This day, exactly 47 years ago, on the 4th of July 1970 a man and woman stood before a minister, in a church in a small town in South Africa. They were about to be tied together as husband and wife.
- My father sat with tears in his eyes. He could not believe that the in-laws refused to heed his warning that I was bad marriage material.
- My future wife’s father was glad that his youngest daughter at last got a husband (at the ‘ancient’ age of 24). He just hoped for the best.
- My wife’s sister and mother told her that it is a disgrace not to get married, a disgrace to retain your maiden name. She mustn’t be so finicky. She should just get married. If it doesn’t work out she can always get divorced!
It was strange that a man who had very little knowledge about God, married a young woman who became a follower of Jesus when she was ten years old. I wondered:
- Why do I get married in a church? My answer was, tradition! Little did I know that the Lord would in due time instruct me that marriage was His idea, that is why I got married in a church.
- Why did she consent to marry me? Heaven knows (which was true). She said God told her to leave the matter in His hands and He will sort it out.
- So, there we were, listening intently to the minister on how we should approach marriage. For a follower of Jesus to marry someone who knows nothing about the Lord is hard at times. However, things changed decidedly when I (Gerard), allowed the Lord into my hardened heart. That saved our marriage so that today, we can celebrate God’s goodness to us together.
- I can’t remember what I promised the minister I would do. When one rejected person unites with another rejected person, it is sure to produce friction. So there were times of unrest, but also love, and four gifts from God, four children.
- In God’s plan for us, a time of deep healing began in our thirties. We began to pray together and still do. It made a huge difference in our lives and marriage.
- Celebrating 47 years together, we can only give the honor to the Lord. We are both followers of Jesus. We are blessed by the Lord. We are in love, happy and contented to be in each other’s company. Jesus promised, when He frees a person he or she will be free indeed. That is what we experienced.
- I (Gerard) am a testimony to the power of the Gospel. I was a man who had very little knowledge (none, to be more precise) of God or the Bible, but I married a godly woman. I became a follower of Jesus. I have a future as one of God’s ‘favorite’ children. I rejoice in my great, glorious magnificent God and His blessings – four plus four children and eleven grandchildren.
Why this ode of praise to God.
- He changed our lives. Both my wife and I came from families where we are the only ones who have the privilege to be married for 47 years, with children and grandchildren that we can cherish.
- It is an absolute privilege to enjoy fellowship with the most glorious Father, the powerful Savior, and be filled with His wonderful Counsellor, the Holy Spirit.
Glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for what He did for us!