and clearer today than yesterday.
65 down! The way of love gets sweeter, and narrower. I’m not inclined to savor the ripening of the Spirit’s fruit in me (irregular patience and self-control), though I catch glimpses of a few good sacrifices. I’m more alert to the dirty fist of the flesh banging on my door. Refusing to open matters but my myopia obscures the marvels of His transforming love in me.
So I bow down. 65 and still down, quicker on my knees than ever. He draws me through the wonder of His love for me. That is my only claim—His love for me! God assuming flesh claims my flesh out of pure love and power to accomplish His best for me.
This ‘mystery of devotion’ requires solitude. And stillness in which to gaze on the Crucified. This morning I consider some careless words that stung Annette the night before. I get low and He assures me of Love’s rising in spite of myself. I’m ready to confess when Love eclipses shame. United anew, Annette and I face the day together.
If my healthy 97-year-old mom is a gauge, we’ve a third of our lives left to rally the saints to dig ditches full of living water for the wounded and unclean.
Our backs and arms are sore and strong, and we are surrounded by younger ones. The work is harder than ever; yet we are smarter now and nearer the Source that renews us daily. We delight in making the Bride a ‘place of springs’ (Ps. 84). (Living Waters Guidebook and Living Waters Video Series)
In corporate prayer, I saw a golden mist that formed a horizontal cylinder over the ‘waters’, providing healing direction and protection for pilgrims of the stream (nothing short of the powers of baptism and confirmation!). That same ‘mist’ -- the healing properties of the Spirit—rested on us who prayed. We welcomed His good pleasure in us. He delights in making a way for the integration of His members. (Rediscovering Our Lost Fullness)
Down at 65. Rising to do His will.
‘Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion.
He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.’ (1 Tim. 3:16)