Monday, October 14, 2013

A Momentous Decision

We make fewer momentous choices in life than we suppose. Many things are decided for us. We did not choose our parents, nor do parents choose their children. We think we plan when we will have our children, and those plans often go awry. We do not choose the country, or the century of our birth. As we grow up, our choices are limited and vetted by our parents. And then we come to a day like this, when two young people exchange vows with another, the other chosen by neither set of parents, but simply, independently, each by the other.

It’s a bit of a scary proposition. With over 7 billion people alive in the world, I would guess that there must be at least half a billion men or women of marriageable age and situation. But out of all that, here we are, and these two have whittled it down to one.

How different it was for Adam in the Garden. 
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:18–22 NAS95)

The text does not say that Adam asked for a partner. God decided that it would be “good.” So God created Eve from Adam’s rib, and introduced them to one another. Adam made a choice of one, out of a field of one. Good choice, Adam. Way to go.

But the Biblical account informs our Christian understanding of marriage, and tempers the observations that I made a moment ago about the magnitude of this choice. We are simply not equipped to make the “right” choice from out of billions, or even hundreds. We understand that all our choices, including this one, is created and guided by a God who plans the steps of his children. The verse in Proverbs says as much: The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NAS95)

And so we believe that these two have made a choice - a choice which will give birth to a hundred, a million, implications for the shape of their lives, for the rest of their earthly lives. And yet we believe that they have not made this choice alone. That the idea of marriage is God’s good idea, and that this specific marriage is also God’s good idea. 

There is another choice, whether married or not, that is even more momentous in each of our lives. God has appointed and anointed His Son, Jesus, as the King of His creation, as the Cornerstone of His building, as the binding of His book, and as the Savior of His people. We each decide to find ourselves in Christ, or to lose ourselves outside of Him. We choose to live under His authority in loving submission, or to thumb our nose at him in stubborn independence. We choose to take Jesus at his unchanging word, or weather the turbulence of the world’s most recent “truth.” Your decision about Jesus is evidenced by whom you aim to please, by whom you talk to first in the morning and last at night, and by whom you consult for all those other, less momentous decisions that we make day in and day out. This decision concerning Jesus has already shaped these two lives, and is indispensably instrumental for their eternal lives. It is for you as well. We will see that this decision for Jesus must also be a pattern and guide to making their marriage the best of all earthly relationships. Let’s Pray.

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