“By God’s grace, the Spirit worked a powerful and transforming work of repentance in my life. Soon after, I started praying for a godly husband and father for Noah. February 14, 2009, was my first Valentine’s Day as a born-again Christian. I had just turned 23. I was sad God hadn’t answered my prayer for a date that day. Noah was only two years old so I decided to take him on the trolley. He had been wanting to go on the ‘train’ for some time. That date with little Noah, my heart was flooded with God’s love. The Lord used a verse reference printed on the bottom of a Forever 21 shopping bag to open the door for me to share the gospel with a young girl. It was exhilarating. I remember driving to the train station and asking God to reveal to me the extent of His love. On our way home, I was awestruck by the thought of how overwhelmingly great His love is. I told Josh this story, and we agreed on a Valentine’s Day wedding. Josh was happy our anniversary would be easier to remember. I thought it sweet of the Lord to answer my prayer for a “date” on Valentine’s Day four years later with a husband.” (On Loan from the Lord, 31)
Praise the Lord for this answer to prayer! Marriage was one of the best gifts of my life after salvation. At trying times, I’ve been tempted to wonder why God would take this wonderful gift away? Honestly, I don’t know and may never get the answer to this question. However, because of how sure I am about God’s goodness and love, I can say like Job, “He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21) For I know the Father’s love never abandons His children nor forsakes us because Jesus was forsaken in our place as a result of our sin. There is now nothing that can take His love away (Romans 8:38-39). As another Valentine’s Day approaches I can look to the cross and pray again–even more boldly– that God would show me how much he loves me, “Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.” (Psalm 17:7)
And I can still pray for another “date” with a God-fearing man. The Bible says young widows should marry (1Tim 5:4). Some will judge widows and widowers for the desire to remarry, but I doubt they have walked the rocky road themselves. Most young widows and widowers desire remarriage. It’s not that one is looking to replace our old spouse. That would never even be possible—nor our hearts desire. After tasting the goodness of the Lord in marriage by God’s design naturally, one would want to smile again and embark on a new adventure. It would be a new journey, with a completely different person and thus a distinct relationship. Parents can love more than one of their children, even if a child has died and they have a new baby. Their lost child is never replaced, but the new one brings them renewed hope and joy.
Similarly, a widow can love a new man as much as she loved her deceased husband. When we look at what the Bible defines as agape love, this becomes crystal clear. Love means sacrifice—laying down our life for another. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) For a widow to love again would mean that she is willing to lay down her life and live a new life devoted to a new man–knowing he will be far from perfect and unlike any other. For a man to be prepared to love a widow would mean laying down his life to embrace her despite her past. Wouldn’t that shout the gospel?
The story of my late husband redeeming me in marriage and adopting my son as His own beautify displayed the gospel, and that is one reason I would do it again. A widow or widower may rightly desire to remarry because they want another chance at romantic love as a reflection of God’s love. They may want to apply what they learned in the past (mistakes and victories) to be a better mate. It would be harder to take their spouse for granted—for they know by experience that marriage is not an eternal but a momentary portrait of the forever love of Christ. The steadfast love of the LORD is not only everlasting but better than any earthly relationship or treasure. May we marvel in God’s love more and more as we wait for Him!