“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22
Twenty-seven years ago, I awoke in a Pittsburgh hotel a married man. The previous day was a flurry of activity leading up to our wedding, and after celebrating with family and friends, and making time to visit a few of our relatives who could not come to the ceremony, my wife and I set off to begin our honeymoon and our new life together. We did not know all that was ahead of us, but we knew that God brought us together, that we loved each other and that we were committed to sharing the journey as one.
The days and years since have been an amazing adventure. We went to college together, traveled through the ordination process, served in ministry, became parents and now grandparents. There were times of sickness and health, times that were better and worse, and certainly lean times as well as prosperous times. Just as our vows declared, there were challenges and celebrations, but through it all, we had each other and we had God.
I know some people are called to singleness, and that sometimes relationships break, but I also know, that following God’s plan leads to the blessings that really matter. When the author of the proverb says that the one who, “finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” I can say that it is undeniably true in my life. Looking back, I cannot imagine traveling this path without the woman God chose for me. I know that the hard times were made better because of her presence and good times were all the sweeter because they were shared with her. There is no question I receive God’s favor through my relationship with her.
Relationships can be challenging, but they are also the source of great blessing. Too often, I meet with couples who have lost sight of the blessing of God found in each other. The challenges and obstacles of life slowly drained the joy from them and instead of joining hands and hearts together; facing those challenges with love, commitment and the power of God, they allowed them to come between them. Then, wounded from without and within, the life of their relationship slowly faded. We too, have been through the valleys. We felt the pains of life, and we wounded each other, but we never completely lost sight of the blessing of God found in each other.
The places of God’s blessing are like that. They will be tested and tried, and it takes great effort to remain committed to overcome the temptation to walk, and even run away. It is easy to lose sight of how blessed we are, and in the midst of pain, we can even feel like the source of our blessing is the source of our pain. If we remain committed to God and to God’s work in our lives, and if we will keep the faith even when it is hard, we will be able to look back and see the provision and blessing of God, and we will walk into the future with greater strength and promise. When my wife counsel other couples, we tell them that marriage is a tough job, but worth all of the effort. Walking with God is like that. It is not always easy, but it is definitely worth it. The richness of my life found in my relationship with God and with my wife is worth so much more than the investment I have made. I look forward to the joy of the next 27 years together and beyond.
Take a moment to look at the blessings of God in your life, especially in your relationships. Tend to those special places, even if it is difficult. Do not let them be overcome by life’s challenges, but find strength in them to be the one who overcomes. Make the investment in your relationships, with God and in the places created for your blessing, so that you will receive favor from the Lord and be blessed.