It’s our wedding anniversary, Sweet William’s and mine.
I’ve watched so many young couples stand at the altar of covenant, pledging their love to each other, promising the impossible task of loving completely until death parts them. It is a goal too lofty for any of us to do on our own. Because love does not originate from our own flawed hearts. It comes from God.
Our loving feelings usually last as long as things go our way. Then we become frustrated, disillusioned by the unmet expectations of the happily-ever-after wedding vows and joyful celebrations. The newly-wed season begins to fade into everyday hard work.
Marriage is not for the faint of heart. It takes guts to pledge and promise and then walk it out day after day. Sometimes we think it will be easier to just walk away when it gets too hard. Many have and I am in no position to judge them at all. Because we were once on the verge ourselves.
But can one ever just “walk away” when hearts and minds and bodies have been joined together in ways meant for marriage, with a vow to stay in the good and the bad, to hold on when it’s the last thing we want to do? Walking away is not the easy solution it would seem. For hearts joined are only parted when they get ripped asunder.
Sweet William and I stood at the altar of covenant a long time ago. We meant what we said in those promises but had no idea how they would be tested. The road has been rocky now and again, and yet there is great joy as we travel together.
It is by grace that we celebrate today. God’s unmerited favor on two broken people joined in holy matrimony. And it is a holy thing. Marriage communicates God’s loving covenant to a world in desperate need of seeing it lived out in the every day rough and tumble of life.
I’m sure some people didn’t think we would last. They were almost right. But God . . . those two words hinged together make all the difference. His mercy resurrected us when our hope was gone. The One who is Love gave us Himself and healed our brokenness.
Today we walk together though our steps may falter a bit. We smile through tears at times. We are a little bent over, and we hold each other up often. We walk hand in hand realizing what a precious thing God has done for us. He provided His love to us when we had run out of our own.
Steven Curtis Chapman penned a song I sing today.
Here we stand, here we are with all our wounds and battle scars
From all the storms and all the wars we’ve weathered together.
We had no way of knowing when we started way back there and then
How the road would twist and turn and bend.
We just knew we belonged together.
And if it wasn’t for God’s mercy and His grace,
There’s no way we would be standing in this place.
But because He has been faithful every step along the way
Here we are together.
If it had not been for God’s grace, where would we be today? Not here. Not together.
But we are. The merciful and loving God we serve blessed us with love fresh from His hand. And it is to the praise of His glorious grace that We. Are. Together. Still.