Today I sat down to write one of those difficult notes you need to write if you live long enough.
For the past ten years as part of our church family, we have enjoyed the presence of Nathanael. I never held a two way conversation with him, but I’ve rubbed his head as he sat strapped in his wheelchair. He had the biggest smile, but we’ve seen it for the last time on this earth. We’re going to miss his enthusiastic outbursts which punctuated our services at times. He was always welcome in worship. When we got the email announcing his passing, we were encouraged to share with his parents how God has used Nathanael’s life to teach and bless us.
It was no coincidence that I stumbled across my sermon notes on that great command, “Thou shalt not kill”, just as I was looking for my cards to write this note.
I know from personal experience that if you are chronically ill, finding purpose in your life can be a huge challenge when you are feeling low. Getting real here — has your chronically ill husband ever told you he feels worthless? Did you know there are a multitude of implied ways that we can break the command, Thou shalt not kill? Abortion, murder, and suicide are the most obvious applications.
Failing to value our lives, no matter how insignificant they seem, borders on breaking this command.
We cringe in horror and are infuriated at the ruthless brutality alive and well all over our globe today. So we should be! The very existence of certain departments of security points to the basic lack of value for life. Then there is history: Hitler, Stalin, and all their cronies who used their power for evil, crushing people like bugs. But, back to Nathanael — the fact that this severely disabled boy could smile and laugh reminded me to praise God. He was loved and treated with dignity and respect as a being created in the image of God for his less than two decades of life on this earth. His life mattered. Your life matters.
Everyone is potentially someone who could praise God.
The Westminster divines really hit the nail on the head with this simple statement. We are created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. As someone who can praise God, your life has worth. When your husband is down, when the pain meds are talking, whatever the case, remind him that he is, indeed, special. As Jesus said, “You are of more value than many sparrows, ” after he had pointed out that the Father sees EVERY sparrow that falls.
Our worth is not measured by our abilities or possessions, but by the One who created us.
“For by grace are you saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
Hope this helps start your week off in a different light. Be encouraged! What you do for your husband has value if done for His glory. His life matters and so does yours. Thank you, Lord, for Nathanael, your gift to remind us of the value of life.