A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading Part One of a multi-part Grace & Truth blog mini-series on Biblical Counseling and Women’s Issues. Men—you’d be wise to read these too—to learn more about a biblical understanding of women and about biblical women’s ministry. Today’s post is from Dr. Amy Baker on I’ll Probably Be a Widow.
Facing the Facts
It’s likely that I will outlive my husband. In fact, according to statistics, apparently 80% of wives will outlive their husbands.
To be honest, I hate that thought. I don’t like the thought of being left without my husband. I’ve always wished that I could die first. Again, if I’m being honest, my reasons for wanting to die first are pretty much self-centered. I don’t like the thought of not having my husband there for companionship, support, help, and pure enjoyment. So, selfishly, I’d rather die first.
Marriage Has Been Great
I waited a long time for the love of my life to appear. I was 42 when I got married.
Marriage was unexpected in many ways. I had been a very satisfied single person. I understood God’s Word well enough to know that it wasn’t circumstances that create happiness, and I knew what Paul said about marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:28 about the fact that those who marry will face many troubles in this life.
I was surprised, therefore, when marriage turned out to be so incredibly good. I had been happy single; I am even happier married. I’m sure this is because I married the most wonderful man in the world. When God gave me Jeff, he gave me the most precious gift He’s ever given me next to His Son as my Savior. After more than a decade of marriage, I still delight in marriage. Jeff is my very best friend. There is no one I’d rather be with than my precious husband. There is no task that isn’t better if I get to do it with Jeff, no girls’ night out that could ever compare to time spent with Jeff, and no friendship that can hold a candle to the friendship of my husband.
I love my husband and I’m in love with my husband. I’m so thankful to God for the gift of Jeff. I stand in awe of God’s goodness. If being the bride of Jeff has been this wonderful and we’re still living under the curse of sin, it’s hard to fathom just how wonderful it will be to be the Bride of Christ.
Which brings me to my struggle. I want to long to be with my loved ones in heaven, but I want to more fervently and passionately long to be with my Savior.
Am I Properly Preparing for My Husband’s Death?
Since it’s likely that my husband will die before me, we are trying to plan for that while he is still alive. He has tried to make sure I know where important documents are kept, that our retirement savings will be adequate, and that I can start the lawn mower without his help. We still have a ways to go—I don’t know how to change the furnace filter yet, and I can’t cook ribs that fall off the bone like Jeff can.
As we’ve thought about preparing for Jeff to die before me, I’ve realized that I stood in danger of longing for heaven so that I could be with Jeff again. While there isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with looking forward to being with loved ones, the thing that sickened me about that thought was that I wasn’t primarily looking forward to seeing my Savior.
My marriage to Jeff is a mere shadow of my relationship with my Savior. Jeff and I have been married long enough that we can sometimes finish each other’s sentences. But my Savior knows my sentences before a word is on my tongue (Psalm 139:4). Jeff knows me really well, but he still struggles with what to get me for Christmas. (That’s largely because I can’t ever think of anything to suggest to him.) However, my Savior knows me even better. He is familiar with all my ways (Psalm 139:3). He gives me gifts I could never have come up with or even know to desire (of course, His best gift was drawing me into a relationship with Himself).
So I need to figure out how to change the furnace filter, but I want to make sure that in the end, I haven’t prepared myself to live without Jeff and neglected preparing myself to be more and more in love with my ultimate Beloved.
I want to look forward to heaven primarily because my Savior is there, and I want my intimacy with Him to be growing deeper and deeper as I prepare for Jeff’s death. I want my desire to be that my first embrace is from my Savior, that my first exclamation of joy is because I’m in the presence of my Redeemer, and my greatest delight is being united with my Beloved for eternity.
Join the Conversation
What are some things you’re doing to help you to look forward to heaven and the embrace of your Savior even more than reuniting with loved ones?