In a world of confusion, pain, and uncertainty where the best in us is tried and questioned on a daily basis, where cynicism is exceeded only by bitterness, as a 75-year-old man married to a 70-year-old lady for 50 years, I want to go on record as saying that there is still something real, honest, pure, and sweet in this fallen world.
There is one day a year set aside for lovers—Valentine’s Day. But for some of us lovers it requires 365 days each year to celebrate a union that renders poetry, flowers, and candy inadequate.
When It All Began
God, with the heart of an artist and poet, spent a good portion of eternity contemplating the best form in which to express the deepest intimacies and communion of his Godhead. The overarching guiding principle could only be forthright self-expression, something “in his image,” something—someone—just like himself in nature, thoughts, and feelings. Since God is a tri-unity composed of the lover, the loved, and the Spirit of love, so must be his creation. He would make creatures in his image, male and female, joined by a spirt of love and fellowship, just like the eternal Godhead.
And just as precious gifts are presented in adornment suited to their value—jewelry in a gilded container with a bed of velvet, candy in a bright, reflective, heart-shaped box, and presents wrapped with paper and ribbon—so before God exhaled his work of art, he designed surroundings suitable to the loftiness of his crowning jewels. With an eternity of planning, it took only six days to adorn a corner of the universe with a beautiful, rotating, blue jewel, lighted by a brilliant star and covered with a great variety of fascinating geographical features, home to a multitude of intriguing creatures to fill the land, air, and sea. And for a final touch, God planted a special garden filled with the best of every edible plant, a paradise of fleshly indulgence. At last he formed an eternal creature with a temporal body and breathed his own breath into its nostrils, awaking to life the creature that would be the most painted, sculpted, and celebrated form of all creation. God had a family.
I know. What went wrong? I wrote a whole book to answer that question. It is appropriately called Divine Design. In short, what went wrong is free will. But the same free will that allows us to create sin and unthinkable misery also affords us the opportunity to ascend to heights well beyond our created natures. Free will is a door leading down or up. Only a few choose the path of fleshly self-denial that leads up to higher expression of the divine nature—a fulfilment of the Creator’s original intention. Some things God cannot create: memories, character, repentance, forgiveness, courage, endurance, perseverance, conquest, and glory. Such things come from our free and unhindered choices.
God in his wisdom designed the best context for human development—marriage. A man and a woman joined in a lifelong commitment, sharing body and soul, working together to perfect their personal human condition, living in a state of goodwill and commitment is God’s perfect plan for elevating his creation to its greatest expression of God-likeness.
Some grow tired of trying. You may be such a one. Some, plowing through the darkness, come to doubt that it is even possible to ascend the heights.
So after 50 years of marriage, I am here to testify that we have indeed lived the life of peace, joy, and love. Through sickness and health, for poorer and poorer, through friends that betray and enemies that rejoice at our adversity, we have walked above it all to a plane of divine provision, enjoying each other, our five children, and 26-plus grandchildren, getting better and better each day, looking for that blessed hope of his appearing and to an eternity of growing in our divine natures.
My wife is my love, my life, and my joy, as is the God who made her for me. God is not jealous of my love for her, for to love her is to love his work of art and praise him for the making.