I bet you remember how it begins


It begins with a glance…

Don’t even act like you don’t know.

Rest assured, Oliver Stilson had eyed Margaret McCoy before he approached her. And Oliver must have thought he had a chance. He brought a gift with his phone number tucked inside.

As it turned out, Oliver decided not to wait for Margaret's call. He seized the moment, asking her to dinner on the spot.

Before long, the two were in love.

“She’s a good Christian,” Oliver said, according to WKRC in Knoxville, Tennessee, “…and we just didn’t want to part when it came time to go home.”

But Oliver was nearly 15 years older and things were moving fast. Whatever Margaret’s family thought, she was determined. Margaret wanted Oliver.

So, the couple took the plunge and married - he was 95, she was 81.

Gertrude Mokotoff and Alvin Mann met at the gym. The New York Times said, “In a heartbeat, they became an item.”

This time, Gertrude was the older one. Some called her a cougar and Alvin her boy-toy. “Age doesn’t mean a d--n thing...” Alvin said.

They married just before Gertrude's 99th birthday. Alvin was 94.

Jim and Janice Catlin met on the school bus when they were kids, according to “Inside Edition.” They grew up together but then parted.

Even so, the couple eventually married --- some 70 years later. Their first glance was in 1947.

Three unusual courtships and here’s a fourth: a young princess who marries a warrior, but her father keeps them apart for over a decade.

Sounds like a Disney movie, I know. But this is a true story. It happens 1,000 years before Christ, inscribed on the pages of the Bible.

You'll know the warrior. David, who kills Goliath.

David goes on to command 1,000 men in Israel’s army and is so successful the king fears him. Saul is certain the mighty warrior will steal his throne.

So, Saul tries to kill David; the king already losing his mind. Then the perfect moment arrives.

David wants to marry Saul’s daughter, Michal. The king asks a bride-price of 100 Philistine foreskins, certain David will die at the hands of the enemy.

The warrior takes his men and off they go. He returns with 200 foreskins. 1 Samuel 18:24-27

David is perhaps the greatest warrior Israel would ever know.

So, Michal and David marry, but Saul tries again. This time, David escapes with the help of his bride, who lets him down through a window. She then places a likeness of him in a bed to trick Saul’s soldiers.

It’s a dangerous business. Michal’s crazed father is furious with his daughter. And Saul gets his revenge, marrying her to another man. Samuel 19:11-17, 25:44

Without David, Saul is defeated by the Philistines at Mt. Gilboa and dies in battle.

Immediately, David claims his anointing from God as king of Israel. Saul’s son also claims the throne, and civil war rages across the land.

Abner, the commander of Saul’s armies, eventually gets fed up with Saul’s son. Abner seeks peace with David, but the young warrior won’t consider the offer until one condition is met.

Guess what David wants.

I’ll give you a hint --- what happens this weekend? Valentine’s Day.

David wants Michal! But Michal is long married to someone else.

That doesn’t slow anyone down. Michal is taken from her husband and sent to David at Hebron.

Here's a poignant scene in Scripture. Michal's husband won’t let go, following his wife, weeping along after her as she travels the countryside.

Before Michal reaches the border, Abner intervenes.

“Go,” Abner says to the grieving man, and he turns back.

I’ll just tell you this. Abner has known David since Goliath. No one wants an “incident” with Michal's husband on the eve of peace.

But this whole scene gets even richer. If Michal bothered to say goodbye to the heartbroken man, it’s nowhere in Hebrew Scripture. What is there is “Michal loved David” --- the only place in the Old Testament those words appear: A named woman who loves a man. True.

Michal may not have been the greatest catch, as we see later on, but God is a romantic.

This Valentine’s Day, hold your love close and know that you’re blessed.

If you’re as I am, and have not yet found love, believe. It’s never too late — just ask Oliver and Margaret Stilson, Gertrude and Alvin Mann, Jim and Janis Catlin!

Remember, it begins with a glance…

Contact the Rev. Mathews at letters@RAMathews.com. Copyright © 2019, 2021 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved.

This article originally appeared on The Star: I bet you remember how it begins


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