Today was my best friends’ wedding. Not my best friend’s wedding, my best friends’ wedding.
A few years ago, a sweet, funny man named Mike went through an unwanted divorce. Although he did everything he could, the marriage ended anyway. This was a very hard time for Mike, who was at that time a casual friend of Sam’s and mine. We started hanging out more with Mike while he was going through this struggle, wanting to show love and support – but very quickly realized that we also had found a very close friend. We became the Three Musketeers, going to movies together, dinners out, just having a great time being a trio of best friends.
At the same time, there was a beautiful, loving and kind lady by the name of Marty who had become a single mother through some extremely difficult circumstances. She was part of a community group that Sam and I attend at our church, and we thought she was a terrific person. So, when they started dating a year and a half ago, we couldn’t have been happier.
They told us later that when they started dating, Mike told Marty that one non-negotiable was his best friends. Marty’s response was “Sam and Kim? I love them!” So we started hanging out as two couples and had even more fun.
The surprise blessing for me was that in Marty, God sent me a genuine best friend, the kind I have only had a couple of times in my entire life, but I admit, I hadn’t been praying for. I had spent much of my life without a best friend that close and that special, and I didn’t expect it or look for it. Sam has been my best friend since we met, and I didn’t realize how much I missed also having a best girl friend. I didn’t pray for a friend like that to come along, but God sent her anyway and blessed me greatly. So we became truly four best friends.
Today, exactly eighteen months after their first date, Mike and Marty became husband and wife. Sam and I were honored to stand up for them. They had planned just an ultra simple ceremony, just themselves, Marty’s sons, Sam, me and the minister. However, they are way too loved for that to happen. The wedding was held in a chapel where Marty works, and her co-workers not only attended but got a cake, beautiful flowers for the wedding party and a lovely gift – and the small office where Mike works shut down completely so all his co-workers could come!
I have been smiling all day at the thought of two people I love so much being so happy, and also at what it represents. This wasn’t a “perfect” wedding, young people starting out fresh at age 23 or so, ready to face life with no baggage and build a dream life together. (Of course that’s an illusion anyway, but that’s another topic altogether). These were people who have gone through life’s trials and struggles, made mistakes and been hurt – but found each other and found love and found hope. They looked at a future together and said “Yes”. Saying “yes” when you’re asked to do something huge and amazing and life-changing isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
The Bible calls the church the bride of Christ. Well, that’s not because we are so spotless and holy and pure. It’s because in spite of the mistakes and trials and hurts and pain, we can come to Jesus with our bruises and scars, in our ripped clothes with the muddied up mess we’ve made of our lives – and HE is the one who makes us holy and pure. HE is the one who presents us to the Father dressed in spotless white. We don’t have to be good enough, we just have to come and find love and hope – and say “Yes”.
A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. He made the church holy by the power of his word, and he made it pure by washing it with water. Christ did this, so that he would have a glorious and holy church, without faults or spots or wrinkles or any other flaws. Ephesians 5:25-27 CEV
But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind he is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about. God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are. Ephesians 2: 4-10