For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. – Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 5b
Following approximately four years of dating, Marcus Shand took our daughter Esther out for a canoe ride on the Conestoga River Thanksgiving morning and there asked her to marry him. As parents of Esther, Ruth and I had often wondered what would be the final outcome of their dating relationship. Now we have the answer as Esther responded to Marcus' question with a "Yes." So another son-in-law is now in the plans! When the wedding will be is yet to be determined. Having been previously blessed with a truly great son-in-law in the form of Jason Rausch, our hope and prayer is that Marcus will prove to be of the same blood as Jason.
Elder Dave Graves and I are currently reading Jonathan Edwards' classic book, The Religious Affections. The book was written in 1746, in part to give clarity to what has come to be called "The Great Awakening." But prior to reading my used copy of Edwards' book (purchased over eBay), I found two pieces of paper inserted in the book upon which are lengthy quotes. The first paper/quote was written by R. L. Dabney to his adult age children as sort of a "last will and testament" to them regarding his expressed desire that they "seek after peace with God…wait diligently upon the means of grace…(and) follow God fully." The second paper/quote was written by Jonathan Edwards on May 27, 1755 to one of his children (not identified) who was living some distance away from home at the time of the writing. In this latter letter Edwards challenges his child to "always set God before your eyes, and live in his fear, and seek him every day with all diligence: for He, and He only can make you happy or miserable, as He pleases; and your Life and Health, and the eternal salvation of your soul…depends on his will and pleasure."
When Marcus spoke to me some days prior to asking Esther for her hand in marriage, I told him that he had my blessing. But I then followed up that statement with a challenge: that Ruth's and my deepest hope for him (and Esther) would be that he would "hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6) and in so doing lead Esther and their children, should God give them children, in that pursuit after righteousness. That righteousness, of course, can only be found in Jesus Christ. Marcus assured me that that indeed is his deepest desire as well.
So this past Thanksgiving day, around the Winne family table, we were able to especially express gratitude to God for his mercies and kindness and that he had provided us all with another to embrace.