"Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value." Proverbs 31:11 (NIV)
The jeweler smiled as my fiancé and I touched the loose diamonds she'd strewn across a square of blue velvet. "So, what's your budget?" she asked, her tone hopeful.
Bill gulped and answered, "$400." On a college teacher's salary, it was all he could afford, but I still winced when he said it. Even all those years ago, $400 meant a very small diamond. Teensy weensy.
Except for the flaws. Those would be huge.
The jeweler guided us to the other end of the counter. "I think we can find something here that will suit you." Out came another velvet square, but the diamond chips she placed on it nearly disappeared in the nap of the fabric.
Bill listened as she explained clarity and carat weight, while my gaze drifted back to the larger stones still on display. Their many facets caught the bright store lights, winking at me, beckoning me.
Diamonds are forever, I told myself. Surely there must be a way we could swing something larger.
When no solution came to mind, I chose a pretty but petite gemstone and tried my best to be excited.
Bill touched my elbow. "Make sure you're happy with it, Liz, while I look around."
I was happy with Bill, no question. The dearest of men, godly and kind. But was I happy with a diminutive diamond? Hmmm.
Here's the ugly truth: As a single woman, I'd grown accustomed to buying whatever I wanted, even if that meant pulling out my credit card. My frugal fiancé, though, was a cash-and-carry kind of guy.
Still, he did say he wanted me to be happy ...
I waited until Bill was out of earshot before I leaned over the counter, waving the jeweler closer. "Could I look at the bigger stones again?"
She placed them in front of me without a word. "I really like this one," I whispered, eyeing a square-cut beauty. "Suppose Bill gave you a check for $400 and I slipped you a check for the difference?"
She looked at me evenly. "Are you sure that's how you want to begin this marriage?"
Heat flew to my cheeks. "No, I ... uh ... guess not." I quickly turned away, ashamed to have my sins spread out like so many finely cut stones. Greed, deceit, covetousness, pride — oh, it was not a pretty sight.
Then I recalled today's key verse from Proverbs 31, long committed to memory: "Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value."
From across the room, I studied Bill — a man who deserved a woman he could trust with his heart and with his wallet — and silently begged his forgiveness for even considering such a thing.
The jeweler was right. That was not how I wanted to begin my married life. Thank goodness I'd just been handed something even more valuable than diamonds: a second chance.
When I turned back to the jeweler, we were both smiling. "You are absolutely right," I assured her. "The smaller stone will be perfect." And it was.
Year in and year out, I flashed my ring like it was the Hope Diamond, because for me, that's what it represented: hope for a marriage built on honesty, not deception, and a forever kind of love that would outshine any sparkling gem.
Now that our silver anniversary has come and gone, Bill — bless his generous heart —recently bought me a new diamond. Square-cut, of course.
If there are flaws, I haven't noticed them. I'm too busy offering a prayer of thanks for a grace-giving God who overlooks my flaws and polishes me clean every morning.
Lord, thank You for Your gentle, but firm, correction in my life and my marriage. I'm beyond grateful that You enable me to love and respect my husband. Be honored and glorified in our lives. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: Philippians 2:3-4, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." (NIV)
James 3:13, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND: Think of a similar situation when you might have veered in the wrong direction. How did the Lord keep you from stumbling?
As you thought about a similar situation, what did that experience teach you about God's constant guidance and tender care?
© 2014 by Liz Curtis Higgs. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org