I’m sitting at my computer with my wife of nearly 50 years just a few feet away, in front of a warm wood fire. These circumstances stir up thoughts about the goodness of God and the infinite intelligence displayed in his design of family.
SHAPING ONE ANOTHER
We have been companions for the past 5 decades. Some moments have been hard, fractious and frustrating, but the overwhelming themes have been love, mutual support, encouragement, affection, intimacy, warmth and complementary abilities. We have loved one another and, at the same time, have discipled one another.
We have seen four children into adulthood, into marriage and into parenthood. We look back at many things we could have done better. Things we know now that we wish we had known then. We have been humbled by our failures as parents and basked in the joy of seeing our children do great things.
AT LEAST THREE GENERATIONS
We deeply enjoy the pleasure of 11 grandchildren, all of whom live within a short distance of us—a blessing we never anticipated. But, even though all our children have travelled widely and are mostly still engaged in other nations, they have chosen to live near us—a pleasure find hard to believe!
Our marriage relationship has been the primary human factor in shaping our Christian lives. We have argued, been angry or hurt many times, but the Holy Spirit has used these times to bring us to conviction, repentance and positive change. Our children and grandchildren have provoked us to a rich prayer life together—alternating between desperation at times, and gratitude.
Surely it is the unfathomable love of God that resulted in the design of family. He kindly, you might say lavishly, made us male and female. He decided that our intimate love with one another would result, normally, in children. He planned for the children to be nurtured in the love between a man and a woman and that their humble, determined, but joyful efforts to make their relationship work would prepare their children for satisfying living in a sinful and suffering world.
REDEEMING EVERY SITUATION
And then, He made provision for those whose lives have not begun or been shaped in the context He designed. Where children have been born and/or raised outside of a grace-filled love between a man and a woman, He extends his loving-kindness to redeem those lives and “make all things new”.
MORE THAN WONDERFUL
This Providential design is too wonderful for us to treat it dismissively or to decide that we can do better. Though He can redeem all things, we are wise to seek the best of His original design.
I think I’ll join my wife by the fire now.