I got invited to a wedding recently; a former student had found THE ONE, and asked me to share in their special day.
When I was younger, it was friends getting married. I’d join in as one soon-to-be-married or as one already married. Planning, party, promises. All sorts of excitement. And every bride certain that her bridesmaids would be able to wear their dresses again.
Now, weddings feature children of friends or young people in my circle for other reasons. And my reaction is much different. When the bride and groom are believers, as is the case here, I can step back and take a longer view. No matter when they ‘found’ each other, sometime in an ancient past their Father knew that they would come together and pledge to love each other for life. And on this sunny summer evening, all is beautiful; all is perfect; everybody is smiling.
I found a blank card and penned: May your lives be filled shared joy. After all, it is not good for man to be alone.
Later, Jesus compared Christ’s union with His church to a marriage. The apostles taught that husband and wife will share values and duties to the glory of God.
I believe that when God orchestrates such unions, it is His will that joy be the primary product. There is joy, even when hard times come, when God is in the center.
Mike and I thought it was our idea. We chose each other. We formed a union, a team. And, at the beginning, we saw only what we expected from our marriage. Certainly, it was social acceptance. Stability. Companionship. Financial security. Legitimate status within the community.
I figured that children and a home would be part of the deal. Not sure Mike looked that far ahead. But no matter. Neither of us really recognized then what we came to know so clearly: before the foundation of the earth, in the infinite past, God chose Mike for Lynne and Lynne for Mike. And God saw the path that our lives would take, both separately and together.
When we held hands on June 8, 1974, and repeated the vows, sure we knew the words: richer/poorer, in sickness and in health, for better and worse, until death do us part. But nobody was giving audience to poverty, illness, or death. And nobody was thinking about how far away death might be. We were signing up for life. What? 40 years is a lifetime when you are 23.
God saw the path of our 39 years. He knew that our first child, so carefully planned, would be stillborn. He knew we would weather this and would grow in our faith. He knew that we would grow closer together. He knew.
God knew that as we approached our 35th anniversary, doctors would find metastatic cancer in my husband; God knew that this would knock us for a loop and then bring us into such a sweet time of fellowship with Him.
He knew that we would confound the medical community. He knew that as we prepared for Heaven, He had a task for Mike, one final job, before he got to walk the Streets of Gold. And so He prepared the way for us by equipping us with skills and tools that would make the task less daunting.
My prayer for this special couple is a life of happiness. That doesn’t always mean smiles. It can mean an adventure as a team. It can mean that, someday, they will look back and marvel at the path their Father had in mind.
Bless them and their union, Holy Father.