Christians use the word love a lot. We talk about the love God has for us and the love we have for God. However, we also talk about loving our spouse, our family, our friends, fellow Christians and even our neighbor. Talk is cheap.
Several weeks ago, my husband injured his knee while at work. He was seen by a doctor, given a knee brace, some pain medication as well as some instructions to care for it and was told things should be fine within the next week or so. I wonder if anyone ever told that doctor that often times bodies that are more than half a century are sometimes a bit... uncooperative when it comes to healing. Sure enough, after a week my husband was referred to a doctor who specializes in orthopedics. He is expected to make a full recovery but at the moment he is banned from lifting more than 20 pounds.
We were managing quite nicely until we discovered that salt needs to be added to our water softener which resides down in the basement. The solution is simple enough. Buy some salt, add it to the water softener and the problem is solved. This time though, there is a bit of a glitch. The bags weigh forty pounds.
I know. I know. You are probably wondering what sort of wife I am. I should be able to lift 40 pound bags out of the trunk, haul them downstairs to the basement, hoist them up and dump salt into the water softener, right? I really wish I could and even offered to attempt to do so. The suggestion was barely out of my mouth when my husband firmly ordered, yes ordered me to never attempt to do such a thing. I tried to protest but he told me I had my own little set of issues and that I had no busy dragging forty pound bags anywhere. Sigh...
He inquired about the cost of delivery but when he heard what the fee was he got a funny look on his face. How much? That wasn't going to work either. I have a couple of very close strong, able-bodied family members so my next course of action was to ask them if they could help us out sometime, anytime this week.
I have to tell you that their responses hurt me even as I write this. In both cases my request was treated as an inconvenience and neither person had the time or desire to be inconvenienced. One person was at our house at the time actually but could not wait long enough to do so. If he had to be somewhere at a certain time, I would have understood but the problem was, he didn't. He could have stuck around just a bit longer and even later told me so but the problem was, he didn't want to.
I sadly thought about all of the times my husband had "inconvenienced" himself, not just for them but for other people and I hurt, not so much for myself but for him. I thought about how we say we love people but we are only willing to help them when it is convenient or beneficial to us. Something is wrong with this picture.
I suddenly thought about another man. My husband had helped him when he was going through a terrible divorce. He helped him move to a new place and he was always there when this man simply needed someone to talk to and pray with him. Over and over again this man had told me what a blessing my husband had been to him. I wonder...
Sometimes you men are a bit too proud for your own good. You do not like to ask for a helping hand as I guess it makes you feel weak and incompetent. No, sometimes you simply need a bit of help from a friend. Well, maybe my husband didn't want to ask for help but I had no qualms about it. Besides, hard water wrecks havoc on my hair and skin! I sent our friend a message and asked if he could help us out. His response was "Yes" followed by his work schedule so we would know when he would be available. He and my husband are working out the details.
The point of this story is not to say that we must be there for everyone all of the time. That simply is not possible. There are certainly times when we desire to help someone but we genuinely cannot. We should not feel guilty about those times. The point of this story is that it is not enough to simply tell people that we love them or care about them. We need to be willing to interrupt our lives for them. This is one of the most powerful ways that we demonstrate the love of Christ at work in us.
Talk is cheap. Amen to that!
And then there are those, like your friend, who are willing to interrupt their lives.
Why, I once had someone drop everything, rent a car, and drive 500 miles to my house, at a moment's notice... and then stay with me for a week, and take care of me for a week, because my husband had been hospitalized. And she maintained continual contact and prayer cover over the entire 52 days he was hospitalized.
That is the love of God personified.
Oh yes, that was you!
INCONVENIENCE is the revealer of a lot about our Christian character; and I have learned through some very painful experiences akin to yours that it is a way for people to let us know that they... [choose]... not to be to be helpful to us for fear that something in the future might come up and we might call on them again.
They make the MISTAKE of protecting their selfish interests, so as to let us know that they will more likely than ... NOT be available much -- if at all -- in the future. Selfish, selfish, selfish! This hits a "raw nerve" in me. Yet indulge me: I say to that "selfishness" in them... 'Take this' --
I did mention that this hits a raw nerve with me, didn't I? Hmm!
I remember our Pastor in the '90's preaching a sermon. He began one with one of the first sentences to the effect of ... 'When you say I love you but could you consider shaving the mustache'? The point? Immediately the word 'but' enters, the question of whether we really love someone unconditionally enters. To not come and help with a 40 lb. bag unless physically unable is heartbreaking and certainly communicates a "no" answer. Even with the arthritis in my back limiting me to about 25 or 30. If I could teleport up, one 40 - 50 lbs bag should not ache for too long. So very sorry! :-(
You and Dave remain in thought and prayer.