"How to Withstand the Test of Time" (March 5, 2015)

     In this transitory world of ours often our concern lies in the question, how long will it last?  It may be over a momentary time of bliss or perhaps with a serious commitment like marriage or a promise to follow Jesus all the way.  As I look back at almost forty-eight years of marriage, with the same young eighteen year old girl, who without much thought said yes to my dubious proposal, I ponder why has our relationship lasted while so many have shipwrecked.

     Seriously, I thought maybe it has to do with the way the relationship starts, or having the right set of circumstances.  Perhaps is taking time to make all the right preparations and lack no resources.  But I have seen that many of those that have failed and were not successful did all those things they were told would insure them of success.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe plans and preparation are essential to any undertaking, I am reminded of what Jesus said, “If you are going to build a building make sure you have sufficient funds to finish it…” for it will be clear to all who see it that the obvious reason you couldn’t finish, was a lack of funds (I’m paraphrasing).

     Personally we did none of the above.  Public opinion was that we were the type of couple less likely to succeed.  My wife was younger and inexperienced; I was older, irresponsible, unemployed, and incorrigible.  But here we are nearing our fiftieth anniversary!  Please don’t misunderstand; I believe all couples do the flowers and candy, special days and anniversaries.  We have kept up those things religiously throughout the years.  So what’s the catch?  What is the secret to longevity?  Is it learning to say I am sorry?  Is it learning to say please forgive me?  Is it found in taking vacations?  Time alone with each other?  Overcoming the mine and yours syndrome?  Is it being a good cook and good housekeeper?  A father who provides well for the family?  Being a good lover?  Perhaps a conglomerate of all the above offers a beautiful bouquet to assure any couple of marital bliss.  But none of them can secure for us the stick-to-itiveness needed for the long haul.  Just like in order for an automobile to last and serve you well, it will need scheduled maintenance and lots of TLC.  In order to have a long stay in the ministry it will involve an active and constant prayer life with vast amounts of Bible study and reading.  To be the Pastor of a church for many years, it will require an agape love for all kinds of people, a willingness to cross all barriers whether socio-economic, gender, race, age, etc.  Pastors need a tender heart, a compassionate spirit and be a generous soul with the skin of a crocodile.

     I am of the opinion that a happy lasting marriage is still between a man and a woman, because that’s God’s design.  Procreation is an added blessing and also that is a reality that cannot happen in same sex marriage.  God created them male and female from the very beginning.  People can change their appearance, alter their genitalia - but Bruce Jenner is still a male.

     Let me close by telling you that faith is the only thing that is lasting.  That’s why Abraham, the first Hebrew, and the Jewish nation are still much a part of our lives today.  I am talking about faith in the one true God.  The Christian church has survived the ages and every demonic attack that has tried to destroy her.  But remember what Jesus said; “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”  Our marriage has lasted because we built it on the Rock, Jesus!  I haven’t been the perfect husband, my wife is neither perfect, we still have our differences, but we both believe and have faith in the Lord Jesus.  “Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of God.”  If I obey God’s word and my wife obeys the same, then both of us will recognize our proper roles and bingo - it will work and last because that is the way God designed it.  I didn’t go to school to learn how to be a good husband and father.  Schooling doesn’t teach you how to be a good wife and a good mother.  No wonder many fail and end up in divorce court.  But as believers we have the Holy Spirit from God who leads us, guides us and teaches us all things.

     If you aren’t making it as a husband or a wife or as a Christian committed to Christ, just ask Jesus to help you.  He loves you, died for you and came back from the dead to give us all hope.  He hears the smallest prayer, just mean it.  All things are possible to him that believeth.  Hang in there, you can make it, you can finish the race, run the course and keep the faith.

~ Pastor John