The Mercy of Marriage
Since our transition to Kansas City, God has provided two men who have stood with me in prayerful friendship: Mike and Morgan. I am not sure I could have stayed true to the Lord without them. When I have been discouraged, they speak God’s truth to me; when unsure, they speak wisdom.
They have helped me close the gap between things we aspire to in faith and the uneven ground our feet trod on this earth.
Most practically, we help each other to love our wives and kids well. We have a commitment to the whole of each other’s lives. The main goal of our bearing with one another? That each of us might be a good offering to our families, without compromise.
Each of us knows the real threat of compromise. It is not a distinctly ‘homosexual’ or ‘heterosexual’ threat; it is a human threat, the temptation to idolatry, to cast off the restraints of commitment and to offer oneself to the sensual gods and goddesses.
That threat in no way casts doubt on the restoration we have experienced in Christ, or the beauty of our marriages—it is a humble acknowledgement of our still fallen humanity and the idols that surround it. Such humility is key. The greatest danger is not a specific idol but rather the pride that insists one is not even remotely interested in Satan’s offer of the world and its lures.
All three of us possess histories of idolatry; Mike and Morgan can attest to the ways that their marriages were almost ruined by compromise. All the more can we witness of the greater grace that has commanded repentance and rebuilt trust in our marriages.
Mike and Morgan are now models of integrity where they live. In their own recovery and service of others, they have dug deep wells of mercy and truth from which hundreds have received ‘living water.’ Their very lives raise the bar as to what one’s community of faith can and should be—a place of powerful mercy where those humbled by sin get raised up to testify of the greater grace.
That grace has freed us to partake fully of the good gift God has given us in our marriages. We have been freed from compulsive sin and freed for the satisfying love we experience with our wives.
Not long ago, the six of us (Mike, Morgan, me and our wives) vacationed together on the Central Coast of CA. We thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of its vineyards and rolling hills of oak. For Annette and I it was familiar—we had spent ample time there as a young family at her parents’ home.
For me, the context still had that slight edge of CA idolatry—the wine, the sun, the body beautiful–the tendency to cast off restraint in what can readily become a kind of pagan paradise.
Yet greater still was our celebration of our holy, earthy and still passionate marriages! We all readily agreed that God had in truth shown mercy to us through the resilient gift of the other.
Solomon still says it best: ‘Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public square? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth…may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.’ (Pro. 5:15-19)
How merciful of God to restore us unto the fountain of marital love!
‘As You have shown us mercy, O God, in the desert places of our lives, would You show mercy to the beleaguered state of marriage in the USA? As the Perry vs. Schw. case wends its way to the National Supreme Court, prepare for Yourself a victory. We shall render to Caesar what is Caesar’s but we shall prayerfully fight for what is Yours, O God. Prepare the hearts of each justice, especially Justice Anthony Kennedy, to uphold marriage according to Your merciful design. Remember mercy, O God.’
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