The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us or forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His rules. 1 Kings 8: 57-58a
1925 was the year Mussolini declared himself dictator of Italy and Hitler published "Mein Kampf". In 1925, the Scopes Trial said evolution shouldn't be taught in public schools and in 1925, Wally Pipp, first baseman for the New York Yankees felt sick and asked for a day off. Lou Gehrig took Pipp's place and played the next two thousand one hundred and twenty-eight games. In 1925, Clarence and Mayme Vail got married.
There have been many changes since 1925. Mussolini and Hitler, along with their World War, are ended. Lou Gehrig's record of consecutive games has been broken, and evolution is now taught in public schools. Things have changed, but Clarence and Mayme are still married.
Clarence and Mayme are now listed in the "Guinness Book of World Records" as the longest-living married couple in the world.
Now with eighty-plus years of marriage under their belts, one would think the couple might be able to impart some serious wisdom. If you ask them the secret of their success, beyond not dying, they will tell you there is no secret. They seriously believed the promises they made to each other and to God. Mayme put it this way: "You take your vows, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and I guess you just stick to it, come what may."
And things did come. There were six children and thirty-nine grandchildren, one hundred and one great-grandchildren and forty great-great-grandchildren. Along with the good also came the bad. In 1946 tuberculosis came to Clarence. Mayme promised if her hubby survived, she would attend Mass every day for the rest of her life.
She kept that promise for sixty years, too. She kept it until they moved into a retirement home last year, and she had to cut down to two Masses a week.
The things said in last week's MSNBC article had me searching the Scriptures. I thought Clarence and Mayme's words seemed familiar. They were. When Solomon dedicated the Temple he said, "The LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us or forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments. . . "
That's what Clarence and Mayme did. They trusted God, and He has been with them, as He is with all those who rely on Him. Through better or worse, richer or for poorer, God has stuck by us come what may.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, for the witnesses made by Scripture's heroes of faith I am most grateful. May I learn from their faithfulness as well as their foolishness. But may I also see the examples of Your people who are all around me today. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries