On December 27, Margaret and I celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. God is good, we praise Him! On a radio interview two years ago regarding the ministry of ACTION, the interviewer asked how long I had been married. I told him 38 at the time and he said, “Oh, wonderful! 38 good years!” I said, “No, only 37.” Surprised, he said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, in the first year I discovered what a selfish, inconsiderate person I was. Even though I was a Christian, I was not following the Word of God in caring for my wife as I should. I was very demanding (Margaret says she doesn’t remember any of this, but I sure do).”
Marriage is one main area of the Christian life in which we need to trust God to use us for His glory. To do this, we need to be godly people by loving and serving our wives and husbands. We need to do the same for our children, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers, and coworkers. We serve them by being gracious, kind, considerate, compassionate, humble, longsuffering, gentle and forgiving. We need to put on a “heart of compassion and kindness” (Colossians 3:12). A question we all should ask of ourselves everyday is: Are we kind to others?
Recently Margaret found a letter that I had sent to her mom and dad (Walter and Helen Jespersen) on Sunday, April 2, 1967, the month we officially became engaged. When I went to India to serve for two years with Operation Mobilisation I put an engagement ring on “layaway” for only $5 (all the money I had). Over the year, I paid the ring off (a total of $120) from a special gift I received in a TB sanatorium while in India (people are always sorry for you when you are sick!). I was able to pay the ring paid off just before Margaret’s graduation from Bible School in Canada. I wrote Mom and Dad and asked them to pick up the ring and give it to Margaret after she received her diploma. It was interesting to read the following letter to Mom and Dad:
April 2, 1967
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jespersen,
Trust this letter finds you “safe and sound” at Prairie! The days have gone by so swiftly that it does not seem possible that Margaret will be graduating in just a few days.
Up to this time I have not heard from you nor my mother as to whether or not she sent the money in time for you to pick up Margaret’s ring as planned. I do hope (as well as pray) however, that everything was taken care of and that you now have the ring in hand…son to be on your lovely daughter’s finger!!!
Mr. Jespersen, I have written instructing Margaret to make her way to you as soon as possible after the program as you had something for her from me. You can then give her the ring…placing it on her finger for me. This is only temporary, as I will repeat it for myself in person some day…Glory!
I really appreciate all that you two have done to help me out in these matters. It seems strange to have to call on the bride’s parents to help a fella out; but I would rather call for help than do nothing for her at all.
Again I say…thank you for helping Margaret be the lady that she is…a beautiful young Christian lady after God’s own heart! I trust that our prayer together will always be:
Since our eyes were fixed on Jesus
We’ve lost sight of all beside;
So enchained our spirit’s vision,
Looking at the Crucified.
Sincerely in HIM,