It’s a love story retold, two people finding each other after losing each other. But more than that, it’s a story of grace.
When the men in our church met with Eric this week for a night of blessing, he confessed that the first time around he was too busy and too self-centered. He missed the warning signs.
But since then they both found Christ. And they found a new heart, a new family and a new commitment. And a new example, Christ himself.
This is especially important for Eric. He is, this time, to love his wife “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
It is the end of selfishness as we know it, although we don’t always get to the why of this sacrificial mandate.
The text tells us Christ gave his life for his bride “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
A man is not “Christ” to his wife, of course. But he should be Christ-like. And his sacrificial service and biblically appointed headship has a purpose: demonstrating to family and strangers the covenant keeping love of Christ to his church, a love that is sanctifying.
Clearly we lack the power to “sanctify” our wives, but we shouldn’t lack the desire. The measure of a man’s marriage is the degree to which his wife flourishes under his care.
I’m not suggesting at all that a man is more spiritual or mature than his wife. I know I’m not. I’m just saying he should make every effort to support and encourage her, so that at the end she is more radiant, confident and capable then when he married her.
This is sanctifying for both of them. We learn over and over again to extend grace to each other, as we minister to each other forgiveness, mercy, strength and compassion.
This wasn’t true when Eric’s first marriage to Debbie ended. But it should be when this one does, when death alone will part them. He must care for and tend his marriage differently this time, seeking always the Father’s wisdom and grace.
He will have to cultivate new habits of life, habits that strengthen and confirm the promises they make tomorrow. This takes time, time to create such habits and time to practice them.
But more than time it takes grace, since none of us know how to do this very well.
I see the joy on Debbie’s face. She practically glows. And I see the resolve in Eric’s. The glory of God has come down and blessed them with another chance.
And there is a new chance every day.
For them. And for the rest of us.
See other “night of blessing” posts here.