I Do...Again Today

Matthew 19:6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.

When my brother and I were young, we had a very exclusive spy organization called JPS. I'd tell you what the J stood for, but then....well you know. The P stood for Pennington (our last name) and the S stood for Scott and Shannon (our first names). Clearly very few people in the world qualified for membership. It was the best of spy organizations as far as I'm concerned. We journeyed all over the world, solving cases and fighting crime, and all from the convenience of our living room. We got to have all of the fun of being spies with none of the mess that comes with an actual commitment.

This morning I am in Acts 23:16-35. A group of forty men has sworn under oath to the Jewish leadership that they will kill Paul (Verses 13-14). They have even demonstrated the sincerity of their vow by choosing to eat and drink nothing until their purpose has been accomplished. Through God's divine intervention, Paul's sister learns of this plot and her son reveals this plot to the commander of the troops who are guarding Paul.

The commander wisely chooses to send Paul to a more secure location under the care of the Regional Governor, Felix. He sends Paul out under the care of 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen and 200 spearmen. We do not know whether the Jews heard about this transport but I'm not sure they could keep the movement of nearly 500 men under wraps. I'm going to assume they found out.

Interestingly enough, there is also no record of these forty men pursuing the troops to slay Paul. Why? Again, we don't know for sure but I'm going to guess they were happy to enter into a vow that thought would win them favor at the synagogue but not a suicide mission that would end in certain death.

This story reminds me of my first marriage. I was all to eager to enter into a marital vow that would provide me with comfort, companionship and contentment but not a suicide mission of marriage that would mean the death of my dignity, happiness and fulfilment. In fact, I thought it would be a bit like my childhood spy club - all the fun without the mess of a true commitment. Oh how I wish that I'd understood that God can turn a suicide mission into a rescue mission. In the perfection of hindsight, I know that had I totally submitted my heart to God, my first marriage might not only have survived but thrived.

Just as God's plans and purpose for Paul were not thwarted by a band of forty misguided men, His purpose for my life was not thwarted by my misguided choice to divorce. Unlike me, God has been completely faithful to keep his vow. He will not leave me, forsake me, turn His back on me. He would never even consider spending a single night on the couch. When I said, "I do" to Jesus, I became His forever bride. Divorce is not an option.

Today I see my marriage as it actually is - a living model of Jesus and His Church. I will not turn my back on my marriage no matter what. Yes there are days it feels more like a suicide mission than a marriage, but I'm keeping my vow. Because God is totally faithful, day by day, I know my marriage will both survive and thrive.

Jesus, You are the true love of my life. Because of Your goodness and grace, You are equipping me to daily be faithful to my wonderful husband who's captivated my heart. Today I will rely on Your strength and faithfulness to continue to keep my vow...til death us does part. Again today, I say, "I do."

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