Common Grace

Today, we’re praying for marriage. We’re praying for the men we know, for them to be bold and walk forward into marriage. We’re praying for women, for hearts to be tender and unafraid of the future. We’re asking God to bring marriage to those who desire it.

We’ve entered the lovey-dovey month of February. I don’t know whether or not Valentine’s day makes you feel happy, sad, cynical, or sappy. I’m somewhere between I barely remembered and wow, I love the color red.

This is the month that, historically, I sat in youth group and heard every version of the “true love waits” talk. It always seems to me that “biblical sexuality month” was turned to biblical sexuality semester. I’m sure they were trying to steer us in the right direction and help us understand God’s design for marriage. Sadly, I feel like I walked away with the message of hey, if you’re really good, you’ll get a hot spouse. Between the engagement stories and one too many chick flicks, I gained our (culturally acceptable) emotional/romantic view of marriage.

Thankfully, by God’s grace, between His word and amazing community (i.e. FastPray). He’s building the biblical picture and purpose in my heart.

Here’s what I wish I remembered from biblical sexuality month:

Sex is not about you. Contrary to what every media outlet proclaims. Sex is not about you or your fulfillment. Sex, within God’s boundaries, is meant to communicate the Gospel. We are desperate for meaning and acceptance– in spite of our weaknesses and ugliness.

Marriage is not for sex. Marriage, like sex, communicates the Gospel reality of Christ’s sacrificial love for the church. And so, an adulterous relationship communicates the lie that Christ will leave you for another.

Marriage, sex, and families are a means of common grace. I don’t have links to the social science studies, but I know from Genesis 1-2 that God ordained and blessed gender, marriage, and sex. When marriages are strong, societies flourish and the earth is better tended.

As a single person, I feel left out of the phenomenon known as Valentine’s Day, but that’s mostly because of my emotional/romantic view of sex and marriage. Instead, I’m striving today for a holistic view that acknowledges on the one hand, that I’m single, and to some degree am outside of marriage, but also takes active encouragement from the godly marriages around me.

With this in mind, I can attend weddings and walk away encouraged. I can go to baby showers and not be depressed. I can walk boldly knowing that I’m not repressed, closeted, or afraid. Those wedding vows are meant for me too.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5

–Anna

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4 Responses to Common Grace

  1. Lyn says:

    I think it would help if the Christian community had a little more sympathy. Have you ever tried just talking to someone about this issue in the Church? Or writing someone in ministry about this? You get blank looks or an embarrassed ‘Well, don’t worry, it’ll happen.’ or no response at all. Just finding one person that could enter into the suffering and actually TRY to sympathize with us would help a great deal.

    The feeling I get back over and over, is that it isn’t their problem (you can hear them think, ‘thank God’) so please don’t bother me. That hurts. My poor mother has no idea what’s wrong and has little to no advice, just sorrow about the situation. My brother thinks I’m better off. Trying to find an understanding ear is so hard, so it helps just to read all your responses here to know I’m not alone. The Church/Christian community has set many of us to the side, because we don’t fit some profile and it makes it tough to even go to Church and face it over and over. There is an unspoken weird stigma, and the attitude I’ve faced over the years shows this. It’s like being some kind of leper.

    The same technique applied to a woman struggling with conceiving would tell her ‘You’re better off anyway’ or ‘don’t worry it will happen’. Absolutely heartless. Sorry, not trying to be too bitter, but am very frustrated about this kind of response and especially from other Christians.

    • fast. pray. says:

      We’ve all been there at one time or another. You’re in good company. That’s one of the reasons why I love explaining Fast Pray to people because it frequently opens their eyes. I’ve been down the bitter road because it is hard to get the “blank stares”, and literally, my saving grace is having close community surrounding this issue. So glad you’re here with us. –Anna

  2. lauram says:

    Amen. Thank you for this beautifully phrased reminder of our inheritance of LOVE and responsibility to LOVE, no matter what our marriage status. I have noticed lately that no matter how hard I try not be jealous of my (seemingly) blissfully wedded friends or to not feel sorry for myself about a recent disappointing breakup, I just can’t do it on my own. Only when I’m able to stop and reorient my heart towards the TRUE Gospel (that Christ calls me His Beloved), rather than my fleeting hopes and dreams of future happiness, only then can I receive a heart of thankfulness and celebrate others’ joys free of envy or despair.
    How Spirit-affirming to read that you are discovering this truth again and again as well.

    Praise be to God for His generous patience of our plodding and for His persistent pursuit of us day after day.

    • fast. pray. says:

      Thank you for that! You’re so right. Me trying to be jealous is like telling water not to be wet. I can’t not be jealous– I have to be constantly reminding myself of truth in Christ. Jealousy fades in light of the truth. 🙂 –Anna

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