“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13, NIV2)
Marriage isn’t geared towards having our own satisfaction. If so, sooner or later we will face a monstrous shipwreck. Marriage was meant for us to learn what true servant hood means.
It is true that before we had the privilege of being married, we lived the way we wanted to: we sleep until noon, bowled until midnight, spent time with our friends whenever we wanted to . . . We were in perfect control. Then, once our marriage vows were said, we began to realize that marriage isn’t about ourselves any longer. It’s about loving and caring for that special person that our Father has sent us. True enough, there will be conflict at first, for we have trouble relinquishing the control we used to have. However, as we persist in developing a spirit of servant hood, love will abound. Life will become beautiful. For some, this may take decades to realize. I hope that won’t be your case! However, if we continue to insist on being the one in control, love will be destroyed.
Marriage is our eye-opener for what life truly means. We are here to help one another, to serve one another. As long as we rebel against this, we will never, ever be satisfied: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Gal 5:13, NIV2)
As our motto becomes: “Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight!” (Deut 6:18, NIV), our marriage will blossom. Love will become a constant, a love that is not self-serving, but is sacrificial, just as Jesus showed us the way.
What does sacrificial love look like?
Let me illustrate it: On the night of June 12, 1944, a Lancaster crew was heading for the rail marshalling yard at Cambrai, France. Their goal was to destroy it. However, the Nazis attacked their plane, crippling the port engines with their bullets and igniting fuel and hydraulic fire.
The pilot soon realized they would never reach Great Britain. The plane would end up in the North Sea. The crew would be doomed. He came up with a plan. He was certain he could succeed in stabilizing the plane for a while. During that time, the crew would have the opportunity to parachute over France and, hopefully, survive.
It was a great plan, however, no one was aware that Pat Brophy, who manned the guns in the back of the plane, was stuck in his turret, for the enemy planes had shot the hydraulic liquids that opened the door. He knew without a doubt that he would die that day.
In the meantime, all the crew had already jumped from the plane, except for Pat’s best friend, Andy Mynarski. As he was preparing himself to jump, he noticed that his friend was stuck. Despite the fire, he frantically tried to save his friend until he felt his legs starting to burn badly. He had no choice but to jump out of the plane. Before doing so, he saluted his friend and with tears in his eyes he jumped. What he didn’t realize was that half his parachute had been burned up while trying to save his friend. He fell to his death. That was truly sacrificial love, putting his friend above his own welfare.
When the plane eventually reached the ground, it started to slide in a farmer’s field. A wing hit a tree, flipping the plane around. It then flipped a few times. While this was happening, Pat found himself flying out of his prison, and miraculously, he survived. Farmers hid him from the enemy, and eventually he ended up in England. The only casualty from his crew was his friend Andy, who died a hero’s death that night.
Year later in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the Historic Aviation museum reconstructed one of the Lancasters, and Pat’s flying crew was invited to be part of its first flight, in memory of Andy. The whole crew were crying on this historic flight.
This selfless love can only be realized by focusing on the One who led the way. As long as God is our focus, we will head in the right direction. Be a blessing to your spouse. Be a blessing at church and at work.
Just as Jesus served, we, too, should have the heart of a servant. Anything else will leave us wanting: “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed-that exhilarating finish in and with God-he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Heb 12:2-3, MSG)
May we always remember to “value others above yourselves,” (Phil 2:3, NIV2)
“That’s mine!” “No, it’s mine!”
Is it really worth fighting over control?
(To access the entire “Marriage Bliss” devotional series, please click here.)