Weekend Ponderings: Faithful “Even When”

When fat cells grow, and hormones go
And gray hairs fill the sink again.
I will still be here, you know.
I will love you, even when.

This little ditty captures the essence of the marriage bond — for better, for worse, forever. Over the years I’ve watched as various friends and family members had this bond tested in the extreme by illness, infidelity, and financial ruin.

One example that sticks with me is the memory of my maternal grandmother tending to her husband as he battled first alcoholism then Alzheimers. Even when he grew belligerent and had to be locked in to keep him from wandering the streets at night, she stuck with him. It wasn’t a sentimental, syrupy kind of love; it was a love that did not shy away from personal inconvenience or pain.

It was the kind of love that persisted “even when.”

Such memories get me through the tough times, when the pace of life quickens until the days run together like Sarah’s watercolors, one barely distinguishable from another. Trying to figure out how the hours are best spent, and where, can be overwhelming. Tempers flare, frustration rises … choosing the joy becomes more and more intentional.

Choosing to love, even when.

In matters of faith, this choice is just as important. Choosing to believe, to trust, to stay. When people and even whole institutions let us down, remaining faithful despite it all requires that we tap into a source of power greater than ourselves. Temptations to defect are everywhere. As we read in this weekend’s reading:

In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
But wicked people and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived.
But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Lord, help me today to stay faithful … even when.

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