The bishop’s wife

When the old king died, his showy son took over from him.  He decided that his father’s advisers and officials did not suit his governing style.  He interviewed the Secretary of State, Treasurer and several older advisers and found that they were unworthy to work for him.  They were immediately dismissed and banned.

The next person on his agenda was the bishop.  The new king had his doubts whether the bishop was wise enough to lead the church.  He sent a messenger with a letter to the bishop’s house:

“In three days you have to come to my palace and answer the following three questions:
1. In which direction is God looking?
2. What am I worth?
3. What am I thinking?
If you cannot correctly answer these three questions, you will be banished from my
kingdom.”

The bishop studied the questions and threw his hands into the air.  “What’s wrong with the man?  It’s hopelessly unfair,” he told his wife, Ariel.  “I have no idea what to answer to such silly questions.” 

“Don’t be so upset, dear,” said his wife quietly.  “I’ll go. You know riddles have always been my strong point.” 

He will immediately know you’re not me,” babbled the bishop nervously. 

“My dear husband, he’s never met you,” Ariel calmed him again. “If I put on your clothes – those loose robes! – and your cap and lower my voice, he won’t suspect anything!

It was such a hopeless case that the bishop agreed to his wife’s bizarre plan.  When the bishop’s wife arrived at the palace in her husband’s robes, she was immediately taken to the king.

Let us begin at once,” said the king. “In which direction is God looking?

Ariel smiled to the king and said, “Your majesty, I would like to ask you a question first.”  Then she walked to a candle which stood before the king‘s throne. “In which direction, would you say, does a candle give light?”

“You can see for yourself – it gives light in all directions!” said the astonished king dryly.

“It’s the same with God. Where He looks, there is light.  He sees everything, everywhere.  His glory fills the whole creation.”

“Excellent answer!” cried the young king.  “Now for my second question: What am I worth?

“29 pieces of silver,” Ariel replied without hesitating for one moment.

The king shook as he laughed:  “What a stupid answer!  I have many treasures of silver and gold.  I own hectares of land full of vineyards and other precious products.  29 pieces of silver is an insult!”

“The gospel tells us,” Ariel softly continued, “that the Lord Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver.  Surely, you are not better than the Lord!  Since you say that you serve the Lord, and as the highest authority in the country, I deducted only one silver piece. “

The king was amazed and also accepted this answer. “Now my third question: What am I thinking?

“Your majesty, you think that I’m the bishop, but you’re wrong.  I’m the bishop’s wife.”  Then she took the cap off her head and shook her long hair loose.  The king was shocked, but then he roared with laughter.

“You are a wise woman. You have answered all my hard questions correctly and it made me a little more humble.  Go tell your husband that he can stay as the bishop.  And if you’re interested, I’m offering you a job in my government.  I now see that I need such wisdom…

~ Author unknown ~

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A Christmas letter from Jesus

INVITATION!

As you know, My birthday celebration is nearing.*  Each year, there’s a celebration in My honour, and this year the celebration will be repeated.  During this time, people are looking for many gifts, there are many radio announcements and advertisements, and in each part of the country all the people are talking about My birthday that’s approaching.  It is nice to know that, at least once a year, some people think of Me.

The celebration of My birthday started many years ago.  In the beginning people were grateful and they understood what I had done for them, but now it seems like few people has any understanding of what is celebrated.  Family and friends gather and enjoy the time immensely, but they don’t know the reason for the celebration.  (Matthew 1:18-2:12, Luke 2:1-39)

I remember, last year, there was a celebration in My honour.  The tables were spread with wonderful food and drinks.  The decorations were fantastic and there were heaps of wrapped gifts.  But, do you know what? – I was not invited!  I was the Guest of honour, but nobody remembered to send an invitation to Me!  The celebration was for Me, but when the wonderful day arrived, I was left outside – the door was closed in My face…  I longed to be with them and to share in their table.  The truth is that the past couple of years, most people had closed the door to Me.

Because I wasn’t invited, I decided to join in the celebration without making a sound.  I softly slipped in, and stood in one corner.  Everybody drank, some were drunk and told jokes and laughed about everything.  They had a good time.  To crown it all, a big, fat man dressed in red with a long, white beard, entered the room and everyone shouted, “Ho, ho, ho!”  He looked drunk.  He sat on the couch and all the children ran to him, shouting, “santa claus! santa claus!” – as if the celebration was in his honour.

By midnight, everyone hugged each other.  I also held out My arms and waited for someone to hug Me – but nobody did.  Everyone started handing out gifts.  They opened it with great expectation.  When all the gifts were opened, I looked to see if there was anything for Me.  But they had forgotten about Me.  When I realized that I was unwelcome, I softly left…

Everyone remembers the party, the gifts and the food, but nobody remembers Me.  This Christmas, I’d love it if you would allow Me to be part of your life.  I’d love it if you would realize that I laid My life down for you on the Cross 2000 years ago, to save your life!  (John 3:16)

Today, I am sending out the invitations, and there’s an invitation for you!  I’d like to know if you would like to attend the celebration, because then I will reserve a place for you and write your name with golden letters in My guest book.  (John 14:1-6, Revelation 3:5)  Only those whose names are written in My guest book, will be allowed in;  those who do not answer the invitation… will also be left outside.  (Matthew 22:1-14, Matthew 25:1-13)

Be ready, because as soon as everything is ready, those who have accepted the invitation, will share in My party.  (Revelation 19:9)

See you soon.  I love you.  (John 15:12, 1 John 4:19)

JESUS.

* Although we know that Jesus was not born on the 25th of December, we do celebrate His birth on this day.  We are not celebrating a date, but the event where the God Who created all things, made Himself small and lived on earth as one of us in order to bring eternal salvation to all who believe in Him and His amazing sacrificial love.

BUSY

Satan called a worldwide convention of demons.  In his opening address he said, “We can’t keep Christians from going to church.  We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth.  We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their Saviour.  Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken.  So let them go to their churches;  let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they don’t have time to develop a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  This is what I want you to do,” said the devil. “Distract them from gaining hold of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”
“How shall we do this?” his demons shouted.

“Keep them busy in the nonessentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered.  “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow.  Persuade the husbands and wives to go to work for long hours, 12-14 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!

Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that “still, small Voice“. Entice them to play the radio or MP3’s whenever they drive… to keep the TV, DVD’s, CD’s and their PC’s going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world play degrading and hateful music constantly.  This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.  Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers.  Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day.  Invade their driving moments with billboards.  Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.

“Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what’s important, and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives.  Women will forget how beautiful they really are and start to hurt themselves to fit someone else’s idea of how they should look.  Keep the husbands and wives too tired to love each other at night.  Give them headaches too!  If they don’t get the love they need, they will grow lonely and will begin to look elsewhere.  That will fragment their families quickly!

“Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas. Give them an Easter bunny so they won’t talk about His resurrection.

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive… have them return from their recreation exhausted.  Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God’s creation.  Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead.  Keep them busy, busy, busy!  And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, they will leave with troubled consciences.

“For those who resist all the temptations of television and worldly pursuits, crowd their lives with so many good causes that they have no time for inner search.  Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”

“It will work! It will work!!”

Did you know, the only place in the Bible (KJV) where the word “busy” is written, is in a negative context?

1 Kings 20
39  And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, “Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, “Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.”  40  And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone.”  And the king of Israel said unto him, “So shall thy judgment be;  thyself hast decided it.”

Could B-U-S-Y possibly stand for
B – bending
U – under
S – satan’s
Y – yoke ?

Jesus said:  “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me;  for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

What a contrast between the rest that Jesus gives, and the stress and tiredness of being BUSY!

Beulah Land

Excerpt from Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

“Now I saw in my dream, that by this time the pilgrims were got over the Enchanted Ground, and entering into the country of Beulah, whose air was very sweet and pleasant, Isaiah 62:4-12; Song 2:10-12; the way lying directly through it, they solaced themselves there for a season. Yea, here they heard continually the singing of birds, and saw every day the flowers appear in the earth, and heard the voice of the turtle in the land. In this country the sun shineth night and day: wherefore this was beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and also out of the reach of Giant Despair; neither could they from this place so much as see Doubting Castle. Here they were within sight of the city they were going to; also here met them some of the inhabitants thereof; for in this land the shining ones commonly walked, because it was upon the borders of heaven. In this land also the contract between the Bride and the Bridegroom was renewed; yea, here, “as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so doth God rejoice over them.” Here they had no want of corn and wine; for in this place they met with abundance of what they had sought for in all their pilgrimage. Here they heard voices from out of the city, loud voices, saying, “Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh! Behold, his reward is with him!” Here all the inhabitants of the country called them “the holy People, the redeemed of the Lord, sought out,” etc.

Now, as they walked in this land, they had more rejoicing than in parts more remote from the kingdom to which they were bound; and drawing near to the city, they had yet a more perfect view thereof: It was builded of pearls and precious stones, also the streets thereof were paved with gold; so that, by reason of the natural glory of the city, and the reflection of the sunbeams upon it, Christian with desire fell sick; Hopeful also had a fit or two of the same disease: wherefore here they lay by it a while, crying out because of their pangs, “If you see my Beloved, tell him that I am sick of love.”

But, being a little strengthened, and better able to bear their sickness, they walked on their way, and came yet nearer and nearer, where were orchards, vineyards, and gardens, and their gates opened into the highway. Now, as they came up to these places, behold the gardener stood in the way; to whom the pilgrims said, “Whose goodly vineyards and gardens are these?”  He answered, “They are the King’s, and are planted here for His own delight, and also for the solace of pilgrims.”  So the gardener had them into the vineyards, and bid them refresh themselves with the dainties, Deut. 23:24, Song 5:1; he also showed them there the King’s walks and arbors where He delighted to be: And here they tarried and slept.

Now I beheld in my dream, that they talked more in their sleep at this time than ever they did in all their journey; and, being in a muse thereabout, the gardener said even to me, Wherefore musest thou at the matter? It is the nature of the fruit of the grapes of these vineyards, “to go down so sweetly as to cause the lips of them that are asleep to speak.” Song 7:9.”

Sweet Beulah Land

I’m kind of homesick for a country
to which I’ve never been before.
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken,
And time won’t matter anymore –

Beulah Land, I’m longing for you,
and someday on thee I’ll stand.
There my home shall be eternal.
Beulah Land… sweet Beulah Land!

I’m looking now across that river
to where my faith is gonna end in sight.
Theres just a few more days to labor,
Then I’ll take, my heavenly flight (to) –

~ Squire Parsons, 1973 ~

A Soldier’s Bible

The Bible in a deck of playing cards

A young soldier was in his bunkhouse all alone one Sunday morning. It was quiet that day, the guns and the mortars, and land mines for some reason hadn’t made a noise.  The young soldier knew it was Sunday, the holiest day of the week. As he was sitting there, he got out an old deck of cards and laid them out across his bunk.

Just then an Army Sergeant came in and asked, “Why aren’t you with the rest of the platoon?”  The soldier replied, “I thought I would stay behind and spend some time with the Lord.”  The sergeant said, “Looks like you’re going to play cards.”  The soldier said, “No sir, you see, since we are not allowed to have Bibles or other spiritual books in this country, I’ve decided to talk to the Lord by studying this deck of cards.”  The sergeant asked in disbelief, “How will you do that?”

“You see the Ace, Sergeant, it reminds that there is only one God.

The Two represents the two parts of the Bible, Old and New Testaments.

The Three represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

The Four stands for the Four Apostles: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The Five is for the five virgins, there were ten, but only five of them were glorified.

The Six is for the six days it took God to create the Heavens and Earth.

The Seven is for the day God rested after working the six days.

The Eight is for the family of Noah and his wife, their three sons and their wives, in which God saved the eight people from the flood that destroyed the earth for the first time.

The Nine is for the lepers that Jesus cleansed of leprosy. He cleansed ten but nine never thanked Him.

The Ten represents the Ten Commandments that God handed down to Moses on tablets made of stone.

The Jack is a reminder of Satan. One of God’s first angels, but he got kicked out of heaven for his sly and wicked ways and is now the Joker of eternal hell.

The Queen stands for the Virgin Mary.
(Personal preference:  the Bride of Christ, the Lamb.  Rev. 19:7-8, Rev. 21:9, Rev. 22:17)

The King stands for Jesus, for he is the King of all kings.

When I count the dots on all the cards, I come up with 365 total, one for every day of the year.

There are a total of 52 cards in a deck, each is a week, 52 weeks in a year.

The four suits represents the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

Each suit has thirteen cards, there are exactly thirteen weeks in a quarter.

So when I want to talk to God and thank Him, I just pull out this old deck of cards and they remind me of all that I have to be thankful for.”

The sergeant just stood there and after a minute, with tears in his eyes and pain in his heart, he said, “Soldier, can I borrow that deck of cards?”

~ Written by:  T. Texas Tyler ~

John 3:16 – I don’t understand it, but…

A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner.  The people were in and out of the cold.  The little boy was so cold that he wasn’t trying to sell many papers.  He walked up to a policeman and said, “Mister, you wouldn’t happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight would youYou see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley and its awful cold in there for tonight.  Sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay.”  The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, “You go down the street to that big white house and you knock on the door. When they come out the door you just say “John 3:16″ and they will let you in.”

So he did.  He walked up the steps and knocked on the door, and a lady answered.  He looked up and said, “John 3:16.”  The lady said, “Come on in, Son.”  She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went off.  The boy sat there for a while and thought to himself:  ‘John 3:16…  I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm.’

Later she came back and asked him, “Are you hungry?”  He said, “Well, just a little. I haven’t eaten in a couple of days, and I guess I could stand a little bit of food.”  The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table full of wonderful food.  He ate and ate until he couldn’t eat any more.  Then he thought to himself:  ‘John 3:16…  Boy, I sure don’t understand it, but it sure makes a hungry boy full.’

She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub filled with warm water, and he sat there and soaked for a while.  As he soaked, he thought to himself:  ‘John 3:16…  I sure don’t understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean.  You know, I’ve not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life.  The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.’

The lady came in and got him.  She took him to a room, tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the lights.  As he lay in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night, he thought to himself:  ‘John 3:16…  I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a tired boy rest.’

The next morning the lady came back up and took him down again to that same big table full of food.  After he ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible.  She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face.  “Do you understand John 3:16?” she asked gently.  He replied, “No, Ma’am, I don’t. The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it.”  She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain to him about Jesus.  Right there, in front of that big old fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus.  He sat there and thought:  ‘John 3:16…  I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.’

You know, I have to confess I don’t understand it either, how God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how Jesus would agree to do such a thing.  I don’t understand the agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched Jesus suffer and die.  I don’t understand the intense love for ME that kept Jesus on the cross ’till the end.  I don’t understand it, but it sure does make life worth living.

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

~ Author:  Robert Bentson ~

James 2:1-5, 14-17

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.  For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;  And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, “Sit thou here in a good place;” and say to the poor, “Stand thou there,” or “sit here under my footstool”:  Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?  Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? …  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,  And one of you say unto them, “Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled;” notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

Matthew 25:31-40

“When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory:  And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  And He shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”  Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, “Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink?  When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee?  Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?”  And the King shall answer and say unto them, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” “

Simple prayer, mighty faith, like a child

My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short time.  During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home and give all to “dad.”

That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do.  Dad was not receptive to doing things with his son.  But Gilbert tried.  Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby car with his young, eager son.  The block of wood remained untouched as the weeks passed.

Finally, mom stepped in to see if I could figure this all out.  The project began.  Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be best if I simply read the directions and let Gilbert do the work.  And he did.  I read aloud the measurements, the rules of what we could do and what we couldn’t do.

Within days his block of wood was turning into a pinewood derby car.  A little lopsided, but looking great (at least through the eyes of mom).  Gilbert had not seen any of the other kids cars and was feeling pretty proud of his “Blue Lightning,” the pride that comes with knowing you did something on your own.

Then the big night came.  With his blue pinewood derby in his hand and pride in his heart we headed to the big race.  Once there my little one’s pride turned to humility.  Gilbert’s car was obviously the only car made entirely on his own.  All the other cars were a father-son partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for speed.

A few of the boys giggled, as they looked at Gilbert’s, lopsided, wobbly, unattractive vehicle.  To add to the humility Gilbert was the only boy without a man at his side.  A couple of the boys who were from single parent homes at least had an uncle or grandfather by their side;  Gilbert had “mom.”

As the race began it was done in elimination fashion.  You kept racing as long as you were the winner.  One by one the cars raced down the finely sanded ramp.  Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest looking car there.  As the last race was about to begin, my wide-eyed, shy eight-year-old asks if they could stop the race for a minute, because he wanted to pray.  The race stopped.

Gilbert hit his knees clutching his funny looking block of wood between his hands.  With a wrinkled brow he set to converse with his Father.  He prayed in earnest for a very long minute and a half.  Then he stood, smile on his face and announced, ‘Okay, I am ready.”

As the crowd cheered, a boy named Tommy stood with his father as their car sped down the ramp.  Gilbert stood with his Father within his heart and watched his block of wood wobble down the ramp with surprisingly great speed and rushed over the finish line a fraction of a second before Tommy’s car.

Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud “Thank You” as the crowd roared in approval.  The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with microphone in hand and asked the obvious question, “So you prayed to win, huh, Gilbert?” To which my young son answered, “Oh, no sir.  That wouldn’t be fair to ask God to help you beat someone else.  I just asked Him to make it so I don’t cry when I lose.”

Children seem to have wisdom far beyond us.  Gilbert didn’t ask God to win the race, he didn’t ask God to fix the outcome, and Gilbert asked God to give him strength in the outcome.  When Gilbert first saw the other cars he didn’t cry out to God, “No fair, they had a father’s help.”

No, he went to his Father for strength.  Perhaps we spend too much of our prayer time asking God to rig the race, to make us number one, or too much time asking God to remove us from the struggle, when we should be seeking God’s strength to get through the struggle.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippines 4:13

Gilbert’s simple prayer spoke volumes to those present that night.  He never doubted that God would indeed answer his request.  He didn’t pray to win, thus hurt someone else, he prayed that God supply the grace to lose with dignity.  Gilbert, by his stopping the race to speak to his Father also showed the crowd that he wasn’t there without a “dad,” but His Father was most definitely there with him.  Yes, Gilbert walked away a winner that night, with his Father at his side.

~ Peggy Porter (mom) ~

Matthew 18:1-4
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them,  And said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

“Until death do us part…”

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, “I’ve got something to tell you.”  She sat down and ate quietly.  Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.  Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, “Why?”

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, “You are not a man!”  That night, we didn’t talk to each other.  She was weeping.  I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage.  But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer;  I had lost my heart to Jane.  I didn’t love her anymore.  I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.  She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces.  The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger.  I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said, for I loved Jane so dearly.  Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see.  To me her cry was actually a kind of release.  The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table.  I didn’t have supper, but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.  When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing.  I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions:  she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce.  She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible.  Her reasons were simple:  our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me.  But she had something more:  she asked me to recall how I had carried her into our bridal room on our wedding day.  She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door every morning.  I thought she was going crazy.  Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions.  She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd.  “No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce,” she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed.  So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy.  Our son clapped behind us:  “Daddy is holding Mommy in his arms!”  His words brought me a sense of pain.  From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms.  She closed her eyes and said softly, “Don’t tell our son about the divorce.”  I nodded, feeling somewhat upset.  I put her down outside the door.  She went to wait for the bus to work.  I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily.  She leaned on my chest.  I could smell the fragrance of her blouse.  I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time.  I realized she was not young any more.  There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying!  Our marriage had taken its toll on her.  For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning.  This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.  On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again.  I didn’t tell Jane about this.  It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by.  Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning.  She tried on quite a few dresses, but could not find a suitable one.  Then she sighed, “All my dresses have grown bigger.”  I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me…  She had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart.  Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, “Dad, it’s time to carry Mom out.”  To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life.  My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly.  I turned my face away, because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute.  I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway.  Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally.  I held her body tightly;  it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad.  On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step.  Our son had gone to school.  I held her tightly and said, “I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.”  I drove to office… jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door.  I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…  I walked upstairs.  Jane opened the door and I said to her, “Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.”

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. “Do you have a fever?” she said.  I moved her hand off my head.  “Sorry, Jane,” I said, “I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.”  Jane seemed to suddenly wake up.  She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears.  I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife.  The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card.  I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I ran upstairs, only to find my wife in the bed – dead.  My wife had been fighting Cancer for months, and I was too busy with Jane to even notice.  She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push through with the divorce.  At least, in the eyes of our son, I’m a loving husband…

The small details of our lives are what really matter in a relationship.  It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank.  These create an environment conducive for happiness, but cannot give happiness in themselves.  Find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy.

Mark 10

2  And the Pharisees came to Him, and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?” tempting Him. 3  And He answered and said unto them, “What did Moses command you?” 4  And they said, “Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.” 5  And Jesus answered and said unto them, “For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6  But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8  And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9  What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” 10  And in the house His disciples asked Him again of the same matter. 11  And He saith unto them, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12  And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”

God is at work in our lives

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island.  He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day, he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.  Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost.  He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger.  He cried out, “God! How could You do this to me?”

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island!  It had come to rescue him! “How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers.  “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn’t lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering.  Remember the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground, that it just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”  ~ Romans 8:28