I praise God for his kindness and goodness to us, his creation. His ways are not cumbersome. His ways are good.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3
So many people see God’s laws, statutes, commands, and instructions as constricting and burdensome. However, his ways are for our good. His guidance is intended as a blessing. He created me and then gives his guidance and presence to know his way to “…press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12). He seeks to guide us to be what he created us to be. His commands are not burdensome to us, but a loving expression of God’s best for us.
“God’s call to obey is itself a grace. In this call, he is actively rescuing you from you.” Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies
I know it’s much more complicated, but some see God’s command to keep faith in marriage as a burden. Some hate the discipline required. Some despise the reproof. Some do not listen to the voice of their teachers or instructors. I’m grateful to my parents, Jim and Jan Davis, for being teachers in my life. They taught me that the command is a grace, and it is not cumbersome.
“…and you say, ‘How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.’” Proverbs 5:12-13
Within the first week of my loss, I turned to someone and said, “Kim and I kept our vows. It can be done.” A thousand random thoughts crossed my mind during early days of grief. Yet, I remember the clarity of this moment. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to my wife for her faithfulness and to my God for his kind intentions. He commands us to be faithful in marriage. Kim and I trusted him, committed to each other, and remained faithful through our thirty-five-and-a-half-years of marriage. We did it. We kept our vows.
And it was not burdensome.
His command blessed our life together. We believed him; we benefited from his statutes. Some may say we got lucky. They may say it was easy because we were a good match. I’m convinced we made it and had a good marriage because we believed his command, submitted to it, and enjoyed the benefits of walking in obedience. We made it because of his command. It was for our good to be faithful.
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” Psalms 37:3
We promised on July 30, 1983 before family, friends, and God to join our lives until death parted us. I need to pause to thank my in-laws, Harry and Katrena Plumblee, for sharing the blessing of their daughter with me. As painful as losing her has been, Kim and I stand as one example among so many others that it can be done. Her death has put an exclamation point on our vows and thus on our marriage commitment.
“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6
Let me say it again. Death placed the punctuation mark on the end of our marriage. Keeping faith in marriage can be done. This exclamation point further reminds us that it is good when we embrace God’s ways or when we agree with him and his design. Call it submission or surrender if you want, but it is not burdensome or cumbersome. His ways are for our good. As David says in Psalm 19:11, “…in keeping [God’s law, testimony, precepts, commandments] there is great reward.”
We believed God and kept our vows.
“’Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Matthew 5:31-32