This past weekend I felt led to go into Steven’s Bookshop. It is nothing very fancy, just a huge warehouse filled with used books. I remembered it had a wonderful selection of Bible commentaries and Christian ministry helps and reads. Typically, as I peruse the shelves in the library or bookshop I ask the Lord to put in my hands what He would like me to read. He never disappoints! The Prayer Box recommended in our June Summer Reads resource was an answer to that prayer. He always meets me right where I am.
I left Steven’s Bookshop with God is My Captain, by Lawrence E. C. Joers, MD. He was a doctor and surgeon in the US Navy during WWII. The excerpt below is from the second chapter, That’s Love.
At one time during the war I was in Australia for a short time. While lecturing at a church I related a story that I had heard sometime before. A young couple who were very much in love had planned their future together, but war came and interrupted those plans. He was called into the army. As he held her in his arms for their final parting, they repeated to each other their promises of love and faith. Their letters were as frequent as circumstances would permit and they continued to plan for the day when they would be together again.
It was not long before this young man was wounded in a terrible battle. Both his arms were terribly mangled. He was given first aid treatment and when his condition permitted his arms were amputated. For many weeks he was not able to write the one he loved. As he grew stronger he realized his condition and he believed that it was no longer possible to have the happiness they had planned. He decided that he must send word of his condition to his betrothed. He decided to free her from her promise so she could find happiness with someone else. The letter he asked a nurse to write was something like this:
I have not written sooner because I could not. A terrible thing has happened that has brought an end to our plans. I have lost both my arms. I will never be able to work with my hands again. I won’t be able to build that little home I promised you, nor to support you as you deserve. I will never be able to hold you in my arms again. It is only honorable that I release you from your promise so that you have the opportunity to forget me and find the happiness you deserve. My heart is broken. It is best that we do not see each other again, as it would only add to our sorrow. Good-bye and God bless you and please find happiness for yourself.
While days and weeks had passed without a letter the young lady had become frantic with fear and concern. She opened the letter eagerly, but with misgivings as she noted the strange handwriting on the envelope. As she grasped the importance of the letter tears began to blur the ink where it had been written. Her thoughts were all of him and the terrible experiences he must have been through. “I must go to him. I will go to him,” she cried.
Soon she was speeding across the country toward the hospital where he was being treated. She received permission to visit him and was soon conducted into a large ward filled with injured men. He seemed to be sleeping as she stepped to the side of his bed. He was so changed that she hardly recognized his hollow face lined with marks of suffering. In place of arms there were only stumps covered with large white bandages. With a little groan she dropped down beside the bed to lay her cheek gently against the bandaged stump.
The touch awakened him. As he saw her he started as though he had been dreaming. As he realized who she was he asked, “Why did you come? It will only make it so much harder now.” Gently slipping her arms around his neck she replied, “I came because I love you. How could you think that my love was so small that anything could change our plans? If you still love me I will never leave you. I want to make up to you all the things you have suffered. I want to take the place of that which you have lost. Please let me stay and we will find happiness together.
They were married as soon as he was strong enough to leave the hospital. They had a lovely home and were very happy.
Following this story in chapter two is a poem the author wrote.
When you have found the one that you can trust each day
No matter whether near or far away;
When you are ever longing, planning to be near
The one who in your thoughts doth seem most dear;
When in your dreams each night you see the smiling face
Of one you know no other can replace,
And passing time still finds that in your heart you hold
A tenderness that has never grown cold,
When you are sure that you will stick through loss or gain,
And always gladly bear the other’s pain;
When you’ll forget about the getting and just give,
And not for self but for the other live;
When you can promise that you always you will be true,
To love and cherish until life is through;
When you can gladly say, “I do,” without a pause
Don’t hesitate to marry then, because
My heart was so very touched by this story of unconditional love. What a wonder that our Lord calls the Body of Christ, His Bride. Just as the “two become one” in marriage according to Matt 19:5, we become one with the lover of our soul, Jesus. I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. Song of Solomon 6:3. The miracle of that moment when we are born again! We become one in Him and with Him! I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they all may be as one, as You Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17: 20 – 21
What a wonder that our Lord Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding! The water He turned into wine was a foreshadowing of His sacrifice for His bride, Matt 26:27. The stone jars that held the water were ceremonial and held water used for purification.
What a wonder that His beloved bride will sit down with Him at the marriage supper of the Lamb, Rev 19: 6-9. What an amazing love! He invites everyone who believes in Him to sit at the marriage supper of the Lamb. We receive the free gift of eternal life that trusting in Him through what He has done for us brings. Share this great love with those around you. Don’t hesitate, because that’s love. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13