“You remember the other day,” Stan asked, “when we were talking about one of my neighbors and his story about how his future father-in-law had such an impact on how he came to faith?”
“I do,” I replied. “It had to do with loving his wife just as Jesus loved and gave Himself for the church.” [Note to reader: see the posting for June 1, 2022, “The ‘Just As’ of the Cross.”]
“That’s right,” Stan said. “This morning I want to focus on something else my neighbor had to say about his wife, marriage, and the life they have had together.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Well,” Stan replied, “in the first place it seems that the neighbors were quite young when they got married and he had become real serious in reading and studying the Bible trying to figure out what God had to say about marriage. One day he ran across a verse in the Book of Proverbs that really impacted his view of marriage and the woman he had married.”
“Impacted him? In what way?”
“He saw the relationship between what the apostle Paul wrote about husbands loving their wives,” Stan replied “and what one verse in the Book of Proverbs says about rejoicing in the wife of his youth.”
“Loving and rejoicing,” I commented. “Seems like they could be related.”
“More than ‘could be related’,” Stan replied. “I would say that loving and rejoicing are to be essentially linked.”
“But what if a husband doesn’t feel like rejoicing in his wife?” I asked.
“I don’t see that it says anything about rejoicing if a person feels like rejoicing. It says to rejoice. Period. End of discussion!”
“What if she’s not the wife of his youth?” I asked. “What if they got married when they weren’t so young?”
“Seems to me,” Stan replied, “it’s to be a matter of rejoicing whether the wife was young or not so young when they got married. Rejoice in her!”
“And love her just as Jesus loved and gave Himself for the church,” I commented.
“You got it,” Stan replied.
“Another question,” I said. “What about the guy who isn’t married and doesn’t have a wife to rejoice about?”
“How about what the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome?” Stan asked.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice!” he replied with a smile.
Bible verses to consider:
Rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5:18.
Enjoy life with the woman who you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you . . . . Ecclesiastes 9:9.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25.
Rejoice with those who rejoice. Romans 12:15.
But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . joy . . . . Galatians 5:22.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that I can rejoice because I know I am going to spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you, too, that I can rejoice over the people you sent into my life to bring me to the truth — and for the people you continue to send into my life for your purposes. I confess that too often I am not filled with joy so I cannot rejoice. The reason for that is usually that I am filled with self rather than with you and your joy. Please forgive the foolishness of living a life without rejoicing. And please help me in following every step of your lead so I do rejoice, so I am filled with joy so I can and will rejoice. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you rejoice because you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when your time here is completed? If no, why? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with rejoicing over the people God brings into your life? If you sense the need for change in how you view rejoicing over other people and how you do rejoice in and with them, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?