Friday, December 30, 2005

I Promised You . . . (Part 1)

“I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that. I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ . . . " 2 Corinthians 11:1-2

Preparing for the first Sunday message of the year I have been spending time looking back, as well as looking ahead. I have looked further back than just 05, and I have looked further forward than 06. Looking back, I have been thinking about the last three years we have spent together. Looking ahead, I am only sure of what I am committed to. I do not know what will result.

Looking back to when our relationship began reminds me of the love relationship that developed between Sandy and me. In one sense, Sandy and I met by chance, it wasn’t planned. In reality, God brought us together; a relationship began to grow. We started dating and I was smitten by her.

Our relationship did not begin perfectly, for sure, but it began spiritually. Our first dates revolved around our walk with God. We shared our spiritual journeys, as best as we understood them at that time. We began sharing our thoughts about the future. I told Sandy about God’s call on my life. A call to ministry; a call back to New England. She knew I was committed to that calling. Sandy shared her dreams and desire of following God’s call on her life. She believed God had called us together, and that He had a plan for our lives. Together.

Sandy committed to me, and I, to her. The adventure began.

Our love grew in spite of hurdles; our backgrounds could not have been more different. Sandy grew up in the Southwest -- I grew up in the Northeast. Sandy grew up in the suburbs -- I grew up in the country. Sandy graduated atop a class of 800, Summa Cum Laude -- I graduated, Thank the Lord, from a class of 32. Sandy had an ideal life in mind -- I had an ideal life in mind. The ideal lives we envisioned were not always the same.

Like most young couples, we had some pretty big dreams. They were not always the same dream. Some of those dreams we have continued to pursue relentlessly, though they remain elusive. Over time we have had to come to grips with the fact that there is no such thing as “Heaven on earth.” Some of the plans we embraced were not bad plans, but they were not God’s plan for us. Maturity has revealed that other desires were selfishly motivated, and we had to abandon them. God continues to develop our character and relationship to compliment each other, and prepare us for future assignments.

Twenty-eight years later we are still together. Still growing. Still sifting through our dreams and desires. Still in love. Still making adjustments to one another. The shining knight has some dings in his armor, and the bride is only "practically perfect."

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