Thursday, February 14, 2008
Marriage and the Gospel
To the left is the most beautiful, intelligent, sagacious, gracious, gentle, sexy, humble, articulate, wonderful woman in the whole world! No wonder I'm hurting this week!
My lovely wife is helping lead a team from our church on a vision trip to the island of Antigua. She will be back this Sunday night, so I have taken a week of mission trip leave to work from home and stay with the boys. Obviously, the week has been busy, as I have combined my work schedule with taking care of Sam and Seth. Still, all the busyness hasn't helped much. Being without her is excruiciating. And yet the very thing that has held us together for nearly 14 years is, paradoxically, the same thing that compells us to spend this week apart from each other.
By the way, I know what some of you are already thinking. "Antigua. Yeah, suffering for Jesus in 80 degree weather in February." Actually, I've been teasing her about this for the past several weeks. But like most islands in the Carribean, once you leave the shore and head inland, you begin to see the harsh physical and spiritual realities that exist.
But back to the subject at hand: This morning I had a conversation with a woman about missing my wife. Our youngest woke up sad, and I was commenting that he missed mommy, and so did I. Her reply was that she wished her marriage had been like that, and it was a wonderful opportunity to share with her about the death and resurrection of Jesus, and how it really wasn't our personalities, or even our commonalities, that held us together. It is our common faith in Christ that has produced the marriage Amy and I have. The longer I'm married, the more I realize this. The things Scripture demands of me as a husband are things I could never do in my own strength. By nature, I'm a lazy, responsibility-shirking slob. No one like me could ever truly love their wife with the same voracity that Jesus loves His people. All of these experiences constantly remind me that the Gospel is not just for my soul, but also for my marriage.
At the same time, this week also reminds me that the corollary is also true. The Gospel isn't just for our marriage. Our marriage is also for the Gospel.
And so I will live out the rest of this week deeply missing my wife's conversation, touch, embrace, company, and friendship. But I will do it knowing that she is involved in a strategic Kingdom advance . . .one that will bear fruit which will outlast even our marriage. After all, marriage is only good until death. But the Gospel she is presenting this week lasts for eternity, and our marriage is meant to illustrate those eternal values.
I'm praying for Amy's safe return late Sunday night. No doubt the boys and I will all feel much better when that plane hits the tarmac at Baltimore-Washington Airport. I can't wait to hold her again. But more than this, I can't wait to see Jesus, and I can't wait to see the fruit He brought to bear through our relationship, and mutual commitment to the spread of the Gospel