"The Father's Gift"
Frances and I began our courtship forty one years ago today, on January 23, 1977. I awoke this morning with much thanksgiving, and the realization yet again that no man has ever been more the beneficiary of the gift proclaimed by Solomon:
"Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord" (Proverbs 18:22).
I do not have space to adequately describe the "good thing" and "favor of the Lord" bestowed upon me all those years ago as the completely undeserved gift of God's grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. Suffice it to say that the Apostle Paul's measure of "exceeding, abundantly above all we can ask or think" comes closest to expressing the measure of mercy Frances is to me (Ephesians 3:20). Indeed, if I were ever tempted to question God's love, His Spirit would only have to whisper in my heart "Frances." This would instantly overcome the challenge as I would be reminded yet again of the Lord Jesus and His indescribably glorious love and kindness. "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift" (II Corinthians 9:15).
"For two, saith He, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (I Corinthians 6:17).
Scripture refers to the church of the Lord Jesus as His bride. "Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife" (Revelation 21:9). Believers are spiritually united to Christ in a union of oneness most vividly revealed in our earthly marriages. Moreover, our Savior views us as His Father's gift to us. "Behold I and the children which God hath given Me" (Hebrews 2:15). Consider this wonder of grace: the Lord Jesus looks upon us as the bestowal of the Father's love to Him. Just as we so rightly consider Christ as the gift to us of God's most magnanimous grace, so our Savior views Himself as a recipient of lovingkindness when thoughts of us come to His heart and mind (which is always). "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). Indeed, among the countless reasons the Lord Jesus loves His spiritual bride, the truth that she is the Father's gift to Him doubtless finds its blessed place deep in depths of His glorious heart.
When gratefully pondering the gift Frances is to me, I remember that the Lord Jesus views His church with the same gratitude of love, but in an infinitely greater measure and degree. I know of few more sanctifying thoughts, or few more sublime reasons to bow before our Lord in wonder, adoration, and praise. This very moment provides such opportunity to be thankful for the Savior who, wondrously, is thankful for us.
"Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men."