Daily Devotion - Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Today Merideth and I are celebrating our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary.  Twenty-four years ago today we both snuck out of our respective parent's houses where we were living at the time, and we met early in the morning at the Scotty's parking lot in Ocoee, FL.  From there we drove to the Orange County Courthouse in Ocoee and were married by one of the clerks in the office.  
The rest of the day was a blur of happiness.  We had booked the Honeymoon Suite at the Grand Floridian Hotel at Disney, but the room wasn't ready and we had to spend the day out shopping, eating breakfast and lunch until we could check in.  

I remember glancing down over and again at the shiny new wedding ring on my finger, barely able to believe what had just happened.  After years of being apart, experiencing loss, dealing with heartache, enduring personal tragedies and so much murky water passing under both of our bridges--we were together at last.  

And on that day as I looked down at the wedding ring on my finger, I remember thinking that the joy I was feeling was worth it. It was worth all of the pain just to experience that one moment of joy, and the thought that I would feel that same kind of joy for the rest of my life was an awesome proposition.  

It wasn't until years later that I looked back and realized all the ways that God was in the middle of our lives then.  I remember thinking just how miraculous it was that God allowed Merideth and I to find each other again, and then shaped our hearts and our minds toward each other in ways that I never thought possible.  I recalled all of the little things that had to happen in order for us to get to the moment where we were driving away from the courthouse with shiny new rings on our hands that were intertwined in my lap.  

And I realized something in that moment.  In a very small way I because of my own experience, I was able to understand just a little about the expansive, limitless love of God.  In that moment it was if God was saying, "All of the pain I endured on the cross, all of the loss, the sorrow--it was worth it to see you in this moment.  It was worth it to see you filled with joy, to see you finally coming to faith, recognizing me through my Son, Jesus.  It was worth it after all this time."

I was struck then (and still am) by the patience and grace of God.  God taught me through the experience of my own life, my own marriage that in His time and His way he was working on my heart and my soul, leading me to a place of repentance, vulnerability and openness.  God hadn't caused my pain, my mistakes and misdeeds or the difficult years of my life, but he used them for His Glory, and to bring me to a place where I could finally be still and know that God is God.  

May you experience the fullness of the God who has plans for you to give you hope and a future. May you come to the realization that this God has given everything to redeem you, restore you to your true humanity and draw you close to His heart.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen.  


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