One principle in that book (Every Man’s Marriage) revolutionized my perspective as a leader in my home: as husband and father. Arterburn and Stoeker referred to the story of Nathan confronting David about David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband, Uriah (II Samuel 11-12). Nathan told David a parable, but David failed to see himself as a character in the parable and self-righteously demanded justice. (To an Easterner, when you hear a parable, you must identify yourself with one of the characters in the parable in order to have truly heard the parable.) Nathan told David, in essence, “You’re the man who sinned. You took Uriah’s only lamb (Bathsheba) when you already had other lambs (other wives).”
That challenge hit me right between the eyes: “Danny, do you see Nora as a lamb entrusted to you by God?” I had to admit that, for many years, I had not. Nor had I done so with Jenny.
I began to study the Text and listen to other ministers preach and teach about shepherds. I was amazed to realize that much of biblical leadership involves leading as a shepherd: leading by example by walking in front of the flock, leading with voice, and being willing to lay down one’s life for the sheep. God has a shepherd’s heart and demonstrates an affinity for shepherds, compared with non-shepherds, as seen in the Text.
- Abel (shepherd) and Cain (farmer)
- Abraham (shepherd) and his two brothers (warrior and city builder)
- Isaac (shepherd) and Ishmael (hunter)
- Jacob (shepherd) and Esau (hunter)
- David (shepherd) and Saul (donkey herder)
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd.” In essence, the Good Shepherd stays and protects his sheep. He doesn’t run when the flock is attacked. I acted like a hireling and was ready to run when things got tough in my marriage with Nora.
During our 2011 anniversary celebration, I once again asked Nora, “Would you do it again (meaning marry me again)?”
She said, “Yes!” – with a smile that seemed like a sunbeam to my heart.
During Thanksgiving 2011, God gave me a picture of his blessing demonstrated in a family photo: our tribe surrounded Nora, and she was smiling again. When Jenny died, she and I had two boys, one girl, and one unborn baby. In that November 2011 photo, Nora and I had been blessed with four boys and two girls. A double blessing – since God said children are a blessing and a reward from him. God is good – all the time!