After twenty years of marriage and rarely spending so much as a night without my husband Bruce, circumstances had kept us apart for over a year. Our two teenage sons and I were doing Christian volunteer work here in the beautiful Philippine Islands, while he was in our home country of Canada, fundraising for our work here and helping our older sons get settled into new jobs and lives. It was one of those do-what-you’ve-got-to-do situations, but I missed Bruce’s company and emotional support. So did the younger boys.
A few months earlier I told Jesus how much I wished Bruce could be with me for my birthday, but as the day approached I resigned myself, at least mentally, that it wasn’t going to happen. Flying halfway around the world isn’t cheap, and Bruce was working almost nonstop, as usual. But my heart didn’t want to play along.
My birthday came, and I was getting ready for the small gathering we had planned with friends, when one of them told me to get dressed up. They had prepared a surprise, and someone would pick me up in 15 minutes! Puzzled, I quickly put on some makeup and my nicest blouse and ran out the door.
Another friend was waiting in the driveway, engine running. She drove a few blocks before telling me where we were going. Because the volunteer center where I work and live is such a busy, often noisy place, my friends knew that opportunities to sleep in or get extra rest are rare. So in order to make my birthday special, they had arranged for me to stay at a nice hotel for a couple of nights. I could relax in a nice air-conditioned room, enjoy the hotel swimming pool and other facilities, and sleep all I wanted—my own personal oasis of peace and quiet. To think that they had gone to so much trouble for me made me feel very special and loved.
We arrived at the hotel, and she handed me the key to the room. No need to check in, she said matter-of-factly. That had already been taken care of. With a smile and a twinkle in her eye, she drove away.
I climbed the stairs to the second floor, put the key in the keyhole of Suite 9, and turned it.
The first thing I saw when I opened the door was a table with a lit candle, a heart-shaped birthday cake, a bottle of red wine, and two wine glasses. Could it be…?
Bruce came waltzing out of the bedroom, wearing a big smile and a tropical shirt, singing “Happy Birthday.” I jumped into his arms and we hugged for the longest time, stopping only occasionally to look at each other and for me to try to shake the feeling that it was all a dream. It was such a romantic surprise! It also happened to be almost our 21st anniversary. All couples should be so blessed as to get a second honeymoon in a tropical paradise like the Philippines!
I felt so overwhelmed by the love that God showed me in answering my secret prayer, just to make me happy. I was awed by the thoughtfulness and love of our friends and co-workers who went so far out of their way to arrange such a nice hotel room and set it up with candles and wine, a birthday cake, a tropical fruit basket, and even romantic background music. They had not only thought of everything, but they also had managed to keep it a secret for weeks, ever since they’d started working out the details with Bruce. Dear Bruce! I felt overwhelmed by his love.
Bruce explained later that Jack, a businessman whom he had met in Canada, sponsored the entire trip. If it had not been for him, this very special and romantic time together would not have been possible. Thank you, Jack! Thank you, Bruce! Thank you, wonderful friends and colleagues! And most of all, thank You, God, for answering prayer!
God says in His Word, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”1 And He means it!
My Gift of Love—A message from Jesus
When you are with the one you love and feel warmed and comforted by his or her love, thank and praise Me for it, because this is indeed a gift from My heart to yours. The love that you feel through your loved one is a manifestation of My great love for you.
There is a time for everything—a time to be alone, and a time to enjoy the close company of another. To help make the road easier, I give the gift of companionship to most people at some point in their lives. When I give it to you, remember that it is a special touch of My love and care for you.