Love Stories Countdown to Valentine’s Day #14:
Through the fiery furnace

There is a famous New York City pastor called Tim Keller. He’s a brilliant theologian, pastor, and apologist for the Christian faith.

During one of his Oxford visits I spoke with his wife, Kathy Keller. Now, while I adore Tim Keller, my respect for him skyrocketed after listening to a recording of them doing a marriage seminar. Kathy Keller did NOT sound like a simpering, sweet, demure, submissive, agreeable pastor’s wife. Oh no. She was a fiery, independent, smart-as-a-whip woman with a tongue that was as sharp as a double edged sword. Oh snap! What can I say? Strong women appreciate other strong women.

When I met Kathy Keller in real life she did not disappoint. She was exactly how I imagined she would be. Quite the firecracker. To be honest, she had all her defense mechanisms up while talking to me. I don’t blame her. When your husband becomes a celebrity minister in the evangelical world, you become the target of many unkind, undeserved, and frankly, uneducated censures when your husband doesn’t preach what people presume he should.

Anyway, as I was talking to Kathy Keller she remarked “I feel I have to protect Tim because he’s so soft-hearted.” We were standing close to Tim Keller as he was engaged in a conversation with another Oxford student. Kathy turned and gave him an affectionate pat on the back.

In that moment, as she was facing her husband, all the defense mechanisms fell. I saw her love for him that was so unguarded, genuine and true that if I had to describe it it looked like a string of gold that had been heated until it glowed. It looked so vulnerable exposed like that, I felt I could have reached out to break it; but it was so holy and pure that I almost shrank back from its sacredness. It was obviously the kind of love that had gone through the fiery furnace of affliction again and again and again, and came out stronger and more beautiful each time.

I stood transfixed in awe and whispered to myself, “One day when I meet my husband, this is the sort of love I want.”

I wish you also this kind of sacred love that can withstand all the trials of life. Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Love, February