ian & larissa

May 16, 2012 at 12:45 am Leave a comment

You’ve maybe seen this video circling around the blogosphere. It’s the love story of Ian and Larissa – but, greater than that, it’s a story of God’s faithfulness. And I guarantee that it will be the best eight minutes you spend online all day:

When people vow to love and cherish “in sickness and in health”, everyone hopes for “sickness” to mean the usual yearly cold. When we hear of marriages that survive and continue after an accident or disability, it’s incredible and heart breaking at once.

But Ian and Larissa began their marriage on those grounds. They’d been dating for 10 months in college and Ian was ring shopping when he was in a nearly fatal car crash. He had extensive brain damage. I’ve been reading their simple blog Pray for Ian for years, and he’s come so far. He can actually communicate with Larissa now, through words and not just blinking.

But there are so, so many things he can’t yet do – like walk on his own – and maybe won’t ever be able to do.

And they married anyway, years after the accident (which was in 2006 – they got married in 2010 or 2011, I think). They knew, fully, what they were getting into. And they’ve loved each other, praised God, grieved the disability, and been beautifully grateful – all through God’s grace. And they look forward to heaven more than anyone I know.

It’s stunning. Because everyone would have understood if Larissa had walked away after that to continue her own life with some shred of normalcy – or even if Ian never proposed, not wanting her to sign up for that life (well, maybe more the former. If she sticks with you, day in and day out, for three years following a traumatic brain injury, guys, you had better marry her).

It’s not human. No one can do this in their own strength. But in the midst of this pain, their story is bringing so much glory and gratefulness to God. I love John Piper’s words: “Being satisfied in God (or anything) always seems easier when all is going well. But when things you love are being stripped out of your hands, then the test is real. If God remains precious in those moments, then his supreme worth shines more brightly. He is most glorified.”

I really need to just shut up and let you watch the video on your own. But I’ll end by copying these words about Ian and his marriage from his brother:

“As a husband, I want to be strong for my wife. I want her to see me as a man in the same vein as Maximus Aurelius from Gladiator; a persistent and strong leader with good intent. In reality, I’m more like a child in middle school who’s trying to impress a girl but continually cracks under pressure.

 

But how can Ian, a crippled man who’s been stripped of many physical and mental capabilities, be this type of man for his wife?
Well, the most important aspect of service to your wife is soul-protector. How did Jesus best serve the church? By redeeming and caring for the church. He gave himself up for the church so that “he might sanctify her” (Eph. 5:25-26). He gave himself up “so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). Husbands are supposed to love their wives “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25).
We cannot save people from damnation, but we can care for them. So, the best way a husband can serve his wife is by caring for her spiritual condition and seeking her sanctification. This is the most obvious way Ian serves Larissa, and he does it well.
Ian’s joyfulness and complete reliance on God seem to bring encouragement to Larissa, not to mention his quickness to bring God back to the center of things. Ian portrays faith like it should be portrayed: as common sense. God is good and that’s the truth, even to a man in Ian’s condition.
This should reposition my focus in marriage. The most important aspect of protecting, caring and providing for my wife is spiritual. Even if I were handicapped, unable to walk by myself, and relying on her for everything, the weight of her soul on my heart should be heavier than any other burdens I might have.
I should be more like Ian, because Ian serves his wife like Jesus serves his church.”
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Entry filed under: beauty, inspiration, wisdom.

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