From time to time, I like to ask other people to write a blog post for me. It is always an interesting adventure. What will they write? What sort of agenda do they have? Will I even agree with what they are saying?
Well, today, I am very excited to have my previous pastor, Rick Goertzen, write a short post on marriage. Well, sort of on marriage. Not about his marriage with his wonderful wife, but about the church's marriage with Jesus. You can find a whole lot of information about Rick and Grace Bible Church at their website. In particular, you will want to check out his video blog that he posts from time to time. I hope you are blessed.
Just recently, I celebrated with my wife 28 years of marriage. We celebrate together, but quite differently. I came home to a note on the bathroom mirror which listed 28 reasons why she would say yes again. She presented me with a gift which I had mentioned last summer and completely forgotten about. She is incredible at loving me. I, on the other hand, I am, well . . . romantically challenged. I love my wife intensely. In fact, when I try to tell her, I just tear up and nothing comes out. It is sad. I do not like that about myself. She says she understands and that she knows I love her. I hope so. I am very bad at events and moments.
Regardless of the day or event, I am very grateful I have a partner with whom I have the same mind. We both love our Lord, value His sacrifice, and desire to sacrifice ourselves. We encourage each other to take every ministry opportunity regardless of time and separation. We challenge each other in our ministry and holiness. We are not the perfect couple. We battle selfishness, hurt feelings, and old wounds. Marriage does not just happen. It takes work, commitment, and forgiveness. Marriage is an act of the will. I will love, I will forgive, I will serve. We say “I do” at our weddings in agreement with the vows, but we must say “I will” everyday.
There is a better groom for my wife. And in fact, a better groom for me. It is Jesus. He, of course, will be the best Husband ever. We await the great wedding which will be an eternal marriage.
I must confess that because of the daily routine and requirements of my life, eternal is often a concept and not a reality. Living for eternity is a truth which is too often swallowed up in the temporal. It is hard, isn't it? The temporal is ever before us and ever demanding of our time and attention, so that we know the truth of eternity but life in light of the present. This sad admission applies to my view of heaven and my future position in heaven.
Bride of Christ. Wow! I am a part of the Bride of Christ. I often have the privilege of working with couples who are about to be married. They spend so much time preparing for the day of the wedding. And they also meet with me in counseling preparing for the marriage. It is the focus of their engagement period. And even though they are not married yet, they begin to make decisions based on the future and their lives together. They no longer make a decision in the vacuum of self. But rather they begin to see that every decision is to be made in light of their spouse to be. How does this affect us? What will we do? Where shall we go?
So if we were to apply the same mentality to our future groom, how would that change how I think and act? What priorities would it change? What would I stop doing? And what would I become more intentional about?
This thinking would also affect my view of my fellow brides. The church would become something I see not as a place or event; no, it would be THE joyful gathering and living fellowship of those to whom I am working together with to be a wonderful bride. Together helping and serving the purpose of bringing joy and pleasure to the groom, excited to look forward to the day of our presentation by the Father to the Groom. And until that time, each moment is spent in anticipation of the wedding. Therefore, it is a consuming life.
What makes you do more than think of heaven as a future destination? What keeps you holding loosely to this earth? “Behold! The bridegroom comes” is music to my ears. I just need to work to make it a movement of my life.