This is the first (and probably shortest) post of a three part series on my trip to Nashville, TN for Rich and Tiff’s wedding and what the Lord taught me over this amazing weekend. Tonight’s post: Stones.
My journey started Thursday afternoon driving 3 hours to my hometown of High Point, NC. During the drive I fought mixed emotions. There was a huge part of me that simply didn’t want to go. It wasn’t that I was dreading the drive or didn’t support Rich in his decision to marry Tiff. I had battled all week about why there was such a huge part of me that, when I allowed myself to think about it, was truly dreading this trip to my best friend’s wedding. Marriage is supposed to be an exciting time, not only for the bride and groom, but for the friends and family of each of them.
I thought. I prayed. Finally, in the quiteness of my car, somewhere between Columbia and Charlotte on Interstate 77, I begged the Lord to show me what the hell was wrong with me. Then there, in the silence came two words: “You’re jealous.”
My immediate response to the Lord was “WTF?! Are you kidding me? Jealous? I don’t want Rich’s girl.” The Lord responded with “No, but you want companionship. You’re jealous that Rich is gaining a wife and a life long companion.” The truth hurts.
The truth is that many days, I am lonely. I have watched all of my High School friends get married, some even have kids at this point. Now my roommate of three years is getting married. I realize that in your 20s stuff like marriage and kids and buying a home normally takes place, but for me it hasn’t. It’s tuff watching all of your friends get married and start a new chapter in life right before your eyes. I’ve even avoided weddings due to my lack of a date and for fear I would be dancing alone at the reception.
I realize that the Lord has different plans for each of us. No two people are on the same time table. Some get married at 18, others at 22. I on the other hand haven’t gone out on a date in over two years. (No, I am not feeling sorry for myself.) I can’t say that I really even want to get married now. I am young. (Even though in my group of friends I am the old man of the group… At least until arriving at Midtown.) I more so long for companionship and intimacy. I have a desire to be known deeply by another human-being and to be loved passionately.
I was reminded by the Lord that He is the author of our lives. It’s funny how we as believers know we’re not in control. We can’t make the sun rise or set, or sprinkle the stars in the sky. At the same time we, as much as we sometimes think we are, can’t control our own lives, thus meaning we can’t write our own love story.
In preparation for the wedding each of Rich and Tiff’s family members and close friends were given a stone to write a prayer, scripture or message on. As the wedding ceremony began, each member of the wedding party carried their stone down the isle, placing the stones together to form a circle around Rich and Tiff. The stones were to represent how each of us individually makes up a community and how Rich and Tiff must be surrounded by a community of faith, love and support in order for their marriage to last. While this was meant as an application for them as a couple on their wedding day, I think this is true for each of us. We must be surrounded by community.
Now more than ever I am convinced that the Lord has a different type of companionship He wants me to experience now: Living life deeply connected in honest, God-centered relationships with those He has placed in community around me. It’s a people thirsty for God, living the Gospel together. It’s prayingtogether. Eating together. Fasting together. Loving each other even when it hurts. It’s being willing to fight for one another’s freedom. It’s chasing after the Lord individually and encouraging each other to do the same. Sure, there will be times I crave the deeper companionship that can only come from a wife, but thankfully, until she gets here (and oh Sweet Jesus I hope it is sooner than later) I want to live in deep community with those around me.
What are your thoughts? Comment below.