For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live,are wedding vows. My husband I made them to each other almost 19 years ago and by God’s grace we are living those vows out.
When you first make those vows it seems romantic and adventurous. There is an eagerness to make these vows and often the mistaken expectation that keeping them is going to be easy. And then life hits and it hits hard. An ill- spoken word here an ill-spoken word there, a financial loss, an unexpected health crisis,forgetting to forgive this and that,and all of the sudden all you can do is look to the faithful, never-failing, always and forever love of God and live in light of that. You remember that your right standing before God cost God his only beloved Son. You remember that you owed a debt that was so vast and so deep that there is no way you could pay it; therefore everlasting punishment awaited you. But by the death of the One who knew no sin and became sin for you – an exchange. Your sin for his righteousness. Crazy!
As you see this relentless pursuing and faithfulness to one so undeserving, vows made to God toward the man you married becomes serious gospel business. A picture of the Christ and his Church. No insignificant thing.
Gospel ministry to a disenfranchised, neglected, and impoverished neighborhood is kinda like the beginning of a marriage. There is eagerness to make vows that you will bring the gospel there no matter what it takes. For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as I live! Then life hits and it hits hard. A shooting here and a shooting there. Kids smoking pot in the backyard. Heroin overdoses. Drug dealers next door. Seemingly very little interest in Jesus.
Not so adventurous. Not so romantic anymore.
But what about that faithful, never- failing, always and forever love of God?
What about that costly, costly grace?
What about the One who knew no sin, but became sin so that we would become the righteousness of God in him?
God is relentlessly committed to his church. He is purifying her, washing her with his Word, and adding to her numbers for the glory of his name.
He has a people here.
He has sheep who will hear his voice.
But, who is committed to preaching and teaching the gospel of God to them?
The church. God’s blood bought bride- that’s who. The groom is always faithful no matter the bride’s wrinkles and blemishes. He continues to wash, mediate, advocate, cleanse, defend, protect ,and sanctify her. And he will keep calling people into her till she is complete.
So, when life hits and it hits hard, we keep pressing into the faithful One and faithfully preach Christ and him crucified in and through the shakey, unromantic, not-so-adventurous seasons.
In season and out of season.
For richer or for poor.
In sickness and in health.
As long as the church lives.
“The church is at the heart of God’s saving plan. His love does not rest on a multitude of isolated individuals, but it calls out and creates a people who can now be called “God’s people” 1 Pet. 2:9-10 ” – Church in Hard Places