My wife, Elaine, often says that Jesus is her best friend. I am not offended by this. I’m actually better off because of it. If she is able to draw her strength from Jesus, her expectations of me are less. We tease about it. Well, I do anyway. She takes it rather seriously. I try to catch her off-guard, especially when she is just beginning to drift to sleep. You know, that moment when you really don’t think about what you’re saying. I try to take advantage of that vulnerability. It never works. “Elaine,” I will say, “who’s your best friend?”
“Jesus!” The reply is quick and unapologetic.
Elaine has earned this right. A brain tumor survivor, she lives, too, with the agony of losing a son to cancer and watching another son suffer but survive cancer. Stuff like this forces you somewhere. Either to despair, or deep trust. She chose deep trust. In Jesus. Not me. I’m too fragile. Vulnerable. I admit that. I get really impatient at times. She knows it, but shrugs it off. She is extremely forgiving, often forgetting about the fight we had the day before. Were she fully dependent for her security on me, it would be different. I would disappoint her, over and over again. She would keep a record of my wrongs. Jesus, however, is reliable to her, and she knows that. He has proven himself trustworthy to her. There are times I will look at her with awe. Her Bible and journal open on her lap. Reading and writing were two things taken from her because of her brain tumor. She has strained to regain these. Not without cost. I am invited in occasionally, to help write a word, or define it – but this experience around God’s Word is too sacred for me to come too close. I do my own reading, and studying, usually across the room with my own Bible, and lap top. I will pause, look at her, and I know someone else is sitting next to her, sharing a depth and intimacy I can neither give her nor share with her.
I want to know Jesus as Elaine knows him. I want to speak to him as she speaks to him. What I long for most is to love him like she loves him.