One of the things that most delights me about the man God has given me as my life partner in the covenant of marriage is that he seeks to be a servant. I don't say this just because I love to be served (which I very selfishly do), but more so because in serving me and others, he is reflecting a trajectory -- which by God's grace will be lifelong -- of mirroring who Christ is to each of us.
I have seen mention lately of a book called What He Must Be ... If He Wants to Marry My Daughter. I haven't read any of it, but I can't help but think that a servant heart must be part of those qualifications. I will reflect on the flip side of this equation shortly, but first allow me a few seconds of gushing about my servant-husband.
- write me encouraging notes
- bring me coffee
- bring me snacks, repeatedly (Once, I was rushing to a workshop I was leading and he met me with a chocolate-covered rice krispie! OH!)
- go buy me super glue for a display I was putting together (more precisely, he went back three times for more glue!)
- find me and hug me
- pray for me
- put me to sleep with a backrub on Friday night
- iron my dress for Saturday night: when I had given up hope of getting the wrinkles out, he somehow miraculously got all of the wrinkles out while I was teaching in my last workshop!
- almost literally carry me through the airport yesterday on our way home -- I was sick, so he loaded me up with pepto, dramamine, let me sleep on his lap, wrapped in his sweatshirt and he carried my bags through two airports.
- ALL of this without any asking, begging or guilt on my part. Out of the overflow of the heart...
So, back to our scheduled programming, in a way, a lot of the ways my husband serves me could be classified in the theological category of mercy. wha? yeah, mercy.
Here's what I mean: On Friday afternoon at the conference, our speaker was a man named Dave Harvey, author of the incredibly-profound-worth-its-weight-in-gold book When Sinners Say I Do. I plan to blog more on his message tomorrow, but here is a snapshot today. The message was called "God's Mercy and My Marriage" (available for free download from our website!)
Dave talked about three areas in our marriage where we are to "be merciful, because our heavenly father is merciful." This is powerful stuff. The third category is "mercy in weakness." He told a story about going to the mall with his family and losing his cell phone. He made his family fan out and search every store that he'd been in, he reported it to lost and found, and then he went to the Verizon store and bought a new phone. Then they went home and found his old cell phone sitting on the table.
How did his wife respond? How should she have responded? How would you respond?
She helped him laugh. In his moment of weakness (by "weakness," here he means just our general shortcomings -- it wasn't sin, but it was just part of being a silly, frail person who leaves the house thinking he has his cell phone and making a lot of silliness ensue), she could have used it as leverage, she could have taken the opportunity to get back at him for all the times he had turned similar moments into "teaching opportunities," she could have been angry at the wasted time, emotion and money.
But she helped him laugh at himself.
For some reason, that is such a beautiful picture to me of love, service and ... mercy that it actually brought tears to my eyes when he told the story. Here, people all around me are laughing at a genuinely funny story, and I'm wiping tears from my eyes.
I think it might have had something to do with exhaustion, other emotional circumstances, etc... but I also think it's because I've experienced that mercy so often from my husband and others. Oh, I pray that I would become a person who is able to show this beautiful mercy to others in their weakness because of the mercy that Christ has shown me.