Your Wedding Coffee
Welcome to your wedding coffee! May our Heavenly Father greatly bless and encourage my brother Bryce and my new sister-in-law Madison! Father in Heaven, please guide and direct your daughter and son as they now live as two whole people united as one flesh. What you have joined together, Father, let no one separate. Not by divorce, not by gossip, not by betrayal, not by selfishness, not by meddling, not by anyone or anything within their relationship, and without. But may they be blessed by the love of your children around them. Encourage them, Father. Support and guide them. Call them to repentance and then to worship, and always to obedience. I am so proud of Bryce and Madison Father, and I know you are too. Share your joy with them! And may they learn to ache and long for one another, whenever they are apart, whether in body or in heart!
Your Morning Song: "Finally Free" by Rend Collective
Your Morning Scripture: Mark 10:6-9
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
I went to my brother's wedding. It was a very odd, very surreal, very wonderful experience. I was filled to overflowing with joy and thankfulness to be there, to be a part of the celebration. And I was deeply humbled by the seriousness with which Bryce and Madison made sure that God was at the center of their wedding. They clearly displayed to all, many who do not love God, that they do. And that it is He who is joining them together, hearing and holding them to their vows.
There was one part of all this that I didn't like. And no, I'm not talking about how easily and how often I cry at God-honoring weddings. That is a good thing and I hope the day never comes that I am not deeply moved by God-honoring weddings.
I didn't like that in order to see this joining together of two whole people into one flesh, I had to leave my one flesh. We did not have the money to all go as a family, so I left my wife at home with the kids and went alone. I do not regret going, but there was a constant ache in me that we were apart.
Husbands and wives, we should love each other so well that being apart brings pain. And when apart, we ought to ache to return. You could argue against this by bringing up the "honeymoon phase" language. That the initial feeling of overwhelming longing to be together is only something that happens at the very beginning of marriages. And that to suggest that we still out to long for one another, to ache to be together, even after the years have come and gone, is naive and idealistic. It is not naive to suggest. It is not idealistic. It is obedience to God.
If we are willing to submit our marriage to God and do the hard work to obey Him in how He calls us to be married to one another (Ephesians 5:22-33 is a good example of this), then we too can hold on to, or regain the closeness of when we were first married, and quickly take it far beyond that initial feeling.
And this isn't something we can do if we'd like to. We can't paint this as optional. We can't say, "well that's just your opinion. That's just how you do it." No. It is about obedience to God. We are joined together in marriage by God. And Jesus calls us not to separate what God has joined. He calls us to honor our vows.
In the verses above Jesus is talking about divorce specifically as separating God's wondrous work of marriage. But separating what God has joined is not limited to divorce. This is where so many of us, myself included, have stumbled and fallen, though I have not refused to get back up and obey God as some have.
We can still be technically married, but in almost total disobedience to God's command not to separate what He has joined. Husbands and wives, do you love each other with the unconditional, agape type of love? Are you self-centered in your marriage? Are you and your spouse talking about your marriage and praying for each other? Are you seeking God together? Do you worship together? Do you talk about God together? Are you serving each other? Do you delight in your spouse's small joys and desires being satisfied? Or do you long instead for your turn? Is your marriage on auto-pilot? Do we see marriage as restricting our joy? Or by and in and through it do we echo the joy of our salvation as those who are finally free? Does time apart from your spouse feel good? Or does it ache?
It should hurt. We can't have good, God-pleasing marriages on accident. If we do not work to maintain our God-given closeness to each other, we will drift painfully apart, ripping our one flesh to pieces all for the sake of satisfying ourselves. And we will be left with either divorce, or a marriage that shambles about like the walking dead, a corpse of a one flesh, divorced in all but name.
We ought to ache for one another when we are apart.
And so it should also be, Church, within all of our hearts as the Bride of Christ. Do we ache to see Jesus? Do we rejoice in His closeness to us by the Spirit in us? Do we delight to call on His name in prayer? Does the cross fill us with the sweet sorrow of accepting that Jesus, aching for love of us, died for us?
This is the ground upon which our marriages should rest. This is the soil within which our marriages should grow. That Jesus Christ has set us free and is coming again to claim us and invite us to a wedding feast beyond all others. Let us work hard and fight for our marriages, that we might live out our time until death as those who love our one flesh until all separation is sorrow, whether in the body or the heart.