I had one of the greatest privileges a father can ever have last weekend. I turned over the primary watchful care of my only daughter Sarah to an incredible young man, Nate Alderfer, as they were married. Our whole family is so delighted and thankful to God for this man of integrity God has brought to her. This marriage is living proof of Psalm 37:4: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
I want to share with you the letter I wrote Nate on this special day. I know the original Promise-Keeper will be faithful to Nate and Sarah to help them keep the promises they have made.
I prayed for you today as I do every day.I prayed for you before I knew your name, before I knew what you looked like. I wondered how God would bring you and Sarah together. Now I know, and I couldn’t be more delighted. Your obvious devotion to Christ, and your committed love to my girl makes my heart as full as it can possibly be.
I thank God for your parents, who have invested so many prayers in you. I am so grateful that they have led you through their own examples in the blessings of loving Jesus Christ and your family with priority attention and faithfulness.
As I see you seek God’s will in your life, my heart overflows, because I know that a man who loves and follows God with all of his heart and soul will love my daughter with all of his strength.
I am trusting you and our heavenly Father with so much. I know that you are up to it. Up to this point, every day of her life I have considered it my responsibility to make sure Sarah knows how deeply she is loved, how high is her worth. Today that responsibility becomes yours. I have been the man against whose life she judges others. Today you become that man. I have full confidence in you.
Because I do, I want to remind you of some things you know, but I have found in my own marriage (just a side note—she has learned from the best.Sarah has so many of her mother’s amazing qualities—you are so blessed!) these things to be vital.
Stand strong in the face of temptation. Guard your mind. Our world offers everyone a front seat to sexual sin.Just because you are married to the most beautiful woman you know will not be enough to keep you pure unless you keep your heart firmly guarded. I will stand in the gap for you, praying that God will sustain you and give you strength all the days of your life.
Gentleness is a sign of great strength—humility a sign of greatness. Make those the core pieces of your dealings with Sarah, and she will grow in her love for you with every moment that passes.
Hunger for the Word of God. You will be led by wisdom and truth, and will lead your family in those ways as well. Choose wisely. Have fun. Work hard.Don’t sweat the small stuff or the big stuff. Forgive quickly and fully. Be content with what you have. Plan for the future, but don’t lose the joy of today.
You will experience days that bring you down to your knees. Stick close to each other. And be glad. In your worst times, God is shaping you into the man and woman he designed you both to be.
I am feeling gratefully proud. God has helped Patty and me raise a beautiful girl who understands the value of purity, patience, and faithfulness. She lives them. She comes to you, pure and faithful to you and her heavenly Father. She is a woman of virtue and strength. She knows that her inner beauty is of greatest value, and she knows how to stand alone with poise and conviction. She is a treasure.
For some years now, she’s been praying for you, too. Today is the answer to all of our prayers.
Thank you for being the man for whom we prayed. You are loved by an almighty God and by your second dad and mom.
Welcome, son. You are a gift.