Thursday, September 15, 2011

In Sickness and In Health

After reading an article enumerating Pat Robertson's emotive justifications for divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's, I feel compelled to measure his dangerous admonitions by the Light of Scripture.

During the call-in segment of the show, Pat Robertson addresses whether or not a husband should remain faithful to his Alzheimer's-stricken wife. "But I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something he should divorce her and start all over again. But to make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her."

Wow. This is chilling for so many reasons. Thankfully, his co-host Terry Meeuwsen points out, "But isn't that the vow we take when we marry someone? That it's for better or for worse? For richer or poorer?" (Christianity Today).

Marriage is inherently sacred and binding. Marriage was fashioned by the Designer as a type and shadow of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ--the body of Christ as the glorious bride, our LORD and Savior, the Bridegroom. This is why marriage exists. Thank the Lord he does not desert us in our weakness. He does not forsake us when we forget His promises. His love for us is unconditional and everlasting.

Mr. Robertson has unknowingly stepped into the enemy's camp of relative ethics. To abandon a commitment in the face of hardship does not line up with the powerful prophetic Word, "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." (Revelation 12:11, NAS) Marriage is a beautiful testimony of laying down your life for the sake of your spouse daily. As Christ gave us the Ultimate Sacrifice willingly, our Christian walk is voluntarily making decisions for Him because of His love through us. Christians have eternal life in Christ and once that decision of surrender is truly made, John 10:28 (NAS) says, "and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand." Doesn't it make since then, that the enemy will seek to "snatch" a Christian's testimony?

To make decisions regarding marriage on the basis of feelings is not only a slippery slope, it is ethically toxic. Robertson continues, "...I can't fault him for wanting some kind of companionship. And if he says in a sense she is gone, he's right. It's like a walking death." There are so many times that Mr. Robertson has prayed in faith for people's healing on the show. By denoting Alzheimer's as "a walking death" he magnifies the power of disease over the power of Christ. Just because he has not witnessed the miraculous healing of Alzheimer's, does not mean that it will not happen in the future. We serve a living God with no limitations. Let us always walk by faith and not by sight. Isaiah 43:18-19 (NAS) says, "Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.

I cannot help but recall a great man of honor, the late President Ronald Reagan. He is one of the most beloved presidents of all time. In November of 1994, Reagan formally informed the nation of his fight with Alzheimer's. "I now begin the journey that will lead me into the summit--sunset of my life." In Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan, Morris gives us an inside look into this illness. "I think the single most shattering story I heard about him was the fact that a friend put a white ceramic model of the White House into this fish tank that he had in his office. And he took it home in his fist," Morris continues, "And when Nancy pried his fingers open and said, 'What's that, Ronnie?' And there's this this little wet White House in his hand. He said, 'I don't know, but I think it's something to do with me." Staying by your spouse's side during his/her darkest hour is an opportunity to bestow honor on earth as it is in heaven.

Could we also remind Mr. Robertson of the power of love? Perhaps the mind has decayed, but the heart has not. Christ can fill every empty space. May we have courage to love our spouse just as much in the sunset as the sunrise.

1 comment:

  1. Jenny,
    That was such a good blog post. Thank you for sharing.