“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” Isaiah 25:4
Summertime brings weddings and once again this year newlyweds are springing up all over! Early yesterday afternoon Steve and I got to participate in a wedding reception for a young couple we love. Later in the day Steve performed a wedding ceremony for another couple that we love and respect. Next weekend we will attend two weddings and rejoice as these couples begin new lives together.
When Steve officiates at a wedding he often uses a phrase that has deepened in meaning for me over the years. He tells the couple that in their marriage “storms will hit your home, sometimes with fierce brutality.” When Steve and I first began our married life, I realized at some level that our lives would not always be easy. I couldn’t imagine what that might mean and my heart was full of happy, naïve plans for our life together. Over the years many of those happy plans have come to fruit. But our life together hasn’t always been easy. There have been storms to weather — some a category 1, but at least a few have been at the category 5 level. I’ve seen this same truth play out in the lives and marriages of our children. Our lives don’t always follow a sweet and easy path.
As Steve and I weather our loss of Becky together, I better understand the truth he shares following the ‘storm’ statement in wedding ceremonies – the truth that God gives us Himself and each other for comfort and strength. I can no more imagine facing life’s storms without the Lord or without Steve than I could imagine the hard things we would
face when I pledged my life to be Steve’s bride. I’ve also grown to place deeper value on the presence of family and friends in our lives. Many who witnessed our marriage have continued to offer us love and strength when we face storms. We are held firmly in a circle of love and encouragement whose source is the God who is love.
As I witness the weddings of young people I love, I pray that they will early realize the strength of the cord of three strands and depend upon the Lord and each other. I pray that they will grasp how wide and long and high and deep and strong is the love of Christ manifested in their marriage and in the love of the community of family and friends who celebrate with them. I pray that when storms come, the Lord’s strong love will keep them strong.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12