To My Husband on His Retirement

Dean, beaming, on his last day at work after his co-workers presented him with this cake

When the time of his service was over, he returned home. – Luke 1:23 NIRV

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24 ESV

Finally, the day has come. Your retirement. We’ve dreamed, planned, worked, and prayed. For years.

I have to admit: I’m a little scared. Because, after over forty years, there won’t be a regular paycheck every two weeks. Time to test the faith we profess: that God will supply everything we need (Philippians 4:19), so we don’t need to worry about tomorrow or the tomorrow after that or all the tomorrows God has in our future here on earth (Matthew 6:25–33).

My heart and spirit know this, but I’m having a little trouble convincing my head, which has always been the practical part of me. The part that wants to see before I believe.

But how much more do I have to witness?

God has always been there for us. Remember how He provided the heating oil we needed the first year in the “house”? Or a repairman for the recycled furnace?

I used quotation marks around house because it wasn’t really a house yet. It was a concrete block cubicle, an unfinished basement into which we moved when our first child was four and our middle child was 11 months old. The third one, a surprise, came along four years later when we’d just moved the bedrooms upstairs.

Dean takes a break from building the deck.

Our house-in-progress took over 30 years to complete. But complete it you did – while working 11-, 12-, sometimes 14-hour days. And finding the time to take us camping and being the husband and father we needed. Not only did you teach our children by example the value of hard work, you showed us all patience and steadfast love in action.

I’m so looking forward to the time together. At last!

It took me several weeks to get out of a funk after spending every day with you during the 10-day vacation we took exploring Michigan this past summer. I missed you terribly when we came home and you went back to work.

The high point of my day has always been the moment you walk in the door after work.

And now I get to be with you all day, every day. Except the days you go hunting or fishing. Or when I push you out the door so I can get some writing done.

My brother cautioned me to “be gentle, understanding, and patient” as you transition to retired life. To which I answered: “All of which I am not.”

And now, after four decades of faithful, loyal service to your employers, you deserve a long, healthy, happy retirement doing the things you didn’t have time to do all these years – hunting, fishing, going for long walks in the woods with your camera, and heading out with the camper (and me) to explore this beautiful country of ours.

I love you. Always and forever.

Bless this wonderful man, Lord, exceedingly abundantly above all he can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He deserves it. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 92:12–14

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

 

When Faith Fails

 

 

 

“Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” –Jesus, as quoted in John 11:44 NKJV

 When her husband, Jim, was speared to death by the Auca Indians he was trying to reach with the Gospel, Elisabeth Elliot, who’d just turned 29 a month earlier, was left with a 10-month-old daughter.

Yet Elisabeth didn’t pull up stakes and return to the US. She remained in Ecuador, living among and ministering to the Quichua tribe, continuing the work she and Jim began. She chose believe God, His Word, and His promises, despite the circumstances. In time, she served as a missionary to the very tribe that killed her husband.

While scant few believers will ever experience a trial by fire like Elisabeth did, we all eventually come to a point where we feel faith has failed us.

When are those times?

When others fail you. You’ve been betrayed, lied to, used by someone you trusted. Or perhaps someone made a promise – sincere at the time – they didn’t fulfill. More than once.

What then?

Check on where your faith resides.

Remember King David. He was betrayed over and over throughout his life – by close friends, by his own son. He chose not to become bitter, but to forgive and move on. That didn’t mean he trusted those who failed him. It means he chose to acknowledge we humans are an imperfect lot. I know I’ve failed others many times. I’m thankful for grace, mercy, forgiveness, and second chances.

David knew where he could put his faith and it wouldn’t fail him: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). God will never let you down.

Another time your faith falters is when you don’t get what you ask for in prayer. Your requests to the Almighty aren’t answered when and how you think they should. Or you think they haven’t been answered at all.

What then?

Ask yourself: Is my faith in prayer – or in the One who hears and answers? God will never let you down. Your loving Father knows what is best for you. His answers are always exactly what and when you need them.

Remember Psalm 5:3: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”

Another time faith may fail is when you don’t get the promised rewards for your obedience. You’ve given your time, talent, and treasure to God, to the church, to worthy causes, often at great sacrifice, expecting the windows of heaven to open and a blessing so great, you don’t have room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).

Yet the windows remain firmly shut and your coffers empty.

What then?

Check your motives. Are you obeying out of love for God or for the rewards you want?

Maybe you’ve received your rewards, but you just can’t see them. Look again. This time with eyes opened by divine perspective.

Who says all our rewards are monetary, material? What about good health? What about receiving just what you need when you need it? What about the respect of others? A good reputation? The love of your spouse and children? A roof over your head? Food on the table? Enough money in the bank to pay the bills (sometimes just enough)? A cup of tea (or coffee) with a friend? Eyes to see the sky in all its moods, the sun as it rises and sets, the birds at the birdfeeder? Ears to hear the wind in the trees, the gurgling of a brook, the roar of the ocean . . .

Blessings are all around us, if only we have the eyes of faith to see them.

Remember: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19 NKJV, emphasis mine).

Others will fail you, prayers won’t get answered when and how you want them to, and you won’t always get what you think you deserve.

But our faithful God will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). And that’s a promise you can count on.

Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief. Increase my faith. Amen.

Read and meditate on John 11:1–44

 © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.