It was hot and humid that day, August 1, 1992. I stood, and waited. Beside me stood several of my closest friends, and nearby was my father. All of us, however, had our eyes glued to the same spot, anticipating. The music changed, heralding the arrival we were all waiting for, me most of all. The doors swung open, and there she was, on her father’s arm. Slowly, stately, they made their way up the center aisle and soon he placed her hand in mine.
Jesus redeemed me. His life, death and resurrection assured me adoption by my heavenly Father. I will one day see Him as He is, and I will be like Him. Apart from this, however, despite a lifetime of showering me with blessing upon blessing, He had never blessed me as He did this day. House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord (Proverbs 19:14).
I knew then what I know well now, that this woman was so much more than I deserved. She was a living, breathing reminder of the gospel, that God gives well beyond my due. For nearly twenty years His grace graced our home in and through her. I woke up each morning astonished at what God had done for me. I went to bed each night beside His grace. I did not get the opportunity to plan a grand twentieth anniversary celebration. We will neither repeat our honeymoon cruise nor hold hands on the Champs Elysees. Instead I will travel to the cemetery.
I will, almost certainly, cry. I will certainly ache from missing her. I will remember those two days that have so shaped me- our wedding and her home going. But my prayer is that I will celebrate. I have much to give thanks for. I am thankful for the twenty years we had together. I am thankful for the eight children we had together, for how faithfully she mothered them, and how powerfully she shows in them. I am thankful for the family and friends she brought into my life. I am thankful for how she was used to help me grow in grace and wisdom, that I am a better man because of her. She spoke God’s wisdom into my life, while modeling it in her own.
All of this gratitude, however, pales in comparison to the one thing I am most grateful for. Because I love her I wanted to take her on a special trip for our anniversary. Because I love her I give thanks that she is somewhere infinitely more glorious than any place I could take her. My queen is not sailing to exotic ports but is casting down her golden crown around the glassy sea. She won’t stroll through Paris with me, but is walking hand in hand with Jesus on streets of gold. She is enjoying her greatest anniversary ever. Which is the best I could wish for for the woman I love.
My anniversary is, like every day, a day for giving thanks. He gave me more than I deserve in giving me her. He gave her more than she deserves in giving her Him. And one day He will bless me in the same way. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad.