Today I wish a happy anniversary to my partner in joy, my sidekick in suffering, and my catalyst for moving forward! At our wedding, I promised her that I would keep her “safe, secure, and on the edge of adventure.” She chides me that I have done best at keeping her on the edge of adventure. When I reflect on our relationship, I realize that although we have much in common, our differences have strengthened our marriage as each of us shores up the other’s weaker areas. Both the book of Genesis and Jesus noted how two genders come together in marriage to form a stronger union. In Genesis 2, it is only after the woman’s creation that Adam has a helper fit, or suitable, for him. So today, while I thank God for this woman who makes me stronger, I pray that we will continue to grow in love as we submit to one another out of reverence for Christ and sacrifice our selfish desires to serve our common interest and the will of God (Ephesians 5:21-33). Meanwhile, as we continue to teeter on the edge of adventure, I hope that Morrisa will sense safety and security as we blaze our trail forward.
O God who unites, thank you for creating the concept of marriage. The idea that creatures so different may build on their commonalities a stable union staggers our imagination at times, but we learn through submission to you and to one another how we may prevail together. Grant us the humility to let our spouse care for us when we are weak. Give us courage and strength to step up and do our part when the other falters. Open our eyes so that we may see the promise of joy in each adventure we share, until finally we sit safe and secure at your side. Thank you for my wife and the story we are writing together with our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Tagged adventure, anniversary, Ephesians 5, faithfulness, Genesis 2, hope, love, marriage, Prayer, safety, security, submission, unity
Many observe the first day of April as an occasion for practical jokes and deceptive news releases. I remember when I was a teenager in University of Tennessee sports-crazed East Tennessee that a Knoxville newspaper published a report that the university basketball team had recruited and signed an eight-foot tall player who surely would lead the schools program to greatness. It was an April Fools Day hoax. There was no such signing. When a psalmist wrote in Psalm 14:1, ‘The fool says in his heart, “There is no God,” he did not refer to humorous hoaxes. He did not focus on atheists, either. He concentrated on people who profess belief in God, yet act as if he does not exist. They do “abominable deeds” (verse 1), they have become corrupt (verse 3), and they do not call upon the Lord (verse 4). Because they have turned away from God, they “are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous” (verse 5). They have neglected what they knew; they have spurned their source of hope. As they pursue their godless course of action, they scorn those who remain faithful to the Lord who is their only true refuge.
We pursue the course of the godless when we neglect biblical values by compartmentalizing our lives, living by one ethical code at work and another when at worship. We pursue the course of the godless when we minimize the value of life by approving of mistreatment of the vulnerable in our society, whether they are unborn babies, the aged, the poor, or the mentally ill. We pursue the course of the godless when we laugh at those who value faithfulness to God and give our allegiance instead to political agendas or cultural trends.
As we reflect on Psalm 14, let’s resolve to act with integrity in our dealings with other people. Let’s remember that God values highly the helpless and calls us to treat others as we would wish to be treated. And let’s pray for an end to the worship of slander and corruption in our world. But first, let’s look within ourselves and evaluate our own relationships with God. Let’s return to the one who truly protects in time of terror.
O God who was, who is, and who is to come, May we humble ourselves before you as each of us becomes accountable to you in our speech and our actions. Deliver us from acting like fools. Give us courage to treat others as people who have your image within them. Give us the spiritual and moral strength to defend those who cannot defend themselves. Ignite our faith and forgive our moments of doubt as we recognize your reality and return to claim refuge with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.