Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Honoring Marriage

Well, our little wren family is gone.  The little ones have grown up and left the nest.  I did, however, just happen to be out on the deck on the day of their exodus.  Three of the four little wrens had ventured out of the birdhouse and were on the patio spreading their wings for flight, chirping wildly.  I’m sure they were thrilled to be out of their cramped quarters and looking forward to the freedom to fly.  Mama Wren was coaxing them to attempt flight to a nearby row of trees. 

One last little bird remained in the birdhouse.  His three siblings made it to the small cluster of trees.  They chirped and cheered encouraging him to join them.  He took the plunge and joined his family.  They made a joyful noise for a few long minutes, then flew off.  It was fun to watch.  

It sure was a fast process – a few short weeks that were filled with sacrifice and strenuous activity on the part of the parents.  The wren couple moved in, set up house, had their chicks, worked hard to feed and care for them…then encouraged them on to live adult lives of their own – all in a few weeks’ time.   It’s the way of nature – and the way God intended it to be.  It was instinctive.

It is a perfect picture of family.  Observing the wrens made me think of my own family.  Joe and I moved into our home, set up house, had our children, worked hard to feed and care for them…then encouraged them to live adult lives of their own.  The years went so fast – so filled with hard work and sacrifice – and there was a lot of “coaxing” involved!  It was the right order of things though – the way God intended – and it brought great joy.  But, it was not instinctive. 

God created humans with a will and a spirit – different from the animal kingdom.  The wrens were “hard wired” to do what they did – they had no choice.  It is what God created them to do.

For us, God instituted marriage and family.  It was His plan and purpose from the creation of man when He formed Adam out of the dust.   God saw that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone so he made a helper – woman…then told them to be fruitful and multiply.  Why?  To bring glory to God.   His Word tells us that marriage is “a mystery, like Christ and the church.”   It is meant to be an expression of God’s great love toward us and His promise never to leave us.  Offspring are a result of that love and “the earth is filled with the glory of God” as they grow up and do the same.  Marriage is good. Marriage is not God’s plan for everyone, but it is God’s plan and His order of things – and it is good.

But it often seems today the order of things is confused.  Marriage is not always considered to be a good choice.  Many postpone marriage until they have all the “things” they want first.  They don’t want to miss anything “good” before “settling down”.  Having children is delayed.  Couples on reality TV are convinced that they cannot happily raise a family without a” 5 piece, double-sink, en suite” to the master bedroom.  Hard work and sacrifice are not the choice when it comes to many of today’s families.  In reading Hebrews 13 today I found something interesting in two verses…

Hebrews 13:4-6 “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,     “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 

         So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper”…

Isn’t it interesting that in the same sentence that God speaks in His word about the honor of marriage, He connects it with the warning against the love of money and the importance of being content with what we have? 

I think it is purposeful.  When two people fall in love, God has a well written plan for it:  Leave father and mother and cleave to each other in the purity and honor of marriage, trusting that the Lord will be their helper as they set up home and raise children – content and unburdened by the “love of money”. 

It’s a choice of obedience – Obedience to God’s correct order of things.  It may take being content with very little for a while (or longer).   It may mean the “5 piece, double-sink en suite” will have to wait – or perhaps will never be a reality…   It always means self sacrifice and hard work. But God’s word tells us that “All hard work brings a profit.”  And, there is blessing and joy in obedience.  Most importantly, God is honored and glorified in our lives.  Marriage and family is GOOD – it is God’s design.

Let’s honor marriage and family and home.  A world without Christ is watching us to see if somehow they can get a glimpse of God.  If marriage is a mystery – perhaps a glimmer of that mystery is revealed to them as they observe us in our homes – the way I observed the wren family. 

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