We have some very good friends here–James and Faith (names changed). They are both Kenyan, they have been married to each other for several years now and suffice it to say James and Faith are very much “in love”. When they are together, they have that “look” of deep admiration and love and devotion for each other. She waits on him hand and foot, he is always so tender and kind and gentle with her. Interestingly,they married each other despite the fact they were from different tribes—something not always looked upon favorably here. In this culture, one of the things a wife always wants to give her husband is children, despite years of trying, Faith is yet to conceive. In a culture where emotional connection is rarely demonstrated, James goes out of his way to express the love he has for his wife. In a culture where the role of a wife can sometimes be seen as “beneath” her husband or the wife can almost be seen as a “possession”, James uses every opportunity to respect and honor and elevate his wife.
Not long ago over lunch Faith began to recount to us how incredibly good and kind and generous James has been to her since their marriage. She related that recently James unexpectedly announced that he had to make a trip to Nairobi for the day. When he returned later in the evening he excitedly told her that he had a gift for her and beckoned her outdoors. Surprised she walked outside to find that James had bought her a brand new car (he had been secretly saving for a long time). But Faith protested, “James, you know I don’t know how to drive!” “No worries Faith, that’s why I am sending you to driving school next week” he countered. Then Faith asked a very interesting question: “but James, no women drive cars out here, why would you do this?”, James’ reply caught her off guard…”You are my wife, I love you, I want people to know you are free”.
So when I see Faith driving along the pot hole riddled highways and byways of this area of western Kenya, to me, it is a testimony to a husband who loves his wife…across tribal lines, even though his wife has yet to give him children,to a husband who is kind and generous and tender with his wife, a husband who loves sacrificially, and a husband who wants his wife to be free.
And then I thought about what Jesus (the Bridegroom) did for us (His bride)…how He reached out across “tribal lines” to bring us into His family, how He is so good to us, how He gives to us when we are underserving, how He loves us tenderly and sacrificially and how He too came to set us free.