True Story: Flying in to do a wedding
James 1:2,3 "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3. for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
I'm flying to Dallas, Tx. to perform a wedding ceremony this weekend. Why would I ever connect a wedding story with the topic of endurance? Well, this story is a story of endurance. You see, the bride was married before. In fact, she was happily married for many years and was a career missionary the Lord with her husband in a muslim country. They faithfully served the Lord in that capacity for almost 20 years...until her former husband gave in to sin and began having an affair with a muslim woman. He became so blinded that he left his wife (the bride), and married the muslim woman. To do this one must renounce their Christian Faith and belief in John 14:6 and Jesus is the only way to the Father. She was left in the foreign country trying to get her feet on the ground because she was left with no money, no support, no immediate support system, and 3 kids. This was a horrific situation. How in the world could this happen? Well, thats not where the story ends. During this same time period, she was diagnosed with cancer....
As the same time, there was a man, the groom, who was faithfully taking care of his wife who had a debilitating lung condition. They were faithfully married, had a great family and a great life. He hadn't always been focussed on the Lord but God got a hold of his life and he began passionately pursuing Christ with all of his heart, should, mind, and strength. He cared and loved his wife so much that even as her life drew to an end, he moved out of his apartment, lived in his car, slept in the ICU room by his wife's side and would use the church down the road to shower and for meals. His wife's life ended and his focus was to serve the Lord as passionately as possible and then desired for the Lord to take him home....
God restores the fields that the locusts have eaten....He has in the past and He continues to do so in the present. Neither the bride or the groom ever thought that wedding bells were in their future again. They had been married but truly thought of serving the Lord as single adults for the rest of their lives. But God had other plans. Through the urging of people in their lives they joined an online dating site. They were overly honest in their profiles (almost deterring or daring someone to show interest in them...esp. the bride). Just before they cancelled their memberships, an email in their inbox drew them together and the rest is history.
I will count it a great honor to be a part of the celebration on Saturday of the faithfulness of God. It wasn't easy and it took faithfulness and perseverance on both of their parts. In their separate circumstances they could have become very angry and bitter towards God yet they chose to run to God as their refuge and strength. You see, they were both hiding themselves in the cleft of The Rock...and in that cleft (The Lord's will) they found each other.
Are you enduring? Are you going through a difficult time? Count it all joy because if you truly give this situation to God, you will grow in this process and come out the other side more mature and looking more like Christ. Be encouraged!