By Elizabeth Prata
Marriage is hard. It takes a lot of work, denial of self, service to the spouse, and submission. Having Jesus at the center is necessary for success and even then, some Christian marriages still fail. Without Christ, I am not sure how any marriage survives! I am not married now, but I was before I was saved. It was difficult and I wish now that I’d had Jesus to rely upon for help. Christians are truly blessed to have the Groom to whom we can bring our marital cares, joys, and petitions.
This week I’ll look at Christian marriage in a upcoming few essays.
Here is a heartfelt, true story about marriage from someone who knows. May you be encouraged as I was by this sweet testimony of my friend Pastor James Bell. He posted this in 2016. He’ll now have been married for 54 years next month. Here’s Pastor Bell:
THIS STORY IS TRUE! Like most young couples, this couple was sure that they loved each other. They did not really need the one pre-marriage counseling session– but it was required. So, there they sat before an aged pastor who had long ago performed the wedding of the parents of the young lady.
Wedding day– It was a beautiful wedding in a large church’s chapel. Every pew was filled. The weather was hot. The wedding went off without a hitch. BUT HIDDEN BENEATH were serious seeds of destruction. Troubles began soon. They mushroomed; but were still hidden from public view. However, in less than a year, all the emotions of love were deeply dead.
To the couple a son was born– at which time her parents came. And somehow the sadness and hurt was seeping out. For before her parents left to journey several states back to their home, they looked the young father in the eye and said, “It all depends on you!” While not totally correct; but they were right more than they knew. They were met with stonewall silence.
A few months would pass and the young family flew back to the city where they got married. They visited with her family; the young husband later journeyed to another state to visit his family; and then back to their far away home, to work, and school. Just a few days later, as he arrived home at the usual 2-3 am from work– a letter had been left. He opened it. His wife said, “It’s over! My dad will be out on Friday to get my belongings.”
The young man, alone in their apartment, raged with anger; and then wept like a baby; and then, he awakened upstairs friends and showed them the letter– the neighbors were shocked. No one knew. The couple had been very good at hiding.
BACK DOWNSTAIRS in the apartment, the young man became overwhelmed with one conviction: He had vowed, “…until death do us part!” He had not a clue of how or if the marriage could ever be healed. He knew one thing– by the authority of God’s Word, he had to try. Thus, he got in his car and drove across several states to get to her parent’s home.
The journey was instigated and empowered by one reality: THE AUTHORITY OF THE WORD OF GOD. He was BOUND by the Word of God to try to salvage their hopeless marriage.
[Note: Looking back, it was especially right that he, the husband, should humble himself and initiate reconciliation!]
SOME MIRACLES TAKE A LOT OF TIME! This one did. But slowly this husband and wife began to learn the ways of God for marriage. It takes a heap of God’s kind of forgiveness and a heap of God’s kind of sacrificial love to heal a broken marriage, to re-kindle love, to restore love, to take love to higher heights.
YOU KNOW WHAT– sometimes that young man, now much older, wishes that his marriage to his wife was more ‘STORY BOOK’… all wonderful and sweet from day one until the end.
NEVERTHELESS, he is exceedingly grateful for the GRACE OF GOD in healing the broken hearts of he and his dear wife. Grief lingers for the hurt and sorrow caused– nevertheless, GOD’S GRACE is greater than all our sin!
TODAY, HE IS FEELING SUPER BLESSED THAT God ‘ruled and over ruled’… that God gave him a beautiful and wonderful bride, completer, and companion. YES, SOME MIRACLES just take more time!
On May 27, 1967, Cynthia Anne Baker became my wife, Cindy Bell! I AM TRULY A VERY BLESSED man to have been given such a treasure! I love you, Cindy! WOW! 49 YEARS. TODAY! LET’S DO 31 MORE! With those years added on, I will only be 102… and by then, you will only be….. ….. much younger! — James Bell
James Bell is a pastor ministering since 1975 at Southside Baptist Church in Gallatin TN