And then, without any pomp and very little ceremony, two of our siblings-in-Christ stood up and vowed to live as husband and wife as long as they both shall live. As I sat there and witnessed this union -- Casey in his suit and stately bald head and Kristine in a simple flowing white dress -- I didn't expect it to move me like it did. After all, there were no flowers, no bridesmaids, no Wagner or Canon in D. Just Cesar in his Jesus/Band-Aid t-shirt and Lisa on the piano accompanying Kris as she sang a song based on the book of Ruth: Where you go, I shall go. Your God shall be my God. Your people shall be my people.
And there I sat, crying. It really is beautiful and courageous -- this whole marriage thing. The longer I'm alive, the more aware I become of how ugly and treacherous life can be when lived outside of God's love, purpose, protection, and provision. And that is the heart-rending truth of so many marriages -- they are attempted outside of God's purpose, protection, and provision, and we broken people break each other.
Not that Christians automatically get it right -- the divorce rate is the same inside of and outside of the church, is it not? But Jesus did promise us life and hope in every circumstance. And while I do not know the ins and outs of marriage, I just read a great book on this very subject by John & Stasi Eldredge: Love & War.
Now, I'll be honest, the last thing I wanted to read during this season was a book on marriage. Sometimes I get tired of having to put on the "what can I glean from this even though it's not for me" filter. But I've always LOVED books from these two fine authors -- Wild at Heart, Captivating, The Sacred Romance -- so I decided to give it a chance, and this book did not disappoint. Authentic, funny, personal, and pointed, the book covers everything from the Big Picture of God's design for marriage and Satan's attack thereon to the more practical matters of how to invite Jesus into the daily reality of marriage.
What was even better, though, was that God spoke to my reality TODAY through their writing. I was reminded of how easy it is to develop of way of approaching life that is based on my own strengths and abilities and thereby create barriers between myself and the true Life Jesus offers. I was reminded of the glorious reality that God speaks to His kids, and His kids know His voice, and He has truth to heal the deep wounds that cause all my funky yuck.
My heart hasn't felt this peace-filled in quite some time, which is particularly arresting because I didn't realize how anxious I was about the pending changes this summer will bring. But Jesus knew, and He came for me. In so many ways, He comes for me.
Be encouraged, my friends. He always comes for us.