ou know, some ways of the LORD are very easy to accept and then there’re times when His way is a bit more challenging and the price seems a bit higher, perhaps a price too steep for us to consent to give. But, you know, in those times His mercy and grace seem greater. These are the proving grounds, these are the testings of our faith. I used to think that the testing of our faith was part trickery and part unrealistic expectation, something akin to being doomed to failure. O, but that’s not God, that’s not the God of peace: the all-wise, all-knowing, all-sufficient, all loving God of compassion. The enemy intends our failure at least and at most, our lack of faith in God—God who has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. But the devil would have us live/believe otherwise. So, when I share with you things that I am learning or have learned along the way, I don’t share with strong confidence save the confidence I have in and through Jesus, my Lord.
What I’d like to share with you today is a message I have been mulling over and working on for quite some time now. I’ll be sharing it in a couple of parts as your time is valuable and I don’t want to overstay my cup of coffee with you. So then, today I’d like to talk with you about marriage—a subject near and dear to my heart, a subject that is receiving much media attention of late. An institution that is under extraordinary attack and stands to be destroyed—but God!
When I was a little girl, my favourite part of each day at school was recess. I loved recess, I loved playing hop-scotch and tether-ball and I especially loved playing marbles. I had a little zippered bag with two handles and it held my precious marble collection. I had treasures in that bag that were dear to me and absolutely hated the thought of losing them.
Are we playing for keeps or are we just playing?
Well, at the beginning of the game we’d draw a circle in the dirt; never content to just play
the game, but fearing the consequence of loss, my question was always the same: Are we playing for keeps
or are we just playing
? I always feared the loss of my precious pink cleary
marble. I probably played a bit carelessly if I knew we were “just playing
,” but played with keen competitiveness and extreme caution when we were “playing for keeps.
” With skill and determination of a professional, 😉 I’d guard that pretty pink cleary
and never let it out of my sight. O, even the other little girls knew it was my favourite as I rarely took it out of my little bag, guarded it carefully and played it only when I felt absolutely certain I’d not lose it. This analogy breaks down of course, but you get the idea.
7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
— Revelation 19
When I think of marriage and the sacred bond between husband and wife, I think of that game from time to time. The Word says that husbands are to love, cherish and nourish their wives—even as their own bodies. Wives are to be subject unto their own husbands in every thing, reverencing them, as it were, with the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Both part of the whole, both leaving and cleaving: two become one flesh. So, the marbles… marriage… it will be a treasure to you and an heirloom for your children when you determine to draw that circle in the dirt—only playing inside that circle, and further, when you determine you’re going to not
just play at it, but when you determine that, no matter what, you’re playing for keeps.
Married for Keeps means forsaking all others, living out that mysterious picture of Christ and the church — you will do whatever it takes to not lose a single marble. What are some of the marbles in the bag of one who’s married for keeps? I’ll share a few of those in “part two” of this letter. Until then, don’t lose your “pink cleary.” Your children are depending on you to have it in the bag.