More Than Just Words: I Won’t Tap Out

“In Sickness and in Health”

Hospitals do something to you.

I’ve walked through the doors of many a hospital in different capacities.  I’ve been a patient, a visitor, a student, an employee, a friend, a father, a grandson, a nephew, and a pastor.

Hospitals just do something to you.

They are places of healing and joy, but within the very same walls are juxtaposed feelings of suffering and sorrow.  But through all of these emotional ups and downs there is one common thing.

It’s the human element.

You see, in each room you don’t find robots you find real people, with real stories, with real emotions, and who need a real God.

As a pastor I have had the unbelievable honor of being by the bedside as loved ones pass.  I’ve seen newborn babies being held by their mother for the first time.  I’ve held the hand of friends that are fighting for their last days.  I’ve been in the waiting room as people wait to hear test results.  I’ve seen little ones with wires and tubes coming out of them as parents sit helplessly by their side.

But through all of it I’ve seen God move and He is Good.

I’ve also seen husbands leave wives sick with MS and 2 kids.  I’ve seen “men” make their wives find their own rides to chemotherapy.  I’ve heard stories of parents leaving their newborn baby in the NICU for the hospital to deal with when the thought of raising a disabled child was too much.

But through all of it I’ve seen God move and He is Good.

You see God is consistent.  We are inconsistent.  He is not affected by our emotional roller coaster.  He does not succumb to our weaknesses.  He has always been here and will always be here far after we are gone.  He is the Rock that does not move.

It is the confidence in an unchanging, unflappable, unconditional God that allows us to look our spouse in the eyes and tell them we will be with them “in sickness and in health.”

It’s because the God we worship did not tap out when the going got tough.  He didn’t bag it when the pain was excruciating, when the wounds were bleeding, when the whips were tearing, when the guards were mocking, when the people were spitting, and when His father was forsaking.

1 Peter 2:23 – 24 tells us, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

I believe leaving your sick spouse in the middle of their time of need is like leaving a soldier wounded in the middle of a war with enemies all around.  If a soldier did that they would be dishonorably discharged and disgraced by their country, but if we do that to our spouse it’s called “making sure we are happy.”  We can’t tap out when the going gets tough.  We can’t tap out when the medical bills get high.  We can’t tap out when being intimate with them is never again a possibility.  We can’t tap out when sickness is more common than health.

Jesus did not give up on us in our time of need because of His love for us and because of that we should NEVER give up on our spouse because of our love for them.

In sickness and in health has no limits.  It means I won’t tap out!

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