We fast and pray asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.
The turmoil around the globe in the past week is hard to ignore. Innocent lives lost in Baghdad cafes and the Istanbul airport, human rights advocates murdered in Kenya, and that’s only scratching the surface. Life closer to home isn’t much better – recently, a new affirmation by the highest court that the continuing murder of unborn children must remain untouched.
In the midst of painful headlines, it is easy to get overwhelmed and zone out. There is too much pain, too many disturbing images, and a deep sense of helplessness in the face of so much suffering. Aren’t Christians supposed to have a safe bubble – a world without turmoil? Shouldn’t God’s favor protect us from the pain of this life? Scripture is clear about what we’re called to and what Jesus promised:
John 16:33: I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world
In contrast to the recent headlines, Anna’s wedding, this weekend, was a lovely and fun and oh-so-happy celebration. It was truly a day to share in the joy of God bringing the two of them together and hopeful in anticipation of what God will do with their lives together. We sang a worship song during the ceremony with the following verse:
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
I hadn’t thought about it, but the reality is that the wedding itself was also a testament to the power of Christ in that the bride and groom recognized their dependence on God’s sovereign plan to bring them together in His timing. And on a larger scale, as a Christian marriage they were reminded that their first and greatest calling is to stand in the power of Christ until He returns or calls them home. The new marriage also represents the potential for new life – in terms of the couple’s potential children and/or by spiritual parenting of the people God places in their life. The wedding is a symbol pointing to a greater reality, and the couple recognizes their small place in that bigger story.
In some sense, the wedding was a public reminder that we, as the body of Christ, stand for a true reality that is opposite what we read in the headlines. Married or not, we share this confidence – no power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand – and that is in stark contrast to our surrounding world.
It will of course take courage to follow Christ – whether He calls us to the vocation of marriage or the vocation of singleness. He has told us that there will be suffering regardless, and He has told us that He has already conquered the world. What a clear reason to celebrate, at weddings and in the midst of turmoil. That the events of our world are not too much for our sovereign Lord. Our marital status, our level of comfort, and our geographic location are not too much for Jesus.
We can engage the world we live in without fear. We can celebrate deeply at weddings and pray for spouses for those of us who still desire to get married. We can mourn the violence and coldness seen around our world and nation and find joy in freedom. We can find peace in a world of contrasts when we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Because Christ lived an incarnate life, died and was raised, so we can never be plucked from His hand. And that should be celebrated every day!
In His Grace,