As I was in the prime of my days, When the friendship of God was over my tent; When the Almighty was yet with me, And my children were around me; When my steps were bathed in butter, And the rock poured out for me streams of oil! (Job 29:4-6)
(Tim) Lord willing, in a few hours our third daughter, Hannah Marie, will be married to Lucas Dee Weeks, son of Ron and Doris Weeks. This will leave Mary Lee and me with one child still living at home--Taylor, our fifteen year old son.
As I sit here writing the wedding sermon, it occurs to me that the joyful sadness Mary Lee and I feel as our Hannah departs is a graceful sadness...
Thirty-two years ago, Mary Lee and I were married and I'm certain our parents' feelings were quite different from ours just now. Likely they were relieved to see us off and on our own. For a number of years, Mary Lee and I had lived selfish and unfaithful lives, spurning the mercy and love God had poured out on us through our fathers and mothers. Yes, we had recently returned to the Shepherd of our souls, and therefore our family relationships were good. But the years of sin had taken their toll and it would be a full decade before the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and home brought us the fruit of contentment and peace.
Hannah and Lucas, though, have honored God and given only joy to their parents. So it's sad to see them leave our homes and that's good, isn't it? Not simply good, but wonderful! Graceful! God's blessings overflowing! Only the joy of these two believers in joining together and producing fruit for God is a sufficient good for Lucas' and Hannah's parents to be willing to permit their marriage.
Friend, are you living in such a way that your parents will have joy mixed with grief on the day of your marriage? Or will they simply be relieved?
Mary Lee and I know Lucas and Hannah are far from perfect. This is only partly the sentimental drivel of a father desperate to come up with a reason to allow his daughter off the compound. You know, "My perfect son-in-law is the perfect complement to my exceptionally perfect daughter; no one else could ever have fit the bill," and all that.
No, neither Hannah nor Lucas are perfect. Far from it. Both continue to give hard evidence of a law at work within them--a law of sin and of death. Yet both of them are seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. What more could a mother and father want?
Yes, it's hard to see them leave and cleave, but it's easier knowing that God made them to do so. Still today, it's not good for the man to be alone. It's also easier because God is at work in them, making them holy. So they will start far ahead of the place Hannah's parents started.
Thank you, Heavenly Father. Your grace is without measure, unbounded, deep as the ocean and wide as the many billions of light years it takes to cross Your Universe. Thank you, Father. Amen.