Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3: 3 – 4
I will always remember the time before our 26th anniversary! I call it Part II.
We had just experienced several difficult months of trying to accept Bob’s unexpected diagnosis of cardiomyopathy – a condition in which his heart had become enlarged and weakened. There had been talk of the possibility of sudden death, a heart transplant, a defibrillator, hospitalizations, weakness, and the inability to live a normal life. The future looked uncertain and scary, and to say the least, it shook up our otherwise normal, complacent world.
We had always had a good marriage, but just like most of us do, we often took each other for granted – thinking we had a long future ahead. Bob had traveled a great deal for years with his job, we were involved in the kids’s lives, I was teaching and helping to take care of my mom, life was busy, and we rarely took the time to enjoy spending time together.
Then came this. After many tears, prayers, times of fear and absolute panic at the thought of watching him go through such a painful ordeal, God and I had a little talk, or He had one with me. In His still, quiet voice, I think He told me pretty clearly that it was time to trust Him and to get on with life. Bob agreed and we found our peace.
We can look back now and see that this experience became such a blessing in disguise. It made us realize then that our years together could be limited, and we had to appreciate each day as never before. Every day became a gift to us (and continues to be all these years later). Our words to each other became kinder, our laughter a little more frequent, our time together more important, and our hearts much more grateful.
And then came our 26th wedding anniversary. It seemed to mean more than any of the others, and Bob gave me the most cherished possession I have ever owned. It was a simple, gold chain necklace with a small, diamond heart charm. It was a beautiful, amazing gift for such an occasion, but it was even more valuable to me for a much more important reason. For a man who loves life and loves to laugh, and has never been particularly sentimental or romantic, this was a priceless gift – the most special gift of all. He gave me this heart to remind me of what we had gone through together and how with God’s grace, we had learned to look at each other and life in a new way. He said that he gave it to me so that I could wear it close to my own heart always as a reminder that his heart, his love, and God’s love would always be with me.
Oh,. . it could have been made out of tinfoil for all I cared! For we both understood the symbolic meaning all too well and every time I wear it, I remember the blessing of his love, the gift of God’s love to us, and I appreciate them both even more.
What a precious gift and wonderful blessing we have in those we love, but even more precious is the one of knowing that we have a God who loves us even more – so unconditionally, so completely, and so abundantly. And in return we should show our love and faithfulness to Him – a love based on honor and commitment – especially in terms of being the very best we can possibly be.
We are to be in awe of His greatness and His goodness to us. And we should seek to be genuine, caring people, who have a longing to live out His truths in our lives with every word and deed as we seek to show His compassion, love, and mercy to others.
How much we take His love for granted and assume it will always be present. How often we fail to tell Him of our love, appreciation, and gratitude for His presence and for the blessings of life. And how little of ourselves we give to spending time with Him and sharing His love with others. “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Perhaps, we think we don’t need an outward reminder of God’s love and faithfulness to us, but do we? Do we need that little message bound around our necks or “written on the tablets of our hearts”, so that His love is always before us and never to be forgotten?
Hopefully, we have already allowed His Spirit to write His truths on our hearts, they have become embedded in our souls, and He has become as much a part of our lives as breathing itself. And if and when He does, it is up to us to carry His love out into the world and share it with those around us. “Then we will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Who could ask for more!
Our most gracious God, may we be reminded daily of your love and faithfulness to us and may we freely share this blessing with others, giving you all honor and praise for your presence in our lives. Amen