I’ve been married to my wonderful wife for over forty years. She is still fascinating and perhaps the best Christian I’ve ever known. An unexpected gift to me when we married was her family. Our whirlwind romance didn’t let me know her family. When I finally knew them, they were polar opposites of my family. It took some time before I understood the profound gift God gave me in them.
I am blessed with Godly in-laws
As a young man in love, I filtered everything through the lens of who I thought my wife was. I didn’t see her family as they were. Instead, for me, they were extensions of my young wife. However, married life is a process of stripping away preconceptions, surrendering useless ideas, and resurfacing the husband and the wife, so they do become “one flesh.” This refurbishing happens in all successful marriages. For me, one of the thousand changes was how I understood the functioning of a family.
God blessed me with Godly in-laws and innumerable family members. However, my greatest blessing was not how many precious people came with my wife when we married. I found my greatest blessing in my steadfast, Christ-centered Father and Mother-in-law. They taught me how to “family.” And in their lives I found a lesson from God.
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.1 John 4:9-10 NLT
God did something unimaginable. To show us how greatly He loves us, He sent Jesus, His one and only Son, into the world to be tortured and nailed to a cross to purchase salvation for everyone that will take His exclusive offer. The sacrifice of Jesus demonstrated the love God has for us, and He did this while we were still in open rebellion against Him. That is hope. That is salvation. That is life-changing love.
So, how does my in-laws’ love toward me figure into today’s message? Well, please don’t misunderstand what I’m about to write. I write this knowing how far above Jesus is from us. Still, I see a shadow of my God in what my in-laws did.
My in-laws gave their daughter, whom they deeply love, to me to be my wife. Yes, I asked for her hand in marriage from her and her father – that’s a whole other story. At that time, they didn’t know me, yet they loved me. From the start, they proved their love to me. And through my wife, I came to understand their sacrifices and open arms. It took me quite some time to “lean in” and receive their love. My in-laws didn’t consciencely take 1 John 4:9-10 and strive to humanly demonstrate how God loves us, but their actions followed God’s example, which profoundly impacted my life.
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