I've done all my growing up with the charming and beautiful Susan as my partner. I've been with her for more than half my life. We met just a few days after I turned twenty. She was only nineteen. I married her before I turned twenty-one. Today, our marriage is twenty-two years old.
We've been on marvelous journey together. She introduced me to faith in Jesus Christ. We've grown together in that faith. We've put our faith into practice in marriage, parenting, and service with God at the center of all we do.
Like all marriages, the foundation of that marriage has been attacked from outside forces and we've allowed it to be undermined from the inside by our own selfishness. These challenges have forced us to build and rebuild, examine and remodel, tear down and re-construct.
The night that Charity called in despair over her baby near death, our lives changed forever. We cried out to God in anguish; we questioned Him angrily.
"How could You let someone hurt this incredibly precious, innocent little baby?"
Both of us asked this. We always felt we had the answers to the theology of suffering but never knew how dark and lonely and disorienting suffering would actually be. We never knew God would be so quiet.
We both tried our damnedest to hear God.
It wasn't until we both individually made a choice to live for God in spite of what we were going through, that is, the ripping apart of our family, leaving friends, surrendering property, that things started to change. As I watched the faith and obedience of the charming and beautiful Susan and her selfless mothering and caring for me, we turned a corner. I saw God working in her and I started to see Him at work in places I wasn't looking before. He was at worked through every situation I was most critical of; the places I was fighting Him the most. He worked through my friends, my family, you readers, and through that familiar, still small voice. I was starting to hear again.
I don't know how any of this could have happened if I didn't have the incredible partner He gave me. I see the amazing wisdom of God at work in my mate.
I never knew I could experience the depth of love that we have in our little trio. I genuinely look forward to the company I keep every single morning when we have our time together over coffee before we take on the day. Our love and joy are overflowing; they far exceed the suffering of the past year and a half. We didn't get here over night. It has taken two decades of sowing into a field that's been our life together.
If the last twenty-two years has yielded this kind of payoff, I can't wait to reap the benefits of the next twenty-two years.