Two couples sat across from each other, each having more wrinkles and grey hair than their first meeting decades earlier. We were first brought together as neighbors, our shared love for the Lord and common interests sparked our friendship. Between us we had eight children then, seven boys and one girl. Each family was just beginning their journey of home schooling. Eventually, job opportunities separated us by many miles... and time marched on.
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate. Ps 127:3-5 (NAS)
This week we reunited for a short visit. Today, we now have twelve children between us...eleven boys and one girl. We have a common bond again...our adult children are getting married, and it happens that two of our children will marry at the same place just months apart.
You would never know that years and miles have kept our friendship from daily interchange; you would think we had walked the last 17 years as neighbors. We shared our journeys...both couples' mixture of joys and tremendous struggles. We both agreed we were glad God didn't show us ahead of time what the journey would hold. We both celebrated that our paths had crossed again.
Then during the chattering exchanges, trying to catch up on the past years and present day news, the husband stopped us all. He gently spoke, "Before I forget to do this...I want to thank you both for being faithful."
My throat choked up and my mind went to Gideon as the Lord declared him valiant. My mind also went to Moses as Moses questioned the position God was calling him to walk.
How could this couple, who we hadn't had the joy of walking close beside for years, call us faithful? They just didn't know the whole story. Surely I needed to fill in all the gaps of our sin.
Then God tenderly touched my spirit. The words from the man of God weren't his words. They were words God was having him say to encourage us.
They left...far too soon.
I noticed that I walked a little taller. I started back into our home and, in the Spirit, I picked back up the weapons I had allowed to be stripped from my hands. I put the arrows in my bow (the Word of God) and mentally directed them at the enemies' lies....those lies of failure, the lies of lack, the lies that our marriage wouldn't make it, the lies that our children wouldn't walk in their spiritual heritage...all of the lies.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph. 6:12
Just one short sentence put this warrior back in the game. Maybe that is why scripture tells us to encourage each other while it is still today.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13
So I turn now to you to say, "Thank you for being faithful!" So many times, your written words have encouraged me in my journey. Your faithfulness has declared the truth of His word. As a fellow sojourner in this walk on earth, you have shown me faithfulness... and I am both encouraged and grateful.