By her own admission she was a mere sinful, mortal wife. Just like the rest of us, any good or noble character she possessed was a reflection of God’s mercy in her life and not her own merit.
Mary, pregnant with their fifth child (two had already gone to be with the Lord), was a devoted wife who was deeply in love with her husband. Christopher Love was sentenced to death for a political crime he denied. Mary faithfully petitioned parliament four times–requesting a pardon, banishment and, in desperation, begging to be executed in her husband’s place.
With a resolved trust and simple, yet profound understanding of God’s sovereignty, she encouraged her husband and entrusted him into the hands of God. The words that poured from her heart were not focused on her loss but on her husband’s gain:
…I dare not speak to thee, nor have a thought within my own heart of my unspeakable loss, but wholly keep my eye fixed upon thy inexpressible and inconceivable gain. Thou leavest but a sinful, mortal wife to be everlastingly married to the Lord of glory... (p. 1)
She understood that God planned the moment of Christopher’s death before the foundation of the world, and the events that were taking place had not taken God by surprise. She quietly trusted Him and focused, not on her loss, but on the unspeakable joy that awaited her husband and the glorious reunion they would have in heaven.
It would have been easy to despair, but Mary looked beyond the moment. She gives us a sobering reminder that God offers the precise measure of grace we need at the exact time we need it most.
On August 21, 1651, the day before his execution, Mary wrote a farewell letter to her precious husband. Although her love for her husband was deep and steadfast, her love for her God was greater. Here is just a portion of what she wrote on the eve of that sorrowful day:
My Heavenly Dear,
I call thee so because God hath put heaven into thee before He hath taken thee to heaven. Thou now beholdest God, Christ and glory as in a glass; but tomorrow, heaven's gates will be opened and thou shalt be in the full enjoyment of all those glories which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither can the heart of man understand…
…O let not one troubled thought for thy wife and babes arise within thee. Thy God will be our God and our portion. He will be a husband to thy widow and a father to thy children; the grace of thy God will be sufficient for us…
…Farewell, farewell, my dear, till we meet there, where we shall never bid farewell more; till which time I leave thee in the bosom of a loving, tender-hearted Father, and so I rest till I shall forever rest in Heaven. (pp. 84-85)
Mary Love, certainly full of grief over the prospect of losing her Heavenly Dear, laid aside her own feelings and fears. With a sinking spirit but a soaring faith, she gazed heavenward for her strength and trusted God.
When we face an impossible situation–loss of income, loss of a loved one, difficult church relations, marriage difficulties, a rebellious child, and more–our strength is drawn from the same well as Mary’s when we trust God and lean on Him.
I can only imagine, from a pale distance, the staggering loss experienced by the families of the Columbia astronauts. Evelyn Husband, like Mary Love, must draw strength and hope from her loving and tender-hearted Father. She must pray and trust God in raising her little ones for His glory, knowing that God will be her husband and a father to her children. Mrs. Husband also has the hope of a glorious reunion in Heaven and the honor of knowing her husband served God and honored His name–right up to the last–on a mission bound for glory.
…Be comforted concerning thy husband, who may more honor God in his death than in his life… Christopher Love, Written from the Tower on the Lord’s Day (p 99)
The quotes by Mary and Christopher Love, found in this article, are taken from the book, A Spectacle Unto God: The Life and Death of Christopher Love, by Don Kistler, ©1994 by Soli Deo Gloria. Used by permission from the publisher, http://www.ligonier.com/