Men. A thought-provoking guest post about them by Rebekah Neal:
In his beautiful, rich book, A Promise Kept, the late Robertson McQuilkin recounts a humorous but poignant story. (You can read more about Robertson McQuilkin here.)
McQuilkin was caring for his wife Muriel in their home. He had resigned as President of Colombia Bible College in order to be her full-time caregiver, a conviction which he believed the Lord had personally placed upon his heart.
Muriel had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at a comparably young age and would often have accidents as her disease progressed and her memory worsened. She came to the point where she could not control her bodily functions and went to the bathroom on the floor.
McQuilkin recalls cleaning the mess up, while at the same time trying to keep Muriel from “helping” him to clean (he was concerned that she would slip and hurt herself.) As he was cleaning, McQuilkin, who had been listening to a Charles Swindoll broadcast, suddenly heard Swindoll say “Men, are you at home? I mean, really, at home?” And McQuilkin, seeing the humor in the situation, replied, “Yeah, Chuck, really I am; do I ever wish I weren’t!”
Men at Home
And so often we hear of women at home. Women who speak glowingly of their husbands and their children. Women who value the title of wife and mother. Women who build their lives around their spiritual calling to fulfill the feminine roles that the Lord has entrusted them with.
This is evidenced in the subject matter of many, many Christian women’s blogs. Often, the focus is upon marriage, children, and other homemaking interests. Not always, but often.
It is a God-honoring focus. Women seeking to fulfill their God-given roles in the unique and personal ways that the Lord is leading them to fulfill them.
But men… men at home?
Reading to the Children by Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann
The Homecoming by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe
This is something that has been upon my heart, especially in light of the Josh Duggar scandal, as well as other recent incidences.
Are our men really at home?
And some of them are. Definitely are. Their hearts are “at home,” serving Jesus in whatever vocation He has called them to, supporting their wives and children, loving the Lord with all their hearts and leading their families in worship and praise of Him.
The Widower by James Tissot
But we have to admit, if we really want to be honest before the Lord, some of them are not.
And we love them, and we pray for them, and we want the best for them through the Lord, but their hearts, as it stands, are not “at home.”
We want our men to be at home. With us. With our children. With their God. But they are not. Something else captivates them, whether it be work, a hobby, another “love.”
Something else captivates their hearts. And they are not at home. Not at rest. Not at peace with God and with their family.
They may give lip service, but don’t really care about spiritual matters. Or perhaps they have grown cold towards their First Love.
They are not at home.
There are other men who give all the appearance of being at home. They attend church regularly. They fulfill their duties. They help around the house. They do what is required of them, and perhaps beyond what is required.
But their hearts are not at home. Not really. Their heart is bound to their electronic device, or their social media, or their work. They are actors but not real men at home with beating hearts of love and devotion and joy and selfless sacrifice.
They are lukewarm.
A part that always makes me chuckle in the Disney movie The Aristocats involves the English geese and the male cat, O’Malley. The female geese question whether or not the cat is married, and he evades the question. One of the geese looks him squarely in his shifty eyes and states–“You either are or you’re not,” To which he replies, “Alright, then; I’m not.”
We need men who are at home. Men who love the Lord with all their hearts and souls and minds and strength. Men who lead their families; men who take the hard, costly path of obedience; men who follow in the footsteps of our precious Savior.
There are men at home.
Freedom From Fear by Norman Rockwell
I have seen them in action. I have read of them, watched them, looked up to them, appreciated their devotion, commitment and love.
I thank God for the men who are truly at home.
Painting by Sir Samuel Luke Fildes
What about those who are not?
The answer is not manipulation. It is not ungodly pleading. The answer is not to ignore the problem, to falsely convince oneself or others that a man is “at home” when he is not.
The answer is prayer. It is fasting. It is pleading with God.
The answer is surrender. Entrusting oneself and one’s family over to a merciful and loving Heavenly Father. Entrusting the situation over to His love, knowing that He will work good from it.
We all struggle with this malady. Sometimes we are not “at home.” We are not in the center of God’s will. We are running, either physically or mentally away from it; we are wasting the life that the Lord has given to us on things that do not matter. We are not “at home.”
May He have mercy upon us. May He work in our minds and our hearts and our homes to be faithful to Him, to love Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength.
May He encourage men to become true men of God, leading their families in the ways of the Lord. May He strengthen women to be the discerning support of the head, praying, encouraging, strengthening.
May our families be built up in Him.
Men at home. Women at home. Children at home. In Him. Because of Him. Only by His grace.
Rebekah Neal is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, the wife of her dear husband, Bill, and the mother of two cherished little ones, Deborah and Elisha. Her desire is to know and love the Lord more profoundly and to grow deeper into His ways. Rebekah loves the woods and their rambling paths, her family, working with her hands, singing, reading missionary biographies, gardening, and the smell of wood smoke on a cold autumn night. One of her first loves is writing prose and poetry about the workings of her Heavenly Father in the greatest and smallest details of life.
Please visit Rebekah’s blog Ready To Be Offered.
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“Without the will, marriage is a mockery; without emotion, it is a drudgery. You need both.” ~ Ravi Zacharias
Thanks for reading!