No River Too Wide
By Jack Kinsella
Knowing many of you as I do through our forums and gatherings, I suspect I am not alone in calling Louis L’Amour one of my favorite fiction writers. I’ve been a fan of his books ever since my Dad gave me my first copy of “Hondo.”
Louis L’Amour had an ability to capture history and deliver it fresh to his readers. His characters were rich in honor and nobility, and, as L’Amour himself noted on his book jackets, “I’ve walked the lands my characters walked. When I write of a spring, that spring is there and the water is good to drink.”
A line from one of his novels stuck in my head when I first read it and its sentiment remains with me to this day.
In narrative style, L’Amour described a married pioneer couple, saying something to the effect of, “When a man and woman ride the same trail, there’s no mountain too high, and no river too wide.”
I can’t remember which book it was, and I’ve probably horribly mangled the quote anyway, but it was the truth contained within that always stuck with me.
According to statistics quoted in Michael Medved’s blog, the urge to marry is universally powerful. Noted Medved;
“Statistics indicate that more than 95% of us eventually get hitched, and that even among those who go through the misery of divorce, more than 75% decide to get married again (“the ultimate triumph of hope over experience,” said George Bernard Shaw.)”
I suspect what Shaw is expressing in his quip that marriage is ‘the ultimate triumph of hope over experience’ is almost as universal as the urge to marry. Statistics that indicate that half of all marriages end in divorce tends to support that suspicion.
The kind of marriage Louis L’Amour described is the kind that God intended, but few of us ever find. At any given time, half of us are still looking for it. The married half of us are still evaluating the situation.
But for that lucky few of us fortunate enough to find the mate God intended us to have, there is no mountain too high nor a river too wide.
Gayle left this morning to take her mother home after a two month visit. Much as I enjoy Evelyn, I thought I’d be glad when she went home. Two months is a long time in a little beach house.
But as I watched her march up to the ticket line at the airport, I realized how sad I was to see her leave. She is so much like Gayle it was like having two of them.
Gayle flew up with her, and is going to spend a few days helping her catch up after her two month absence. Since its only for a couple of days, I thought I’d be glad to see her go, too. I thought I would enjoy the solitude. Sigh.
I’ve been home from dropping them off at the airport about two hours. Although Gayle left written instructions posted on the fridge, the coffee I made myself when I got home tasted like dishwater.
I’ve turned on every TV in the house for company. It’s much too quiet. It’s like having my arm in a sling. I’m not quite whole and everything seems more complicated.
It’s when Gayle is away that I realize I am blessed with one of those God-ordained unions. It helps me see the truth of L’Amour’s romantic vision of ‘No river too wide; no mountain too high.’
When I am alone, they all look too wide and too high.
When God created Eve, He created her specifically as a ‘help meet” or help-mate to Adam. After surveying His creation and pronouncing it “good” God turned His attention to Adam, specifically noting that “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
The first marriage had its share of adversity, and not unlike marriages today, Adam blamed God for giving him such a poor excuse for a wife:
“And the man said, The woman WHOM THOU GAVEST TO BE WITH ME, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” (Genesis 3:12)
God wasn’t impressed with the excuse. God cursed them together, they were driven from the Garden together, walked together, faced adversity together;
“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” (Genesis 3:21)
The Apostle Paul gives the recipe for a Louis L’Amour marriage in his letter to the Ephesians:
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the saviour of the Body.” (Ephesians 5:22-23)
Husbands love to quote these verses to their wives, but I doubt any of them took time to analyze it and see what it really says.
Paul likens the husband’s role to that of Christ’s role to the Church. The responsibility for the sins of the Church was placed on the Lord’s shoulders and He paid the penalty due.
Paul tells the wife to submit unto her husband because God places the responsibility for her obedience on the shoulders of the husband.
To the husband, Paul writes;
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” (Ephesians 5:25)
Jesus gave Himself to the Church in totality. Not only did He die for it, while He was on earth, He LIVED for it.
It is worth noting that God assigns ALL the responsibility to the husband today, just as He did with Adam. “She made me do it,” was no excuse then, and it isn’t any better now.
The wife’s job is to trust her husband and work with him to narrow the rivers and lower the mountains so they can make the journey together as help-mates. It’s beautiful when it works.
Sigh. I’m rambling. Can you tell I miss Gayle?