When I think of true love, one of the examples that come to mind is the marriage of a couple that I always knew as “Mr. Noah” and “Mrs. Clara.” They lived in a little house in the community in which i grew up, and theirs is a truly amazing story! Noah was born on February 28, 1912, in the same community where I grew up in Tennessee, while Clara was born on December 7, 1911, in Texas. Clara moved with her family to Tennessee when she was a child. After moving to Tennessee, Clara met Noah and they would fall in love and get married on August 17, 1935, when they both were 23 years of age. They enjoyed several happy years together, and when World War II broke out, Noah enlisted and had to leave his loving wife behind for a time. I am sure that during Noah’s absence, he looked forward to seeing his lovely wife again, and to continuing the happy life that they had back in Tennessee. However, what Noah did not realize, was that while he was gone, Clara had contracted an illness that left her paralyzed. When he had left Clara, she had been his healthy young wife, but when he returned home in 1945, he was surprised to find Clara bound to a wheelchair. It is at this point in the story that I stop to ponder the fact that in a similar situation, some men would have deserted their wives, because they did not love them enough to honor their vow to be together “through sickness and health.” Mr. Noah was not one of these men. He honored his vow to Clara, and from the moment that he came home in 1945, he spent the next 58 years taking care of Clara. Throughout their marriage, he worked outside of the home to support his wife, as well as cook for her, bathe her, dress her, and whatever else she needed help with. Mrs. Clara was always appreciative of her husband, whom she relied upon so much. Noah and Clara never had children, however, they had one another. I would often walk into their house and see Mr. Noah cooking their supper. He rarely spoke, but Mrs. Clara would often tell us about something that Noah had done for her that day, as well as stories about events in her life. I will never forget her sweet laugh, because, despite her infirmities, Mrs. Clara laughed often and seemed to find joy in each and every day. All the love and assistance that Noah gave Clara during their 68 years of marriage was repaid by Clara tenfold in the end. You see, Clara was a Christian who loved the church of Christ. During the last years of her life, she often talked about how she missed attending worship services. However, while his wife was alive, Mr. Noah had not obeyed the Gospel and became a Christian. Clara had tried diligently throughout the years to bring her husband to Christ, just as I Peter 3:1-2 instructs wives to do, however, she never got to see Noah baptized. Clara passed away on May 25, 2003, at the age of 91. Noah was left behind with the example of his faithful Christian wife, as well as the memories of her teaching him of the importance of becoming a Christian. He was also left with the choice to either follow Clara’s wonderful example and spend eternity with her in Heaven after his own death, or to continue in the spiritual state he was in and die lost. Thankfully, at the age of 91, Noah obeyed the Gospel by being baptized, and his sins were washed away. He did this by completing the Plan of Salvation which is hearing the Word (Romans 10:17), believing the Word of God (Mark 16:16), repenting of his sins (Acts 2:38), confessing that Jesus is the Christ, and the Son of the Living God (Matthew 10:32), being baptized for the remission of his sins (Acts 22:16; I Peter 3:17-22). My father attended Noah’s baptism, and would talk about how, when Noah was raised up out of the water, a single beam of sunlight came through one of the windows of the church building that was positioned right in front of Noah as he stood in the baptistry. This single beam of sunlight shined from the sky straight onto Noah as he stood, newly baptized in the water. As the light beamed upon him, Noah began to cry. It was a special moment that those in attendance that day, would not forget. Noah fulfilled the final step in the Plan of Salvation by remaining faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10) on September 20, 2003. It was on this day, just four months after Clara passed away, that the two would meet again in Paradise. At the end of their lives, one can look back and see how Noah showed so much love for his wife by taking care of her for 68 years when she needed him most. However Clara showed Noah an even greater love, which is the Love of Christ. Clara wanted her beloved husband to know the Love that Christ has for mankind, which is beyond our comprehension; “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19). She wanted him to be able to be with Christ in eternity, which could only happen if he became a Christian, and a member of the church of Christ through baptism (Acts 2:37-42). True Love is God’s Love. The purpose of marriage is for spouses to help one another go to Heaven. The story of Noah and Clara is an example of how spouses can help lead one another to Heaven, even if one spouse is not a Christian. Mr. Noah and Mrs. Clara are also examples of how patience, love and kindness can go a long way in converting others to Christ. We cannot bring non-believers and erring Christians to Christ without showing them love; “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (I Corinthians 13:1). We must work diligently to bring lost souls to Jesus, and this is especially true for Christians who are married to non-Christians. If you are a wife whose husband is not a Christian, I encourage you to follow the example of Mrs. Clara, and never give up on your husband! Talk with him often about becoming a Christian and encourage him to attend the worship services of the church of Christ with you. Also, be sure to work to be the best example of a Christian wife that you can be at home! Even if you are married to a Christian spouse, or are not married, please continue to do your best to influence others to follow Jesus! Also continue to encourage and assist your Christian husband in walking the Christian path and in his efforts to lead others to Christ. Clara had to face most of her life bound to a wheelchair and unable to do things for herself, however, that did not stop her from focusing on her own spiritual relationship with Christ, as well as the spiritual needs of her husband. Clara understood that nothing in this life is as important is obeying God and going to Heaven (Ecclesiastes 12:13), and she showed this through her words and example. We should follow Clara’s example when it comes to staying faithful to God while facing the challenges of this life, as well as her work in converting others to Christ. We can also learn from Noah’s example of having an open heart to God’s Word, and how he worked to make himself right with God through baptism, even amid facing a great loss in his life. If we follow the example of these two wonderful people, as well as the examples of other faithful Christians, we will be more encouraged to follow the path that leads to our own eternal home in Heaven. There, we will be numbered with all of the faithful Christians who have every walked the Earth! What a glorious reunion that will be!