God, Take Me Instead

Concluding my observations from C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed (see it here in Goodreads)Click here to read the previous thought.

When I first started listening to country music in the 1990’s, one of my favorite songs was Don’t Take the Girl by Tim McGraw. I liked it because it talked about chivalry and a young man protecting his girlfriend during a robbery. But the third verse, starting at 2:43 in the video below, is the best part. In it, the couple are now married but the wife is dying due to complications during childbirth. The husband pleads to God to take him instead because of his love for her.

This isn’t some new kind of thought; I think in a case of true love, many a times has one person wanted to trade places with a loved one who is suffering or in pain. C.S. Lewis, in his account of his wife’s battle with cancer, wrote about this thought in A Grief Observed (44).

And then one babbles–‘If only I could bear it, or the worst of it, or any of it, instead of her.’ But one can’t tell how serious that bid is, for nothing is staked on it. If it suddenly became a real possibility, then, for the first time, we should discover how seriously we had meant it. But is it ever allowed?

Because of sin, both original sin and our individual sin, this world is cursed and sufferings have, and will continue to, come. Because of sin, we have an eternal punishment awaiting us. But the Good News is that Jesus paid the price for our sin in our stead. He is the only One to whom it was allowed to take the place of another so that we would not need to suffer eternally.  As Lewis writes:

It was allowed to One, we are told, and I find I can now believe again, that He has done vicariously whatever can be so done. He replies to our babble, ‘You cannot and you dare not. I could and dared.’

And yet, we still suffer not only physical trials but also emotional, psychological, or spiritual trials. Truly, although I wish I could take the suffering for my beloved wife, I cannot and I must not because there is a purpose for God allowing these things to happen in our lives. Lewis writes regarding trials in our lives (52):

But of course one must take ‘sent to try us’ the right way. God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.

And so, when faced with a loved one’s suffering and pain, we must ever remember that God has allowed this, not because God is a cosmic sadist, but because He loves us more than we could love Him or another person. The suffering and pain will come, but it can be used to build us up. As Paul writes in his letter to the Romans: “tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (3b-5 NKJV)

Thoughts on Chivalry

I was recently directed to a blog called Feminine Mystique because of an entry entitled “On Chivalry.” It was an interesting read which contained some thought-provoking statements, such as:

… Chivalry is necessary for patriarchy to function; chivalry is an intrinsic part of patriarchy.  Chivalry is the male expression of patriarchy; it is the man’s role in patriarchy.  The fundamental ethic of chivalry is that it is a man’s duty to provide for and protect women. …

Chivalry is an inherited duty on the part of men and it is an inherited privilege on the part of women.  Women do deserve chivalry in the sense of the woman’s role and purpose being something honorable and something desirable and something generous and kind and deserving of respect.  However chivalry is not something that is “deserved” in the sense of it being earned or based on superior merit or it being an expression of preferential treatment due to the woman’s good conduct. …

Chivalry is not done for the purpose of pleasing or gaining the approval of women.  Pleasing and gaining the approval of women is a side benefit that often accompanies chivalry but it is not its purpose.  The purpose of chivalry is the man maintaining his honor as a man.  Chivalry is meant to provide a benefit to the woman but it is not based on the desires of the woman. …

I’m not saying I agree with everything she wrote, but it quite interesting.  Click here to read the entire post.

P.S. – Thanks to “Why I Am Not A Feminist” for sharing the post.

Pro-life Moments on Desperate Housewives

Okay, it’s confession time. When I was younger, I used to watch Dynasty with my mom. Eventually, my sister and I got into watching Flamingo Road. Now, ever since I got married, I watch Desperate Housewives with my wife. As always, the man is blaming the woman (a la Adam, see Genesis 3:12).

What was amazing to me, however, was discovering two pro-life gems in the last few weeks on Desperate Housewives, a show filled with stories of lying, cheating, adultery, murder – yes, sin of every kind.

The first scene is about one of the characters contemplating abortion. Although the word “abortion” was never used, you pretty much knew what they were talking about, and the “choice” she was considering.

The second one has to do with  marriage, and what one husband sees as one of his primary roles within that relationship.

I took the liberty of reproducing the scripts from the two episodes below. Many thanks to abc.go.com where I could watch the scenes repeatedly to get the exact wording from the shows. Enjoy! And keep your eyes open for little pro-life gems in the midst of everyday life.

From Episode 602: Lynette, working mother of four children, is pregnant with twins.  Lynette has been torn between her new position at work and her pre-born babies.  She is not sure if she wants to “keep” the babies;  she cried out to her husband, “I don’t love these babies!” in a previous episode. As we follow the story this week, her friend Susan’s daughter, Julie, was attacked and is in a coma in the hospital. Lynette blurts out that Julie may be pregnant so they won’t perform any harmful x-rays on her, and Susan wants to know how Lynette knows that Julie may be pregnant:

Lynette: I hear Julie opened her eyes; that’s great!

Susan: Yes, yes it is.

L: I’m sorry you’re mad at me.

S: I’m not mad. I just can’t understand why she went to you instead of me.

L: That day that Julie found me crying…the reason she opened up to me was because I told her…and no one else can know about this…that I’m pregnant.

S: You are…that’s amazing! Wait, why were you crying?

L: Oh, let’s see, I’m in my 40’s, my husband is back in school, I’m the sole bread-winner, I don’t know how I’m going to do this whole baby thing again, and also because…

S: What?

L: Because I can’t quiet that one voice in my mind that keeps saying, “Maybe I shouldn’t.”

S: Oh, honey.

L: Yeah.

S: Lynette, uh, you can do whatever you think it is you need to do.

L: (Sadly) Yeah, I know.  Lucky me.

S: It’s weird, everybody talks about a kid being a gift. It’s the only gift where you puke for nine months before you receive it and then scream the day it arrives.

L: (Chuckles) That’s true.

S: But they are a gift, Lynette. I know that because I’ve spent the last few hours thinking that I was going to lose mine. I realized that I would trade everything I own, I would give everything that I ever will have, for just one more day as Julie’s mom…but I’m not telling you what you should do.

L: Actually you are. And I’m glad you did.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and don’t know what to do, please call the Option Line at 800.395.HELP (800.395.4357) or visit their website at www.optionline.org. If you have had an abortion in the past and are experience strong negative emotions associated with that decision, please also call the Option Line or visit their website for more information. They are there for you.

From Episode 605: Lynette fires a handyman (Roy) who told her she emasculates her husband, Tom, because she is always the one making all the decisions in their family. She is upset that Roy is judgmental of the leadership role she assumes in the marriage. Tom sees Roy on the porch across the street and goes to speak with him.

Tom:  Hey Roy, can I talk to you?

Ryan: Sure thing, pally. (Tosses Tom a beer.) Here, take a load off.

R: If it’s about me getting into it with your wife, though, I have to stop you first and say, “I’m sorry.”

T: Well, thanks.

R: I mean, I know times have changed, but a man’s still a man; and you deserve to have your wife respect you.

T: She respects me plenty, Roy. (Roy looks skeptical.)

T: Here’s the thing you gotta understand about Lynette. She grew up without her dad. Her mom was a drinker. So she had to be responsible for everyone.

R: Yeah, well, that’s rough.

T: Yeah..it left her with this constant fear that everything could suddenly fall apart. And that’s why she needs to control everything. Of course she can’t…nobody can…but she can control me…if I let her…so I do…because it makes her feel safe.  And that is my job as her husband…to make her feel safe.

R: You’re a good man, Scavo.

T: I try. Now I have a hamburger to fetch.

If you’d like to read more about biblical manhood and biblical womanhood, click here to go to the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood.