The Lord Smiled From Heaven

post date: April 26, 2009

It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting in the lobby catching up on my email and other details. In about an hour our family gathers for a final breakfast and then we will go our separate ways. It has been a fine weekend in every way. Yesterday we got Dave and Laura Kate started on their marriage adventure with a beautiful ceremony in the stately and historic Berry College Chapel. You never really know what will happen because no wedding ever goes exactly as planned. When we got to the chapel, it was hot because the breakers in the electrical system had tripped. They got it fixed just in time. 

At 4:15 PM Dave and I and the groomsmen (our son Mark was Dave’s best man) met in the little anteroom off the chapel for the final pep talk, prayer, and all the nervous jokes that take place before every wedding. Dave was a little worried because he had trouble repeating the vows during the rehearsal, mostly because I used old-fashioned vows that say things like “with this ring I thee wed” and “with all my worldly goods I thee endow.” Most of us don’t say “thee” and “thou” very often, but I like to use those old-timey vows on the notion that if it worked two hundred years ago, it will still work today. But it can cause problems since the groom tends to be nervous anyway. And sometimes the mind wanders during the ceremony. Incidentally, in my experience it’s always the groom who gets nervous. Brides generally seem very cool, calm and collected. This is their day, after all. 

So we worked through the vows with Dave in those final few minutes before the ceremony started. The other guys were trying to be helpful, saying things like, “Now don’t say ’Awfully wedded wife,’” and then laughing and slapping him on the back.

I’m happy to report that Dave repeated the vows flawlessly in the actual ceremony. We started with the seating of the families at 4:30 PM and I was walking out at 5:10 PM. Short and sweet and right to the point. Someone said it was the most beautiful wedding they had ever seen. I often hear that because when you have two people who love each other and love the Lord, and when they are ready to get married, and when you have a lovely setting, it’s always the most beautiful wedding in the world.

When the happy couple is standing in front of me, the bride smiling and the groom looking very serious, the thought often steals through the mind, “They don’t have a clue.” Whenever I share that in a sermon, people laugh, especially those who have been married for a few years. Truly, no one has a clue before the wedding no matter how much premarital counseling they’ve had. Certainly Marlene and I didn’t have a clue when we got married 35 years ago this August. 

Al Mohler points out that marriage is one of God’s best tools in the sanctification process. The Lord uses marriage not just as a great gift but also as a means for spiritual growth. So it occurs to me that Dave and Laura are more sanctified this morning than they were yesterday.

Last night at the reception Dave gave me a big hug and thanked me for performing the ceremony. I felt like I should thank Dave and Laura Kate for the privilege. In this world with all its problems, what a joy to be part of something holy, a little window in time through which we get a glimpse of eternity. 

That happened yesterday in Rome, Georgia, and the Lord smiled from heaven upon us. 

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