Robertson McQuilkin is a name you’re probably not familiar with, but he has a story that all should know. McQuilkin is a bible scholar and was the president of Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina (formerly Columbia Bible College). In 1990 he gave a speech to the student body concerning his wife Muriel and her battle with Alzheimer’s disease. In that speech, he shared his heart for his wife and resigned from his position as president of the college. I want to share a piece of his speech with you now (if you would like, you can listen to his speech on YouTube by searching “Robertson McQuilkin Resignation Speech):
I haven’t in my life experienced easy decision making on major decisions, but one of the simplest and clearest decisions I’ve had to make is this one, because circumstances dictated it. Muriel now, in the last couple of months, seems to be almost happy when with me, and almost never happy when not with me. In fact, she seems to feel trapped, becomes very fearful, sometimes almost terror, and when she can’t get to me there can be anger—she’s in distress. But when I’m with her she’s happy and contented, and so I must be with her at all times—you see, it’s not only that I promised in sickness and in health, ‘till death do us part, and I’m a man of my word. But as I have said…it’s the only fair thing. She sacrificed for me for forty years, to make my life possible. So, if I cared for her for forty years, I’d still be in debt. However, there’s much more—it’s not that I have to, it’s that I get to. I love her very dearly, and you can tell it’s not easy to talk about. She’s a delight and it’s a great honor to care for such a wonderful person.
“Robertson McQuilkin’s Resignation Speech.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 25 Aug 2015.
Jesus encountered an interesting situation when he was teaching in in a house one day. As Jesus was teaching, a large crowd gathered around to hear and covered every possible space in and around that house. Four friends caught wind of Jesus being in their town and knew they had to bring one of their friends to him. You see, their friend was paralyzed and laid on a mat. The man needed the care and attention of his friends for survival. When the friends found out that Jesus was in town, they had to bring their paralyzed friend to him; not because he wanted Jesus’ autograph and not because they wanted to witness the great crowd—no, the friends knew Jesus could heal their bed ridden friend. The four friends started towards Jesus, but encountered the great crowd. It would have been easy for them to turn around when they realized they were not getting in the house, but these were no ordinary friends. These friends would do anything that was needed to ensure their camaraderie together. Instead of turning around, they found another way. They noticed that the roof of the house was vacant (as most roofs tend to be when made of sticks combined with clay), so they decided to scale the roof, cut out a hole, and lower their friend down to Jesus. An interesting thing to think on is the fact that this was not their house. The house did not belong to the four friends and it did not belong to the paralyzed man. Even knowing this fact, they scaled the house, cut out a hole and lowered their friend down to Jesus. As the friend was being lowered down to Jesus, I’m sure the eyes of everyone in the house were focused on him, but Jesus’ eyes were not. Jesus noticed the faith of the four friends on the roof. Upon seeing their faith, Jesus forgave the paralyzed man’s sins and then healed him.
Something I noticed in Robertson McQuilkin’s resignation speech and the story of the four friends is commitment. There are many ingredients that go into a good relationship, and commitment is one of those ingredients. Commitment is standing by your spouse when the cancer hits and says, “I’m not going anywhere.” Commitment is asking your friend the tough questions in order to see them grow. Commitment is not throwing in the towel when bad times come, but standing strong no matter how strong the winds may be.
I want to encourage you to be that friend—I want to encourage you to be that spouse. It is my prayer as a friend to not just be an acquaintance, but to be someone who is intentional in my relationships. It is my prayer as a husband to stand by my wife no matter how bleak the situation may get. Cherish your loved ones intentionally.
Mark 2:1-12 // Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 // John 15:12-15 // Proverbs 27:17