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Posts Tagged ‘New Covenant’

Twenty-three years! How can it be?

What were we thinking twenty-three years ago, as we stood in front of friends, and family, and God promising to love and honor and obey (yes, obey) “until death do us part”?

I know what I was thinking, “this is going to be easy, because we are so much alike.”

Ya, right! Of course we had only met about one year earlier, so, what we knew of each other was alike, and what wasn’t was shaded by rose-colored glasses.

We were young, too young (I say that as a now older woman who can see what each of us may have missed out on … the gift of knowing God’s calling for us as individuals before we were to become one couple … but that is topic for another post). Hubby was fresh out of university, only twenty-three. I was fresh out of my drafting program, just twenty. And we embarked on a lifelong, covenant relationship.

After twenty-three years, I now know that we are more opposite than alike, and easy could never describe marriage.

I also know that what we share, similarities and differences alike, is held together by the covenant that we both hold dearly. The marriage covenant is more commonly known my the word promise, but a covenant is more than a promise, more than something you say, more than something you do. It is a vow that includes us two, and the originator of covenants.

Really the marriage covenant is a metaphor for the covenant that God made with Israel (Genesis 17:7):

“I will establish my covenant, an everlasting covenant
between me and you and your descendants after you

for the generations to come,
to be your God
and the God of your descendants after you.”

God’s covenant was that He would be the God of Israel, from before the beginning of time (everlasting) to everlasting. A marriage covenant is like this in that it is a promise between a woman and a man that nothing will separate them, like God from His people.

But, like the Israelite people, we who make a covenant with another in marriage, fail to live up to our end of the agreement. And that sometimes means we are wandering through the desert, tired, frustrated, disappointed and there is no Promise Land in sight.

Like God’s chosen people, who were probably heard muttering under their breath, “well God, where is the land flowing with milk and honey?” we wives and husbands can dwell on the (yet) unfulfilled promises of our wedding day. Promises get broken, expectations do not get met, dreams fade, and the wandering in No Man’s Land is endless. It can begin to feel that marriage is more like a life sentence.

But, it is a covenant, and God is not dismayed by the unfaithfulness, broken promises and apathy from His people. In Jeremiah (31:31-34) God provides yet another opportunity to meet at the alter:

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Let me re-write that as a wife (who has lost the rose-colored glasses from the alter):

Soon, we will simply need to start over,
you and I.
We cannot still make the vows we made back in the stone ages,
before wrinkles and cellulite
before broken promises, and disappointments,
even though we both made promises many years ago.
We need a fresh promise, a brand new covenant.
God would agree with that, and He will be faithful,
and others will see Him through this covenant He has for us
 not just because He has been faithful in the past,
but because of what He will do in the days to come.
We, you and I,
we’ve got baggage.
But, a new start, a new covenant,
That could give us the chance to forgive each others broken promises,
and remember each others sins no more.

Happy Anniversary,
From everlasting to everlasting,

Your Bride

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