Saturday, May 25, 2019 -
Today is Kathie and my 38th wedding anniversary. We enjoyed reminiscing in the visitor room with Josiah and William about that Memorial Day weekend, at a time when I was living in Los Angeles, that I talked Kathie into eloping with me to Las Vegas.
After arriving in Las Vegas and getting the needed wedding license, Kathie got cold feet. We talked about seeing an advertisement for 50 cent jumbo shrimp cocktails and $5 steaks, and we enjoyed that.
By 9:30 at night, I finally coaxed Kathie into the courtroom and into the chambers of the Justice of the Peace. His name was Judge Strong. He asked if we wanted a Christian ceremony or a civil ceremony. We told him a Christian ceremony, and he told us, “Then this is serious,” and seated us on a big leather couch and talked to us about faithfulness and commitment, then promptly called in two of the cleaning staff still there working, to witness the ceremony. He explained what a serious thing marriage was, and we were surprised by the judge’s admonition and advice.
When he finally pronounced us man and wife, he asked where we were spending the night. I told him we had been told every hotel room in the city had been sold out for the holiday weekend! He then asked (we were wearing jeans and sandals) how much money we had. I told him I had $100 left, and that we were planning on driving back to Los Angeles.
To our surprise, he told us to go down to the Maxim Hotel, ask for the manager, and tell him Judge Strong sent us and to give us a room for $60. “$40 will get you back to Los Angeles,” he told us.
Surprisingly, the manager met us at the door and took us up immediately to a players’ suite on one of the top floors. I have never seen such a hotel room like this, let alone stayed in one! There was a sunken living room and an adjoining bedroom, both round in shape, with everything circular.
A huge window stretched maybe 30-40 feet, or more, across both rooms, looking over Las Vegas. The bed was huge and round, and the tub, also in the bedroom, was as big as a swimming pool with multiple shower heads. What a place to spend one’s wedding night!
It was the beginning of a truly blessed journey where God’s hand has been upon us each step of the way. In my work, I’d been writing copy for a project selling Larry Burkett’s Christian Financial Concepts, and took his teaching from Scripture to heart, learning we needed to get out of debt and recognize that we own nothing, but are mere stewards of whatever God entrusts to us. We realized we needed to be generous, and never deny anyone we encountered with a true need. As time went on, we discerned you really can’t out-give God, and His blessings are never-ending as long as we remain faithful to Him.
We still believe that, and don’t doubt it a bit, despite our current circumstances. For we know God has a purpose even in our suffering, and we are to rejoice in our trials and tribulations. In the end, we will look back on even this stage of our lives, just a blip in the timeline of eternity, and be amazed at God’s sovereign plans we weren’t even able to fathom at the time. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
An so, on this, our 38th wedding anniversary, I thank and praise God for my bride who has stood by me through thick and thin, and for God’s faithfulness and blessings too numerous to count. We both are so looking forward to the miracles and purpose He has in store! And on this day, I am especially reminded, “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).