Much of the time it doesn’t work out this way because this world is so broken and can be so dark, but every once in a while you are allowed to be a part of, or at least catch a glimpse of, something that points toward something more, something bigger, something so sacred that you want to cup it gently in your hands, speak of it only in whispers, breathe soft so as not to disturb it.
There is a boy. A boy who grows up. A boy who falls in love with and marries a girl. A girl who discovers she is pregnant with a son and fast on the heels of that revelation discovers that she is dying. There is a boy. A boy who sinks down. A boy who clings to his son in order to keep his face above the waves that are drowning him. A boy who continues to seek God even though most of the time he is not convinced that such a God exists and all of the time feels an anger toward Him that threatens to burn his heart into ashes.
There is a God. A God who longs to be found, who deals gently and softly with those who are wounded. A God who slowly soothes and cleanses and heals the heart of a boy using, in part, the heart of a girl.
There is a girl. A girl who has lost the mother she loves yet chooses to cling to the God who gifted her such a mother in the first place. A girl who loved a boy yet was willing to give the boy up to God to be sure that his newly healed heart belonged to God alone.
There is a boy and there is a girl and, most of all, there is a God. A God who is using a story and a wedding and a marriage to tell me and to tell you that there is hope and there is truth and above all there is love. A God who wants you to know as you sit in the dark, hiding or weeping or perhaps both at the same time, that there is light in this dark.
Perhaps it seems like just a candle flame in the dark, flickering uncertainly as though a whisper might extinguish it, but I saw this weekend in the beauty of a wedding that this tiny flame will spread and will pierce the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.
What I saw this weekend in the crazy-loud joy, in the riotous music and lights, in the feasting and laughing and wide-open grins made me want to jump up with my arms flung out and shout Silence! Listen to the small voice, to the message so sacred and precious, so unbelievable and so true that it makes you stand rooted to the spot with Thomas and whisper My Lord and my God.
Christ is risen. Hold it gently in all of its holiness. He is risen, and because He is risen, His love never fails. In your darkness, in your brokenness, in your fears and doubts and loneliness and amidst all of the shattered pieces that might never get put back together in this life, He loves you and His love never fails.
Much of the time it doesn’t work this way, but this weekend I was a part of something that points toward something bigger and brighter and truer. It is precious and it is holy, so lean close and hear me proclaim in a whisper this thing that is unbelievable and so true. Christ is risen. He is risen and His love never fails you and even though we never fully emerge from the darkness in this life, one day there will be nothing but crazy-loud joy and riotous music and feasting and laughing and light, such bright and brilliant light that the darkness will flee in terror to the deepest of the depths.
So take heart. Be brave and strong and true, and let Him shape your hearts into hearts that are beautiful, hearts that bear to each other that precious, flickering holy flame of love. Take heart.
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.