The Expository Files


Go And Find

I do not recall the source (book, sermon, conversation?), but I remember well the essence of the story about . . .

. . . this young man (say 21) who went to a nursing home with a group of Christian friends. Their custom was to make it a point to see people who generally had no visitors. The point was simply to make friends with them and discover what they might do to help. The visits were brief with occasional follow-ups.

But this was a life-changing experience for the young 21 year old, who was handsome, healthy and anxious to get this over with.

In the room, a frail man in his late 90’s. In the bed next to his, his wife who had been unresponsive for several months after a major stroke. The old man watched over her and frequently talked to her, assuming she heard and understood everything.

The young man – in an effort to make some conversation – looked over to a black and white picture well framed and placed on the bedside table, and offered the comment: “Isn’t it ashamed that your wife doesn’t look like that now?”

The old man was kind but firm. “Sonny boy, do you have a couple more minutes?” Sensing he had misspoken, he sat down and learned what would be a crucial lesson he would remember the rest of his life.

“When I married her,” the old man started, “I knew something you may not appreciate now. I knew her stunning physical beauty, good health, wit and energy would not last forever. What’s more, I knew I wouldn’t always be that young man. But I knew I wanted to make the journey from youth to old age with her. I could see then, beyond her physical beauty. I loved her inner character, love for life, respect for God. And I knew she would be a good wife and mother, not because of the arrangement of her face, but because of her central virtue. So you see, she is more beautiful to me now than on our wedding day. We have experienced life ‘for better and worse,’ but we did it together and our love for each other has not been changed by our aging bodies. Now, young man, go out there and find a woman like this.”

Choking, the young man left the room. They became good friends. And as the young man sat in a Bible class a few days later, it just all came together when he heard this:

1Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—4rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. 7Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

By Warren E. Berkley
The Final Page
From Expository Files 17.10; October 2010