February 14, 2020
We love him, because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
When I met Anne, a wonderful friendship began. Our families were friends and spent vacations together. On one of those vacations, while we were all enjoying the fantastic views of Canada, the San Juan Islands, and Mount Olympus, from Hurricane Ridge in the State of Washington, I slipped behind the group and gently put both hands around Anne’s waist. She grabbed my hands and pulled them up tight. She got my message and I got hers! Love was blossoming. That night, as our group sat around the campfire, I sat next to her and held her hand. The year was 1940—she wrote in her diary that life begins at forty.
In October 1942 I received a draft summons. I asked Anne, “Will you marry me after the war, Lord willing?” She said, “Yes.” By the following summer, however, having been apart for so long and with little hope of the war ending soon, Anne became discouraged. She had heard, “Long engagement, no marriage,” so she wrote me a tear-stained letter suggesting that we break off our engagement. It hit me like a bolt of lightning. I was already fighting to keep my head above water, trying to be a Christian in the army, and when I received her letter I, too, became discouraged. I took the letter and hiked out to a huge dry drainage ditch at the end of the runway. There, I prayed and prayed and prayed.
A few weeks later, I came home for the last week of our church camp meeting. Anne was there too, and on Friday of that week I asked her again, “Will you marry me?” She said, “Yes.” “Will you marry me next week?” “Yes.” The Lord opened the doors. Just three days later, we were married. We had a four-day honeymoon before I headed back to the base, and we were happily married until the Lord called her Home.
Though Anne and I loved one another, this is more than just another love story. The first love of our life together was Jesus. His Word made clear to us that we were to love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. He taught us what true love is, and we filled our home with that love.
Everyone loves to hear the words “I love you.” Let our utmost expression of love be to the Lord on this day.