He slumped over, shoulders sagging and and head bowed. She watched him deflate and felt her heart crack simultaneously. This was so far from the news they had expected. What seemed like a life-time of slammed doors and dreams dashed for them had appeared to be turning around...or so they thought – until this moment.
He wasn’t what you would call a proud man, but a man who measured himself by how well he provided for his family and whether or not his kids would look up to him. One of his greatest fears was to have his children grown and looking on him with pity, saying “well at least he tried – even if he never measured up”. He just wanted so much more for her and their children and he didn’t want it for free – he just wanted the opportunity to work for it.
He was sure that as she sat next to him in this silent moment that she was disappointed. This wasn’t the answer he had prepared her for, he was sure that at this moment he would be telling her that the job offer would mean stability and security for them. Something they really hadn’t experienced as a couple and something he had promised himself he would do for her. “I had the position lined up for you on Monday but things went in a different direction this week and I am not in a position to hire at this time” the email read. How could the position be there and waiting for him on Monday and be gone on Friday? How could he have thought this was all from God and have it ripped out of his grasp before he could get a grip? Hadn’t he prayed, “Please Lord, don’t let the rug get pulled out from under us this time!”? Hadn’t he searched for God’s hand in this and felt His leading? And now how she must think of him as a failure as a man.
As tears filled her eyes and her throat tightened she reached across to touch his face, he could barely meet her eyes. “I’m so sorry Love,” was all she could muster for the moment and they held each other, her crying – him doing his best not to. A mix of emotions would follow for both of them, anger for her – how dare they treat him this way? Shame for him – will I ever measure up? Will she ever be able to depend on me?
But she didn’t measure him the way he measured himself. The true measure of a man wasn’t about where he worked or how much money he brought in. She knew that the true measure of a man was far more intricate than such trivial things. A true man was measured by his consistant open and loving arms, by the way his children loved to brag about him, and by the way his friends and family knew he was always just a phone call away.
The true measure of a man was how his wife knew his loving heart for her just from the look in his eyes, how he could make her laugh in the midst of dark storms and the knowing that the best place in the world to be was in the crook of his strong arm at the end of each and every day.
Most of all, the true measure of a man, is how when the news isn’t what he wanted or even expected, he would turn and run to God instead of away from God. The true measure of a man is his choice to praise God under pressure. The true measure of a man is when his faith is tested; his true colours reflect his loving Saviour. The true measure of a man is when he is able to pray with his hands wide open saying “The LORD gives and the LORD takes away – Yet will I praise Him!”
The true measure of a man is when his wife can trust him to lead her to the foot of the cross under all circumstances.
And oh how he measured up...her heart welled with pride and thanksgiving for the gift of a true man!