I got your attention, didn’t I!
One morning several months after marrying Amanda, I was praying for her alone on our back patio. I was praying that she would be encouraged in her walk with Christ, that God would overwhelm her with his goodness, and deepen her faith daily. I was praying that God would use me to bless Amanda. And as I was praying for her, I was overcome with God’s kindness to me. I thanked God for his kindness to me by bringing Amanda into my life. I was so overcome with joy that I blurted out, “I have been blessed my whole life!”
You see, I was blessed with over thirty-five years with Kim. She was a blessing to me, to our children, and to so many others. And here I am—again for a second time—receiving kindness from God. This time through my marriage to Amanda.
How I have been blessed!
“It is a miserable condition, my brethren, to depend upon creatures altogether for our contentment.” Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
I began to delve in a bit deeper into this line of thinking on my back patio. I needed to be transparent and honest. Losing Kim gave rise to an unwanted journey of over three years before my marriage to Amanda. So, I began acknowledging that—while I had just blurted out how blessed my whole life was—I did have that one very, very painful period. You could say my blessed life took a bit of a break—an interim period so to speak.
Or was it really an interim period? Was my blessed life interrupted? I pondered those three years for a moment.
And as clear as day, Jesus reminded me I was also betrothed to him. I am, as a part of the Bride of Christ, married to him. Yes, it’s undeserved grace. But even in that three-year valley, I experienced my delightful union to Christ. And this marriage will never end. Not in death. Not in loss. Not divorce. No abandonment. No leaving. No forsaking. I had, indeed, experienced the depths of his intimacy and presence in my interim period, my unwanted journey. Josh Smith shares of an experience when his wife was facing a health crisis. He says, “I began to fall in love with Jesus.” Why? Because, sometimes, you don’t know the depths of love for your Savior until you face the loss of other loves.
“This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:32
A reminder was hand-delivered that morning on my patio that my first marriage to Kim—regardless of how wonderful—was not the answer to my ultimate delight. My second marriage to Amanda—regardless of how wonderful—is not to be the answer to my ultimate delight. Both marriages are evidence of the kindness of God, yes. But no creature can be my answer to contentment and blessing. To think otherwise is “a miserable condition,” as Jeremiah Burroughs has stated. No earthly relationship can carry such a responsibility.
“…so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…” Ephesians 2:7-8
Ultimate delight comes from Jesus. He is the Lover of my soul. He is the great I AM. He is all I need. He is enough.
No, he is more than enough.
My third marriage—my relationship with Jesus—is my hidden delight. It’s a secret learned from the Word of God and a secret learned—and most certainly reinforced—in loss. Strip away my first, even my second marriage, and you’ll see an impenetrable third marriage, a hidden delight.
“Every man has been called to truly fall in love with Jesus. …He passionately loves us and is calling us to passionately love him.” Josh Smith, The Titus Ten