A View From The Later Years

My amazing wife, precocious Ezra, and new pup Arwen.

My amazing wife, precocious Ezra, and new pup Arwen.

It is Thursday.  There are a few things I love about Thursday:

– it means I will head for corporate prayer at Calvary early in the morning.

– it means I will get to spend more time soaking in the text for the sermon on Sunday.

– it means I will have a date with one of my children – this week Ezra and Nehemiah and I head to Starbucks and then a park.

BUT one of the best things about Thursday is that it means another week has passed, and date night with Susan has arrived.  I love my wife.  Not as well as I should, I don’t say it enough, I don’t show it enough, and I don’t serve her enough.  But I love her.  Each year that passes with her has difficulties (mostly because of me), but each one is sweeter.  I learn more about her – more reasons to treasure her.

I read a beautiful, God-glorifying, love-saturated, marriage-exalting letter today from John Newton to his wife.  Oh God, give me – give us – the mercy to look back on a marriage, and on a life, the way that Mr. Newton did.

August 6, 1785

My dear wife,

I long to hear that you had a comfortable journey to Southampton, and that you are now with our dear friends. Nothing has taken place among us that can be properly called new; which is a great mercy. For, though you have been gone but one day, a single day, or a single hour—may produce painful alterations in a family. The Lord has preserved us through a long course of years, and in different situations, from various calamities which have overtaken others. Our obligations to thankfulness are singular and numerous.

When the carriage drove past the corner, my heart seemed to go away with it. It contained what was of more value to me than the cargoes of a whole East India fleet. Tell our niece Eliza that I love her very dearly. She would soon be well–if I could make her so. But she is in better hands than mine! I have a comfortable hope that her illness has been, and will be, sanctified to an end far more desirable than health or life itself. Therefore I leave her to the wise and merciful direction of the Lord, who loves her better than I can.

I cannot write a long letter tonight. What could I, indeed, say, if I had more time, that I have not said a thousand times over? Yet there still is, and will be, something unsaid in my heart, which I have not words to express. May the Lord bless this little separation to quicken us to mutual prayer, and to lead us to a thankful review of the mercy and goodness which have followed us through the many years we have been united.

How many changes have we seen! Under how many trials have we been supported! How many deliverances have we known! How many comforts have we enjoyed! Especially, what great advantages have we possessed, in knowing those things which pertain to our everlasting peace!

The years we have passed together–will return no more. The afflictions are gone, the pleasures likewise are gone, forever. The longer we live, such pleasures as this world can afford, will, more and more, lose their power of pleasing. Only our love, I trust, will exist and flourish to the end of life–yes, beyond it! It will always be a truth, that the Lord, in giving you to me–gave me the best temporal desire of my heart.

But the shadows of the evening advance. Old age is creeping in upon us, and the days are approaching when we shall have no pleasure–but what we can derive from the good Word of God, and the consolations of his Holy Spirit. These, if we are favored with them, will sufficiently compensate for the abatement, or the loss, of all the rest. The streams may run dry–but the fountain of living waters will always flow! May His presence be near our hearts–and then all will be well.

I am too fully employed to feel time hang heavy upon my hands in your absence; and, if I am permitted to come to you, the thoughts of the journey’s end will make the journey pleasant.  (HT: girltalk blog)


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