One of the joys of being an ordained chaplain is officiating weddings. I enjoy all aspects of weddings, from meeting with the couple beforehand to signing the marriage license and getting it recorded.

I truly appreciate watching a couple unite. Recently I had the pleasure to officiate a wedding for a couple that had been married before and had reconnected after several years of divorce.

It was a small, quiet ceremony at their home with just family and close friends. Less than 20 people gathered outside to watch this couple reunite and reaffirm their love for each other.

What struck me the most though came from my first meeting with them a couple of months ago. We sat down for some premarital discussions, and I asked them what they thought made this time different from the first.

The groom’s answer lingered in my mind for days. He looked over at his soon-to-be wife, smiled, and said, “I never stopped loving her. Even when we were apart, I never stopped. I was always right here waiting.”

The words were sweet for the moment we were in, but they also struck a chord with me deep down. I often feel like that’s how God views us. We are in such a great relationship with Him, and then for whatever reason we walk or turn away from it. We wander, we stray.

That’s nothing new for God’s children. If you read the Bible at any point you can find stories of people who turned from God or gave up on His promises.

The nation of Israel defied God time and time again, and yet they are a nation of people that are called God’s beloved. They were chosen as the nation through which God would bring the promised Messiah, and yet they turned their backs to God and rebelled. Repeatedly. Sound familiar?

We, too, are a chosen people that God loves. He calls us His own. Ephesians 2:19 says, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.”

We are of His household and He continually and consistently chooses to love us and forgive us. We can’t work our way into this kind of love. We are blessed and favored with it from God, and only when we choose to turn towards Him do we feel the full effect of this kind of grace and mercy. It’s beyond comprehension, but surely something that we can’t live without.

As I said the vows to this couple on their wedding day I saw the love and understanding between them that had been rekindled. There had been a lot of forgiveness and reassurance between them and they were starting again with a renewed promise.

As I stood there, outside in God’s world, the beauty of making all things new hit me afresh. How comforting to know that God’s love never fails.

As always, my prayer is that you know God personally. If not, I’d love to talk to you about Him. I can be reached at keri.hill@abccm.org.

Keri Hill is an ordained chaplain. She lives in Canton.

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