Tuesday, July 24, 2012

There Never Was Such Another - Repost

Last year, Kevin DeYoung posted on his blog a brief excerpt from the life of Charles Hodge. I read it before marrying my dear husband, bookmarked it, and keep thinking back to it as standing among the sweetest words I ever read on marriage. After reading it again today, I wanted to record it here.

Here is DeYoung's post:

I was moved by this touching description of Charles Hodge with his fifty-one year-old dying wife Sarah.
The next death that visited Hodge was infinitely dearer to him. On Christmas Day 1849, just four months after her return to Princeton with her daughter and grandchild, Sarah “softly & sweetly fell asleep in Jesus.” She most probably fell victim to uterine cancer.
Sarah’s health had begun to deteriorate soon after her return, and by December her condition was such that Hodge had lost all hope of recovery. In her final weeks, he personally nursed Sarah, spending countless hours simply lying next to her. During these times, he held her hand, and conversed with her when she had the strength. The depth of their love remained so intense that Hodge later commented that “to the last she was like a girl in love.” During her final weeks, Sarah asked Hodge to tell her in detail “how much you love me,” and they spent time recounting the high points of their life together.
Hodge’s last hours with his wife were particularly poignant. As her life ebbed away, Sarah looked at her children gathered around her bed and quietly murmured “I give them to God.” Hodge then asked her if she had thought him a devoted husband to which she replied as “she sweetly passed her hand over” his face: “There never was such another.” (Charles Hodge, 258)
Married couples, if you imagine that your final moments together will be like this, rejoice and again I say rejoice. Let the thought of such bittersweet sorrow put your present troubles and conflicts in perspective. But if this scene feels like an impossible dream, what must you change now so you and your spouse can die like this later?
It is my fervent prayer, which I trust God in His kindness will give me, that my husband and I may be together when the first of us passes from earth to glory, and that the send-off may be such a one as gives unspeakable comfort to the one left behind. How wonderful is the capacity of the human heart - made in God's image and renewed by God's Spirit -  to love. It is a gift worth cultivating above all other things.  Nothing is closer to heaven.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

God is Treating You as Sons

A compilation of John Calvin's writings, gathered by Joel Beeke into a wonderful devotional, contains in today's reading Calvin's comments on Matthew 27:43, which speaks of the onlookers who mocked the crucified Lord with the cruel words, "He trusted in God, let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God."

Calvin writes of the falseness of these accusations and our temptation to believe such words in our own adversities:  
"It is contrary to the nature of faith that the word now should be insisted on by those whom God is training by the cross and by adversity to obedience, and whom he entreats to pray and to call on his name, for these are rather the testimonies of his fatherly love, as the apostle tells us (Heb. 12:6). But consider this peculiarity, that though Christ was the 'well-beloved Son' (Matt. 3:17; 17:5), yet he was not delivered from death until he had endured the punishment which we deserved, for that was the price by which our salvation was purchased."

May I never demand, as proof of God's love, the removal of the very thing His love has laid upon me.

"'For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.'
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons."

~ Hebrews 12:6-7a, ESV