Yesterday was a grand day. Karla’s sister Kara, who is nearly 40 years old married a chemistry professor named Eddie from Hays, Kansas. He is a professor at Hays State…a university I didn’t even know existed until about six months ago. The wedding was at our church here in Earlham and I had the privilege of officiating at it and our whole family was involved in it…Karla (as a matron of honor) and all five children. Luke played Pachebel’s Canon in D on the piano. Benj played trumpet for the bridal procession (the Prince of Denmark’s March.) Elisabeth was a junior bride’s maid. Gabbie was the knockout flower girl in a stunning white dress as wide as it was tall (the pictures do not lie!), and 3 year old Jared was the ringbearer and cute as bug in his tiny tux. The little fella actually sat in the front row for the entire service!
Who says children need to be in nurseries until they’re three? Low expectations yield low results. I say it was a grand day because everyone who knows Kara is delighted that she has finally found a great guy to marry.
Of course it’s also a sad day because Kara will be moving to the middle of Kansas, somewhere south of the west central part of Nebraska (just to give you a perspective of the glories of this location) where images of old Gunsmoke episodes and dustbowls swirl around in my mind. No one is delighted to have Kara move seven hours away. Our children, particularly the youngest three will take it hard. They already are. Kara has been a big part of their lives since each one has been born. She will also be greatly missed by her mom and dad (Dick and Marilyn as seen in the photo) who have grown quite accustomed to having her living in their basement for a few years and making gourmet meals.
However, when all the smoke settles I am convinced that we will all be able to say that we are delighted that God has answered a deep desire of Kara’s heart. Still, if you hear of any chemistry professor openings within a few hours of Des Moines, Iowa let me know and I would be happy to fill out an application for Eddie.
Kara and Eddie have had high standards and have held out for God’s best for them. Karla and I have prayed for Kara for many years in this regard and have tried to no avail to set her up with eligible men we thought might be a good match. It took four decades but they have both found what they were looking for in a spouse. Saturday was a glorious family affair because of everyone involved. Days like this are simply grand for many reasons. Why? Because when a man and a woman make an unqualified commitment to one another until death parts them before God and a host of witnesses it is a weighty drama of which we are all partakers. Some of us out here really do believe that a vow is a sacred promise. Spoken before many witnesses in the sight of God in a worship service with God as the center piece…it’s even more powerful.
It was interesting to see many of the same friends of Karla’s parents at this wedding that were at our wedding 22 years ago. Many of them not much worse for the wear, but some of course have seen significant life changes. Just another reminder to me of the transient nature of every material thing on this planet. But also a reminder of the power of promises kept. Life marches on. As a good friend reminds me, life is not good. God is good. Sorry to ruin the LG label…and the cool t-shirts and the positive thinking…but it’s true. Life is not good. It just is until it isn’t. Life is painful and troublesome, each day an unending reminder that each of us is closer to the end of our lives on terra firma. Don’t hear me wrong now. All human life is precious and created in the image of God and worthy of the highest respect and defense at every spectrum along the way. What I am talking about is the secular “life as Mother Nature” view completely apart from divine influence.
Each day is a reminder that if our reason for living is in this world alone, or in any material thing…including family and friends, then we are to be pitied above all. This does not mean that I don’t enjoy many things in life and appreciate the order, beauty and symmetry of God’s created order. I do. I love nature photography and getting up close to things. I appreciate the beauty of music and good art. But life is not good. Life, in this sense, is just an amoral thing that begins and ends when God determines. Some waste their lives. Others use their lives for much good. But God is always good in all of His ways. So the next time someone says “Life is good” or, “It’s all good” ask them why? Or, perhaps you might just want to think it.
During my wedding message yesterday I used a quote of the late, great theologian Jonathan Edwards, who was spot on about where the eyes of our hearts should be:
“The enjoyment of [God] is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. … Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends are but shadows, but enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
I enjoy the shadows very much in the heat of the day. I also like the scattered beams. But at the end of the day the company of friends and family will leave us…and then what? I want the fountain…No, better yet, I want the ocean!