I passed by a building today in our city that was once a restaurant. It long ago became a business of a different sort, but I never see or think of the place without remembering it as it was.
My wife Frances and I became friends in the Old Village Inn Pancake House. In time, we became more than friends. Before the courting began, we met there after church and talked about the Lord, our lives, and I suppose, many other matters that 20 years olds discuss. I took her hand in mine for the first time there, a moment imprinted in my heart as the smartest thing I ever did. I am so glad that Frances allowed her hand to remain in mine, and even more, that our hearts remain bound unto each other after more than 40 years.
"Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord" (Proverbs 18:22).
As I thought of these things today, I realized that in that restaurant, the Lord gave to me my wife, my family, and the capacity for me to fulfill my calling in life. No other woman could have been for me and done for me what Frances has been and done, and no other woman was so perfectly made for my heart. Not every man can say that a woman has loved him with every fiber of her being. I can. And while I could never possibly offer the Lord or Frances enough gratitude, I do not take the gift for granted. Yes, in the long departed Village Inn Pancake House, I found a wife, a "good thing" beyond all description, and received the most undeserved and abiding favor of the Lord
If you are familiar with the Sherlock Holmes stories, you may recall that the great fictional detective found only Irene Adler as a woman worthy of his lifelong interest. She was "The Woman" to Holmes, although he never had any form of real relationship with her. I am blessed to know so very many Christian sisters who shine forth with the beauty of the Lord Jesus in countless ways. Many of you who read these messages are among those marvelous gifts of God to my heart. I am grateful for you, and as with Frances, I seek to never take you for granted. However, I know what Holmes felt about Irene Adler. I know far more because Frances is real, and I have lived with her hand in hand and heart in heart for the better part of my lifetime. Yes, I know what it means to think of one as "The Woman". I thought of this today as I passed by the place, the place of grace, where the Lord gave to me my wife, my family, and the life I have been so blessed to know. I thought of The Woman, and tried as best as I could to give enough thanks. I failed, of course, and realized as I did that even eternity will not enable me to offer enough gratitude for so blessed and wonderful a gift. "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21).
"Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
Weekly Memory Verse
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.