Reflections on Forty Years of Marriage

Last weekend my husband and I celebrated our fortieth anniversary. Unlike some who plan a monumental trip or a dream vacation, we considered several options and decided to take three days and travel to some of our favorite places on the Oregon coast—no agenda, no destination—just us and time.

Everywhere we went, we were congratulated.

  • We talked to strangers at a wayside and explained the fauna of the site. They were fascinated.
    Darlingtonia Wayside

    Darlingtonia Wayside

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  • We met others who knew nothing of the historic bridges which grace the coastal route. They left inspired.40th anniversary 009
  • We hadn’t made reservations, but the restaurant we chose for our anniversary dinner honored us with complimentary beverages and a decadent chocolate brownie dessert. One plate, two spoons. Our private table overlooking the ocean was spectacular.
  • We stopped at museums we’d missed before.
  • Driving north, many of the scenic pull-offs on highway 101 were crowded. On the way back, my husband stopped frequently for photos. We didn’t miss a one.
    Devil's Churn

    Devil’s Churn

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We realized a few things had happened in forty years. A glance at your spouse across the room can tell you what he or she is thinking. You finish one another’s sentences. You can laugh at your spouse’s mistakes and he or she won’t be offended, but will laugh with you.

Restored bridge at Waldport

Restored bridge at Waldport

Perhaps that is why the Bible states over and over again (Ephesians 5:31, Mark 10:7-8, Galatians 2:24, Matthew 19:5): “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

All in all, the weekend proved to be hours of laughter, miles of scenery, and years of memories. We’re thankful God walked this journey with us.40th anniversary 029

A Bizarre Twist on a Mangled Tale

My adult son traveled to a distant city for a work-related conference and collided in rush-hour traffic, stranding him more than a hundred miles from home. No one was injured.

Psalm 50:15 says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will rescue you. . .”

I prayed and asked for prayer from social media friends. One offered a ride through her husband, who happened to be in the same city. I met them halfway. God was good. I was grateful.

The insurance company moved the vehicle to an auto body shop for repair estimates. Preliminary figures arrived. The numbers were staggering, the car deemed a total loss, a settlement forthcoming. Amazing what damage traveling at 15 mph can do.

Meanwhile, another insurance company inquired about the vehicle. Same collision date. Same make, model, year, mileage, color and towing company. The repairman called to see if they also insured us. No.

After investigating, the repairman called back, chuckling. Two vehicles were dispatched by the towing company—identical make and model—for estimates. When only one showed, the adjuster assumed the vehicle identification number matched ours. It didn’t. The estimated damages were for the other car. Bizarre, but back to square one.

After a second evaluation, the appraiser declared our car repairable. We celebrated for a day. Then the mechanic looked under the hood. More damage. Costs mounted. Settlement offered. Though the car had been in dealer-showroom condition, if repaired, it would carry a salvage title. Difficult to insure.

God reminded me of his words in Matthew 6:19-21: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and thieves do not break in and steal, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I wish this story had a happier ending. I cried as the call to surrender the title was made. The tears weren’t shed for the car, but for the history wrapped in that mangled piece of steel. College graduation present. Wheels to grad school. A ride to and from an internship. No sum or settlement was great enough to cover the memories.

But I also shed tears of joy. God oversaw the details. Everyone remained safe. Car will be replaced. Life moves forward. Who can ask for more?

Can God Bless America?

Does this 4th of July seem more like a warzone than a celebration?

In II Chronicles 7:13, God says, “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people . . .” Sound familiar? Sort of like the headlines making daily newsfeeds. Hmmm.

The land of the free and the brave is under siege. Our livelihood, our peace, our freedoms all seem to be in danger. People ask, “Where is God hiding these days?” Maybe
He isn’t. The problem might be ours.

Several biblical instances come to mind. Moses tried to rescue the Israelites from the iron hand of Egyptian rule. When the twelve spies returned from Canaan, the people’s lack of belief and faith in God’s promises sentenced them to forty years in the desert. (Numbers 14:34)

King David endured a three-year famine. When asked, God said the drought was a result of the blood Saul shed when he killed the Gibeonites. (2 Samuel 21)

As new Christians, Ananias and Sapphira brought an offering to Peter. He asked them why they lied to the Holy Spirit. The couple died where they stood. (Acts 5:1-11)

Could it be the great God of heaven has found us wanting? Guilty of sins? Unholy?

 In the companion verse, II Chronicles 7:14, God says, “If my people, who are called by my name, humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

Though often quoted, do we really see what this verse says? God says humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from wickedness—four very clear, very distinct steps:

  • Humble
  • Pray
  • Seek
  • Turn

Then. . . and only then. . .

He will. . .

  • Hear
  • Forgive
  • Heal

God’s final words are poignant in II Chronicles 7:15: “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to prayer made in this place.”

In this time of world uncertainty–terrorist fears, severe drought, shootings, and corruption in high places–perhaps each one of us should ask what role we should play in effecting change? Will you join me on your knees and beseech the God of heavens for forgiveness and healing?

Maybe then God can bless America.