Thursday, July 23, 2009

A week of celebration

This week in our home was our week of celebration as it marked another birthday for me and, the following day, my wedding anniversary. I give God all the praise for both occasions.

First of all, I thank God for life. The older I get, it is with greater frequency that I find obituaries in the newspaper for those who were the same age or younger than me. The deaths of my contemporaries—along with thinning hair, arthritis pain in certain joints and an increasing need to use my bifocals (not to mention the annual prostate exams from my doctor!)—make me keenly aware of my own mortality. Therefore, it is with gratitude that I celebrate 46 years of life. Looking at this photo, I think I have held up well, by the grace of God.

I’m reminded each day that life is a gift from God. I thank God that He has let me live to see another day, to behold the work of His hands in creation (His “handiwork”), to praise Him in word and song, and glorify Him with my life.

I also thank God for my marriage. Catherine and I have been married for 19 years. I thank God for keeping us together. The Bible teaches, and I believe in, the sanctity and life-long permanence of marriage. According to the Bible, the relationship between a man and woman in marriage illustrates the relationship between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). I feel I could no more legitimately forsake Catherine than Christ could forsake His Church. I took seriously that vow I made 19 years ago to take Catherine as “my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, to honor and cherish till death do us part.” I would take that vow all over again today.

Unfortunately, like many American families, the Duncan family has been deeply affected by marital discord. My family is relatively small: only twenty people—parents, children and grandchildren—not counting spouses. Eleven of us are age 20 and over. Out of eleven, seven of us have been or are married. Out of the seven who have been or are married, four (over half) have been divorced. Between the four, there are seven divorces (plus one marriage which is over, except for the divorce papers). Obviously, our family has been deeply impacted by divorce, and I could go on for some time describing the emotional, relational and spiritual fallout of all these divorces. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16 NASB), and so do I.

Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” I found a “good thing” when I married Catherine. I trust we’ve been good for each other. By the grace of God we made it 19 years, and I hope and pray that, by that same grace, we’ll be able to grow old together.

I’m also thinking about the generations that will come after us. Even now, I pray for godly young ladies to marry our sons and become our future daughters-in-law. I pray for godly grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I pray that Catherine and I can leave a legacy, through our children, of marriages that last, to the glory of God.

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