It’s Janet’s Birthday – But I Got the Gift!

Today is Janet’s birthday. She really didn’t want to do anything special; so we took it easy this morning, went out and had lunch at Kona’s, and then headed to church for the early Saturday service. Then, of course, we watched Butler defeat VCU, and for the second year in a row, Butler will head to the NCAA Finals on Monday night. Janet thinks it has been a perfect birthday. How much different from the way we used to celebrate her, and my, birthdays. We used to load up on gifts, have large cakes, big family gatherings, and all the other touches you usually associate with major annual celebrations. But now, more than ever, we just enjoy being together, and it doesn’t make too much difference what we do.

Janet has always been a woman of great faith – in fact, for years, I would say that she carried the family when it came to having faith in God’s plan. Even when I used to struggle with my faith, Janet was always the steadfast one, and it is because of her that our marriage has withstood the test of time. She even went back to work and helped support the family when we made the decision that I should attend seminary. Oh, sure, I have been committed to her just as she has been committed to me, but I admire that she has such faith in God’s divine plan for our life together. And for years, both as a mother and as a wife, Janet has born the brunt of raising the children when I was working, and has taken on the duties of managing the affairs of the house; many times, a thankless job.

I feel lucky to have her, and she would say the same thing about me, but the odd thing it, it is not really luck at all. We really were, in the truest sense of the word, made for each other. Because she was created by God and He has known everything about her since before she was even born. He knew what she would look like, how she would act, her friendships, her incredible capacity to love, and that He would give her as a gift to me – and me to her. And after all, we are told in Genesis 2:18 that Eve was created as a mate for Adam and it has been since that beginning in the Garden of Eden. And the Scriptures are full of verses about husbands and wives and how they should be together.

Admittedly, when we were younger, I don’t think that we really understood what it meant to be devoted to God, much less what it meant to be given this type of gift from God. Of course, we have asked Christ to be our Savior, and have accepted the gift of His grace, eternal life; but we have also accepted the gift of each other from God as well. And if Janet and I had not been born, neither of us would have been complete without the other. So, twice a year, on February 19th, and again on April 2nd, our birthdays, we both celebrate the gift God has given us of each other. And many times, it is a quiet, and even unspoken, celebration. But we both know what birthdays are all about.

Throughout the Scripture, there are verses that confirm God’s gift to spouses. In Proverbs 19:14, we are told, “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.” Or how about Proverbs 31:10, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Notice how in each verse, there is a reference made to material abuandance – in the first verse, houses and wealth – they are temporal things – of the world, or cosmos in the Greek; and in the second verse, rubies, or jewels, and how they pale in comparison the the value of a wonderful wife of character.

So that is the lesson for tonight. Relationships with our spouses are far more important than those material things we consider most valuable. And that is because God put a greater value on human life than on any other thing in the universe. After all, He created us in His own image. So my encouragement tonight is to consider that you are a child of God and he has created a way for every need of yours to be met. And my prayer is that you may be blessed with a gift similar to the one that Janet and I have found – each other. So please make sure that you thank God for caring enough about you to know your needs, and to provide for them.

Well, enough for tonight. Janet is watching the second semi-final game, falling asleep in her chair, and is waiting for me. And we still have time to thank God tonight for His wonderful gift of her life and our life together. And, then again, there’s also tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, because we really thank God every day for His gift to us. Happy Birthday, Janet. Grace and God’s Peace ……………….

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