Bedside Vigil: Finishing Well

by Sandi Banks

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 NIV

Funny thing about encouragement. Seems that when we need it most, God delights in sending an extra measure of it our way. Like the summer my daughter and I drove across Canada and spent a night in the home of our friend Tim’s grandparents.

His grandmother, once a gifted, vibrant “saint,” gracious and hospitable, full of youthful energy, charm, and beauty, was now aged, ill, and bedridden. Needy. Her husband served as her caretaker.

I recently happened upon my journal entry from that long-ago night. Running my fingers across the crinkled pages stained with decades-old tears, I remember it as if those tears were yesterday’s. Fresh ones fall as I read.

1 July 1998

Tonight I met a man’s man. He was not winning gold medals or flying jet planes. He was sitting quietly, lovingly, beside his wife of sixty-plus years, speaking softly to her, serving her meal, smiling as he touched her, assuring her of his presence. He communicated volumes to his beloved with scarcely a word.

She could not see or hear or speak, and writhed uncontrollably at times under the covers. This precious woman was no longer the lovely young “trophy” on his arm, no longer “useful” to him, no longer able to stroke his ego or keep him entertained.

I even wonder how much she was able to comprehend, as I was, of this quiet endeavor unfolding at her bedside—a gift, whose receiver is incapable of giving anything in return. For this godly husband, love transcends all outward limitations. He is in it for the long haul—in sickness, in health, in the untidy, and the intolerable. His own body is frail and moves slowly. But tonight, in my eyes, he proved himself to be an inimitable tower of strength.

His strength lies not in his carriage but in his courage. His faith is reflected in his faithfulness. His character is revealed by his care.

He is committed for life, finishing strong. He’s a man’s man.

Just wondering, Lord, what is it that causes one man to obey his desires and another to desire to obey? How I long to be the latter, to be obedient in the dailies, to endure hardships to the end, and to hear Your words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I slowly close my journal and open my heart to what God is trying to teach me in the revisiting of that scene. It had unfolded just after my own husband of twenty-two years announced that he no longer loved me and decided to toss out the wife of his youth in pursuit of others.

So, that night, in all its poignant contrast, was a beautiful, living portrait of a man in pursuit of his God, who enabled him to love well, endure well, and finish well.

May we all open our hearts to Him, that His light might shine so sweetly and faithfully. And may we all draw near to our loving Heavenly Father, who holds us close in our brokenness, tending to our needs, encouraging our hearts. 

He simply loves us. No expectations. No rejection. No pointing out any frailties, failures, or faults. Pure love. Unconditional love. Everlasting love.  

Lord, please help us all to love like You.

Serve one another in love. –Galatians 5:13 NIV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Sandi Banks is an author and devotional writer for numerous publishing houses. As a storyteller, she draws upon her years of ministry and travel in 40 countries, living abroad, leading Bible studies, and hosting Summit Ministries’ worldview conferences. Her passion is bringing the hope of Christ to hurting women through writing, speaking, and mentoring. Find her at sandibanks.com

Join the conversation: Have you ever seen someone serving in unconditional love? With no hope of anything in return?

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9 thoughts on “Bedside Vigil: Finishing Well

  1. Thank you Sandi – a beautiful story of Godly love – I worshipped my husband who left me for someone else when I got busy with babies – the Lord was there to catch me in my despair – putting Him first and watching others do the same is what true love is – God bless you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bless you, and thank you, Christina. Your testimony is beautiful and I know God uses it to touch many hearts and point them to Him. Aren’t we humbled and grateful for the privilege. 💕

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Terri. You’re always such an encourager. 🌹Yes, His unconditional love is something we might easily take for granted. So reminders are good. Bless you, My friend. 💓

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    2. Thank you, Terri. You’re always such an encourager. 🌹Yes, His unconditional love is something we might easily take for granted. So reminders are good. Bless you!💓

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  2. Oh Sandi, this brought tears to my eyes and I know to every reader. What faithfulness, unconditional love and commitment to God. May we all remember such a story when our own Beloveds are needy. I’m so glad God never forsakes us on our own.

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    1. Thank you, Kathy❣️. Yes, it is such a tender memory. Many women I minister to have never known that kind of love from a man; many have no future hope of it either. That’s where the Lord comes in, with His faithful forever love. 🥰 So good to see you at AWSA. Blessings and love!

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