WARNING: this will not be a cheery holiday post
ANOTHER WARNING: if you’re married, you need to read this
in nearly 25 years of ministry, i don’t think i’ve seen a year like it. maybe as we get older, each year takes on some kind of theme over the 12-month span. i don’t know. but i do know that if 2009 has had a theme, it has been the year of broken marriages. from january to december, i have seen too many marriages struggle, stray, fray, bend and break. dammit!
i’m no dr. phil. i don’t have any special training when it comes to marriage. i don’t do marriage counseling because there are far too many professionals out there who do it far better than i do. but there aren’t many who are more passionate about it than me. i love my marriage, i love being married, i love seeing other strong marriages. and i’m really tired of seeing unfaithfulness and brokenness in marriage. i think it’s because God feels the same way.
there are a handful of great theological truths in the first two chapters of the bible, but none as vivid as God’s design for a man and a woman in a godly marriage. it’s almost as if all of creation was designed for these 2 people. earth and sky and water and animals and plants and sun and moon – all wedding gifts for this first happy couple. not to mention God’s constant presence. and a request to listen to him.
there’s the issue. listening to HIM. as i think about the marital brokenness i’ve seen around me this year, in one way or another, it always come back to that.
God loves marriage. it was his idea. and though sin has damaged it in devastating ways, he hasn’t given up on it. in fact, it is probably the most beautiful image of the gospel in all the bible. Jesus the bridegroom, his church the bride. i’m certain that when you said your “i do’s” before your spouse, God was cheering you on nearly as excitedly as when one repents and makes Jesus lord and savior.
and God lets us know in no uncertain terms that he loves marriage. he makes serious comments throughout his word. we need to be listening… (click to read)
we sing a song fairly often these days at Threshold, called Hosanna. there is a line in that song that gets to me every time: break my heart for what breaks yours.
i think God is answering this prayer in me as my heart breaks for broken marriages and families. because it does indeed break his heart.
i can’t encourage you enough to work hard on your marriage. make it your top priority: above job. above money. above kids. it needs to come second only to your own relationship with God. this year, this month, give a renewed commitment to your marriage as your christmas gift to your spouse and family. it’ll be the best gift you ever gave.
if your marriage is in trouble, i want to see you get help and get strong. i am happy to meet with the two of you once, to pray with you, to encourage you, and to get you the help you need. i am committed to the health of your marriage, because it’s vital for you and because there is nothing human in all the earth that brings greater glory to God than a strong, Christ-centered marriage! you were created in God’s image. you were created to reflect that image, especially in your marriage!
– to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, til death do us part. This is my solemn vow. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
(traditional wedding vows)