In about half an hour, I’m going to go be a Matron of Honour for an impromptu wedding held in my husband’s office at the church. The bride is a friend and John-Mark is officiating the wedding. I just found out about an hour ago that this was going to happen. My friend calls me on the phone and says come as you are – that would be in jeans with my hair tied back in a ponytail. That’s OK, her fiance will be in shorts, she says. I try to get her to do it down at the beach or find a gazebo in someone’s backyard. But no, this won’t be the celebration. A reception will follow in a few weeks. This part, the reciting of vows before God and witnesses will be an act of obedience. The other will wait.
My friend has been dating her fiance for a while now and they are in love. They are mature and have already accumulated life experiences, some of them difficult, which make them realistic about romance. They have been brought together through a string of events that one couldn’t call a coincidence and so, just by hearing their tale, you get a picture of how God has orchestrated this union.
At this stage in the game, at their age, and in their situation, it would be easy for them just to move in together. It would be easy, just to combine assets and household goods and carry on without a fuss. But at the heart of their convictions, their desire to seek after God’s will, the easy way doesn’t sit right with them… which leads us to a solution: just get married right now then. A run over to City Hall for the licence and a couple of phone calls, my friend and her fiance will say their vows solidifying the union before witnesses and God right now then.
Recently, I read through the story of how Abraham’s servant finds Abraham’s son, Isaac, a wife (Genesis 24). This might be one of the most exciting “romance” stories I’ve read. How clearly God had his hand on Abraham’s servant, who only wishes to serve his master and do God’s will. The chain of events that brings Rebekah to Abraham’s servant and eventually to Isaac himself is thrilling. It doesn’t end there, you can imagine the emotion when Rebekah sees her betrothed for the first time… and Isaac brings her to the tent of his mother and marries her.
So she became his wife, and he loved her.
Amidst the historical facts is romance. God works his will through romance.
True Romance isn’t about flowers and chocolates and saying sweet nothings to each other. It isn’t about gazebos and bonbons and dyed satin shoes. While these are lovely expressions and apropos for a wedding celebration, the understanding that God is at the centre of this union is the powerful force which will make a marriage thrive.
This union also isn’t just about two people either. The story of Isaac and Rebekah is both in the middle and integral to the overall story of our spiritual ancestors. Their love was essential to God’s story. And so can ours be! The discipline of seeking out God’s will means we will go where he leads and allow him to redeem our circumstances.
But still, I’m a sucker for romantic expressions and honoured to be a witness to this marriage. I will change into a clean t-shirt and tidy my ponytail, run out to the store for a bouquet of wildflowers and a card. CANNOT WAIT till the big party in a few weeks’ time – this is a romance worth celebrating.