A couple of weeks ago, our family had the privilege to join with the rest of my wife’s family in celebrating my in-laws’ 50th Anniversary. We hosted an open house at their church for them, and then almost the entire family – we missed you Reid – spent three days together near Yellowstone Park.
As a pastor, I deal with marriages in turmoil all the time. Sometimes it is the couple I don’t know, who calls me one day and asks if I do counseling. They share in my office for one evening, but when I don’t have the quick fix answers they are looking for, I never see them again and next thing I know they are divorced.
Other times it is a couple in my church, friends that I know well. In those times I have the privilege of helping them work through some turmoil with the goal of making their marriage better than it is already. Every marriage, even good ones, go through their rough patches.
Being confronted with marriages in various levels of crisis, from mild to serious, makes me appreciate the accomplishment of my in-laws all the more. 50 years of commitment to one another. 50 years of faithfulness. 50 years of friendship. 50 years of dependence on God and dependence on each other.
And the fruit of those 50 years was on display a couple weeks ago in a cabin perched above Hebgen Lake. All three of their children married believers committed to God. All of their grandchildren are walking with the Lord. And their first great-grandchild is due to be born into a family that is committed to raising their children to know and love Jesus Christ.
Now I know my in-laws well enough to say that when/if they read this, they will divert all the glory to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And they should, since it is God’s grace that sustains us each and every day of our lives. As the apostle Paul reminds us, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8) That includes the good work of being committed to your spouse and committed to raising a family that knows and loves the Lord.
Yet at the same time, although I will be the first to say that it is God who works in us and enables us, I do want to say this as well. Jim and Linda, thank you for being willing to pursue the things of God for 50 years together. Thank you for continually choosing to cleanse yourself from what is dishonorable. (2 Cor. 7:1, 2 Tim. 2:20-21) Thank you for faithfully working out your salvation in front of your family for 50 years. (Phil. 2:12-13) Thank you for living the type of winsome Christian life that drew my wife to Christ rather than turned her away. Thank you for 50 years of example, of faithfulness, and of obedience.
May God’s blessings rest on you now and forever,