Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. Ecclesiastes 11, verses 1 and 2
Today I’m writing these words specifically for my daughter and new son-in-law. Tonight I’ll walk Gretchen down the aisle, she’ll leave her childhood behind, and start the best part of her life. This morning, I was driving up from Dallas, alone, and I had time to reflect on what I’ll say at the wedding reception this evening, and how I feel about it all. Wedding plans are so hectic, and they usually involve much more effort than you imagine they will. It’s not hard to get lost in the shuffle of doing things and forget to reflect on why you’re doing them, and what it all really means. When I read the verses for today, I got a glimpse of what life and marriage really means, and a little of what I would like to say tonight. More to the point, I am reminded of a few things I would hope for the new couple to remember.
The first thing I want them to remember is that they are marrying each other, but also marrying the Lord. More than just two people will stand in front of the minister tonight. Beside them, joining their hands, wrapping His arms around them, will be Christ Himself. God not only joins them in the union: God is their union. The same Jesus, the crucified man of antiquity, will be there in spirit and even in body as they swear vows of fidelity before Him. He will partner with them in their new covenant, and will be a part of what keeps them together. He will unite them, encourage them, rebuke them, celebrate with them, cry and grieve with them, make love and make a life with them.
Then, I want them to remember that everything that will happen to them in their lives will be in God’s hands. He will always be in control, and he will always be at work, active, and in a high purpose. When the tough days come – and they will – Jesus will be the one on whom their cares will rest and through whom they can build a better future. Life will present challenges and crises, celebrations and times of true joy. God incarnate will be at work in all of them, even when He might seem hard to see. Nothing in the unwritten pages up ahead will happen without His involvement or without His desire for them to cleave close to Him.
Finally, I would like them to remember to do what these verses exhort. Cast your life, your love, your means, and your wealth on the waters for it will always come back much richer. Do not be afraid, and always trust that God will provide for you. Tough times will come and hard days will be yours to live. Life will be replete, but complete, with days of joy like today but also days of many tears, much sorrow, and even death. My wife and I had a good marriage that went bad, and then became very, very good again when we learned to turn to Him and rest all ourselves on Him. It’s not just success and material things with which God blesses us: it is Himself, and that pure love that is the essence of His soul. When we came to know that, nothing else seemed quite as important, even the everyday important cares of finances, responsibilities, schedules, jobs, and family. When we learned to share God, God always came back to us in far more than we gave out.
And that’s the biggest lesson of all.
I’m the father of the bride today, and I’m as proud as I ever thought I could be. Let me be the first to say “Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Tew.” I love you both very much. May God bless you more than you understand, and may all your days be filled with laughter, fun, blessings, good times and God’s love.