A Wedding in the Whirlwind
After Job suffered all of his afflictions and loss, and endured the debates with his (unhelpful) counselors, the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1). Job had faced the fury of hard providence, and now he faced the whirlwind of God’s very Word. These Nebraska plains know a thing or two about whirlwinds. First––and perhaps a bit off topic––they aren’t what a recent Moscow, ID meteorologist called them: “cold air funnel”. That meteorologist probably attended the same school as the people who stripped Pluto of its planetary status. But I severely digress.
Whirlwinds aren’t polite. They don’t ask permission as to where they go, what they do, or whether the timing is convenient. They arrive with all their sudden ferocity, state their case, and leave just as suddenly.
Joshua and Whitney, you’re getting married in the midst of a time of whirlwind. A virus which no one seems to know much about. A financial ruin which our politicians don’t seem to realize they are bringing upon us. A time of turmoil and upheaval across the world. Riots and protests sparked by injustice in our justice system. All the world seems to be wondering what will happen in next week’s episode.
Some may question whether getting married during such a time is prudent. But we should never look at present turbulent winds we face as voiceless, pointless, or senseless. After all, the Lord speaks through whirlwinds. He blows away all our ramshackle cottages of self-assurance and self-aggrandizement. He shakes the world in order that the world might come to that which is unshakable (Hebrews 12:27-29).
God is speaking to the world in this moment and through these calamities we face and endure. He’s telling the world that the Cornerstone is the only foundation which can stand firm regardless of earthly circumstances. If all was calm and sunny, you might be tempted to establish your marriage on the fleeting foundation of emotion, attraction, or convenience.
But you’re beginning your marriage in a time when the vows you’re about to take will demand your fidelity to them right away. Better or worse. Plenty or want. Sickness or health. Joy or sorrow. Triumphs or turmoil. You must not only repeat these vows, but you must mean them and then live them.
Modern society is quite comfortable with the notion of vow-less consummation. Couples are expected to move in together––with no promise binding them together––and we expect the mere presence of warm-fuzzies to keep their love burning bright. This arrangement is like a swimmer trying to reach shore while carrying a bowling ball. He can’t do it. No matter how much he strains for solid ground, the only solid ground he’ll find is the grave of the seabed. Our culture clings to their selfishness, lust, pride, and envy; and as a result never stand, and inevitably sink in the sea of guilt.
However, an equally problematic arrangement is when vows are taken, but are as hollow as the assurances of a used-car salesmen that the car ain’t a lemon. Scripture repeatedly warns against empty vows. “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil (Mat. 5:37 KJV).” “They utter mere words; with empty oaths they make covenants; so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field (Hos. 10:4 ESV).”
The vows you’re taking today ought to be full. While we might instinctively think that they should be full of your delight in each other (and they should), that delight can only be sustained if they are first full of your faith in Christ. In other words, these vows must be full of Christ Himself, and trust in Him to guide and sustain you through the blessings and trials that will come.
Your vows are a tether not only to each other, but to something bigger than you. Your promise to each other is an imitative shadow of a Divine Promise which God the Father made between His Son and His intended bride, the Church. The Father promised His Son the world: a people from every nation (Ps. 2:8). And He’s keeping that promise as the Good News of Christ’s redeeming work to forgive our sins and give us everlasting life spreads to every last inch of this globe.
So, in imitation of Him, you must now keep your covenant. Joshua, remember that you’re called to be the head of a new household. As such, you must be the sort of head that is full of tender-mercies. The sort of head that doesn’t weary of hearing what the body the needs. Whitney, don’t spurn the arrangement which places Joshua as your head. Be the sort of wife who might fit the description of Solomon, “Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners (Sngs. 8:10).”
Remember that in leading her and submitting to him, by cherishing her and honoring him, by laying your life down for her and by crowning him with your glory, your vows are made manifest. By keeping this covenant, you show that your vows aren’t built on fickle feelings; rather, you show that you’re a household built on the immovable Cornerstone.
So, though you’re getting married in a whirlwind, never forget that God speaks from whirlwinds. The whirlwind will sweep away homes built on the sandy foundation of vow-less consummation. The whirlwind will rip apart homes built out of the straw of empty vows. But the whirlwind will prove that a house built on the Rock of Ages––vows which are founded on the Covenant Keeping God––will be raised up to glory, like Elijah of old (2 Ki. 2:11), by the whirlwind.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, amen.