Bob and Janet are a couple in the winter of life who attend our church. Janet recently entered into her eternal rest with our Savior.
In a church like Bethlehem, its easy to not meet people, or to not get to know them. Some studies show that we can only ever really “know” about 75 people very well. So, to say that I knew Janet would be a gross overstatement, though, much can be gained from observation. Directing the technical aspects of the services and attending the South Site for the past 4 years or so, I’ve seen Bob and Janet come in faithfully each week and sit regularly near the audio console. Janet’s health struggle was very clear, though specifics were never shared with me. As I watched Bob faithfully wheel her in to church each week, I received a tiny glimpse at the great love that he has for her and the even greater love they share with our great God.
Bob would carefully put her into a position where she could best see the platform, and follow along with the lyrics in worship. When we changed venues to Lakeville South High School, Bob had to change his methods. He would bring many pounds of large and heavy books to raise her wheelchair up to a higher level to give her a better vantage point. He made sure she had a copy of the worship folder so she could track where we were in the service, and would adjust her glasses for her to make sure that she was able to see properly. I could see Janet’s lips moving with the songs of praise to Jesus. Bob adjusted her in her wheelchair I assume to help her be in a more comfortable position. When it came time for the sermon, he would make sure she had her Bible, and that it was opened to the correct passage and I would watch as Janet would track with her eyes and hand the verses in the Scriptures.
Once, I saw for a moment the kind of labor it took for Bob to care for Janet, as he lifted her from her wheelchair and loaded her with great care into their car, and this on a very cold and icy winter morning. I think back on the labor it took for Bob to care for Janet and I see with great clarity the living out of what I’m sure was part of their marriage vows together before God, “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health…”
Death has now separated them, but the legacy of selfless love that I witnessed in their lives, lives on in my heart. I pray to God for the strength to pick my wife up when she needs to be carried, the diligence to make sure that she can participate in worship when circumstances make it difficult, the patience to always make sure her glasses are on straight, and the love to give up my own comfort and ease to make sure she can be at ease and in comfort, all for God’s glory, for He laid down his life for us.
Encouraged in witnessing life and death for the glory of God.