I am writing this on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day. Mine is not here. She is at Shalom House at a pastors’ wives retreat. She left yesterday while I was in Philips, Wisconsin at a missions conference. In a few hours we will be 2500 miles apart as I fly out to L.A. to speak for three days at The Master’s College and Seminary. So I sent her a letter to put under her door on Valentine’s Day. Here is some of what I said, and some of what I didn’t.
I am in love with you. Next year it will be 30 years that I have been in love with you. Remember the summer of sixty-six. What a summer! May the Lord give us about 30 years more—I say “about” so as not to pin him down (Not that he ever would or could be pinned down, except with his own word). I am glad you responded to my imperfect love for all these years. I owe you so much because of your patience with me. I am not unaware that there are times I do just the things I don’t like to see other husbands (or sons) do. Then later in the day, I say, “Now, if I were married to so and so, we would not be speaking for a week. But not with Noel. Here she is being nice to me.” God was so kind to me to lead me to you and make you willing to say yes to this insecure fellow.
I like to dream about our future together and the new ways God is going to spend us together for his glory, and spend himself for our good. I see us loving a people called Bethlehem, and feeding them together as long as light is on the path. I see us doing some writing together. I see us doing seminars together. I see your Noël Products flourishing in all different ways. I see the boys coming home for the holidays and making our lives bright with their happy visits. I see spiritual power abounding as we learn more and more how to fast and pray for God’s great work in our church and mission. I see us ministering overseas to tired and hungry missionaries.
I see us growing mellower and more restful in the long-proved sovereign grace of God. (O, how faithful and kind he has been to us—and to me through you especially!) I see us naturally leading people to Christ in ways we haven’t enjoyed before. I see us counseling the young 40-year-olds who are struggling with the mid-life crises God helped us weather. (Praise God for persevering grace!) I see us sitting quietly by a fire reading and talking about how the best is yet to come—always yet to come. I see us wrinkled and aching and bearing our wrinkles and our aches with grace (O Lord, let this be true for me, as I know it will be for Noël). I see our great-grand-children asking us stories about their grandparents’ youth—Karsten, Benjamin, Abraham and Barnabas. I see us looking into each others’ eyes for the last time and feeling the overwhelming sense that this life was a good beginning—a very good beginning. God has done all things well.
Forgive me for being so public with my affection. Some things are so good they just burst out.