Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 29- Idelette's death

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

3/29- Idelette’s Death

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16).
“Praise be to the Godand Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all our sorrows with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (II Corinthians 1:3,4)

Calvin had married Idelette De Bure, a widow from the Dutch province of Gelderland. Her first husband was John Stordeur, who had been converted from Anabaptist views by Calvin’s preaching in Strasbourg. Soon after his conversion John Stordeur died of the plague. Idelette had two children from her marriage to Stordeur: Judith, and a son. John and Idelette Calvin had a son stillborn, and at least two other miscarriages. They were married nine years- most of that time spending it with sickness. A month after they were married they both were sick. Calvin says, “I could scarcely lift a finger. While I was suffering under the weakness, my wife took a fever of a different sort. The last eight days she was so exhausted she could not sit up in bead.”
March 29, 1549 Idelette Calvin died of tuberculosis. Fifteen years later Calvin would die of it too. Calvin did not miss a sermon, a lecture or a meeting. He also was writing a commentary on Hebrews. Calvin did have a housekeeper and a hunched back servant, Pierre, to help him. Yet Calvin lived in relative poverty. Calvin describes Idelette’s death as “her heart was lifted as if out of this world.” She cried out “Please pray, all pray for me.”
Later Calvin wrote Viret: “Mine is no ordinary grief. I have been bereaved of the best companion of my life.” He wrote Farel, “I do what I can to keep myself from being overwhelmed with grief. ..May the Lord support me under this heavy affliction. A year and a half later Calvin would write, “My wife, a woman of rare qualities died a year and a half ago. And I have now willingly chosen to lead a solitary life.”
Grief is such a powerful emotion. Despite our best efforts, it controls us. It brings the strongest man to his knees, and the toughest woman laments in one way or another. For the rest of his life, after Idelette’s death, Calvin was sick.

Prayer: Thank you Lord, that you are our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Thank you that you are the God of all comfort and our source of consolation in the griefs and problems of life.

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