Category Archives: Marriage

Why should we expect to emerge unscathed?

I read this quote the other day:

“Marriage, see, was God’s idea. It’s one of the most potent metaphors in all of Scripture for the way God loves us and the way we’re to let ourselves be loved by him. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To the contrary, it’s fraught with peril. Any good marriage involves a thousand deaths to self—the good news is, in Christ that marriage involves at least as many resurrections. We lay our lives down and enter this perilous dance with another human being who has done the same. Why should we expect to emerge unscathed?”

– Andrew Peterson, describing the story behind his song “Dancing in the Minefields”

The ironic thing is, soon as I posted it, Cheryl and I got into an argument. I don’t remember exactly what it was about (to heighten the irony, perhaps it was an argument about posting things on Facebook!).

But we sinned and went to bed angry (well, I know I did). And the next morning, the first thing we had to do was to repent of our wrongs. We then asked each other for forgiveness. Death to self. Then a resurrection. So true.

Marriage is a wonderful, gracious way to expose how selfish I continue to be, and that I’d have no hope of changing from if it weren’t for God gently, courageously transforming me into His likeness (Rom 12:1-2).

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– William

Song recommendation: Andrew Peterson, “Dancing in the Minefields”

It’s our 1st wedding anniversary today! So here’s a song that we both enjoyed this year. We’re not as young as the guys Andrew Peterson sings about when we got married – but these words speak of the same struggles, the same joys, the same realisation of utter dependence on God’s grace to hold us together, and to refine our lives in the process!

Especially like the backing vocals during the chorus, gently urging: “Don’t give up!” Here are the words:

Well I was 19 you were 21
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much to young
But we did it anyway
We got the rings for 40 each from a pawnshop down the road
We said our vows and took the leap now 15 years ago

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for

Well ‘I do’ are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I’ve heard is a good place to begin
Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it’s an easy price for the life that we have found

And we’re dancing in the minefields
We’re sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I lose loves chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith
to the end of all my days
when I forget my name, remind me

Cause we bear the light of the son of man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear
Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos baby
I can dance with you

So lets go dancing in the minefields
Lets go sailing in the storms
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And kicking down the doors
Oh lets go dancing in the minefields
And sailing in the storms
Oh this is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for
That’s what the promise is for

We’re off somewhere exciting for lunch and dinner, probably. Looking forward to having a great time rejoicing in what the Lord’s worked in our lives so far.

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– Cheryl and William

What Singleness Shows Best

As part of our date nights, Cheryl and I have been (slowly) working our way through John Piper’s “This Momentary Marriage” (thanks Rainbow for getting it for us!). It’s a great book and we’ve learnt so much from reading and trying to apply the truths in our lives.

Cheryl’s been sick recently so last night I had the joy of reading our latest chapter out to her, titled “Single in Christ: A Name Better than Sons and Daughters”. As I was reading it out to her, we had to keep stopping just to digest the awesome points that were being made about the Bible’s teaching on singleness – and how it applied to us!

Singles, as “eunuchs for the kingdom” (Matthew 19:12) have a crucial Christ-exalting calling. Here’s an excerpt (emphases and bible references mine):

So I say again to all singles in Christ, God promises you blessings in the age to came that are better than the blessings of marriage and children. And with this promise, there comes a unique calling and a unique responsibility. It is not a calling to extend irresponsible adolescence into your thirties. It is a calling to do what only single men and women in Christ can do in this world, namely, to display by the Christ-exalting devotion of your singleness the truths about Christ and his kingdom that shine more clearly through singless than through marriage. As long as you are single, this is your calling: to so live for Christ as to make it clearer to the world and to the church

  1. that the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ (John 3:3, Gal 3:26, 1 Pet 1:3-4);
  2. that relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families (Matt 12:48-49, Lk 11:27-28, Mk 10:29-30);
  3. that marriage is temporary (Matt 22:30) and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church (Eph 5:31-32) — the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face-to-face;
  4. and that faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.

(Note: Piper bases much of this chapter from Barry Danylak’s “A Biblical Theology of Singleness”)

I hope these points are an encouragement to our unmarried brothers and sisters in Christ – you can help us to see these truths clearer!

——————
-William

Sanctus Real – “Lead Me”

This is a nice song. The lead singer of Sanctus Real, Matt Hammitt tells the story:

“My wife, Sarah, and I once heard that the gap between reality and expectations is disappointment. There was a time when we were living in disappointment with our marriage. Now, we can see that our conflict was the result of our greatest expectations being placed on each other as opposed to God. I wasn’t investing enough emotionally or spiritually into my family because my own well was dry. I wasn’t walking as closely with the Lord as I believed I was at the time.

I wrote the majority of the song “Lead Me” on the day that Sarah appealed to me to be a better leader. The cry of her heart also became mine. Her courage to lovingly challenge me as her leader not only led to a song that is encouraging men and marriages around the world, but also has led to the most satisfying season of our nine year marriage to date.”

Sanctus Real “Lead Me” from Nathan Corrona on Vimeo.

The strength to be a husband like that comes not from mere moralism, but by dependence and a knowledge of how Christ was the perfect example of one. While he wasn’t married in an earthly sense, he loved his Bride, the Church, to the point of death on a cross (Eph 5:25-27).

That’s a lesson I’ll never stop learning…

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What dreams may come – marriage in heaven

So a question piqued my interest recently. It came to me one Sunday, when sitting under Jono’s message. Midway through he was citing the example of a movie called “What Dreams May Come”, starring Robin Williams. The story goes like this:

“Chris Neilson dies to find himself in a heaven more amazing than he could have ever dreamed of. There is one thing missing: his wife. After he dies, his wife, Annie killed herself and went to hell. Chris decides to risk eternity in hades for the small chance that he will be able to bring her back to heaven…”

OK, admittedly it’s a particularly well-rated film. But it does portray a human concept of heaven. The worldview in this particular motion picture basically states: unless your spouse is with you, heaven is not heaven.

So here is my question: “Is there marriage in heaven?”

You’d think no, right? I mean, Jesus said this: “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matt 22:30) And if you thought no, you’d be correct, in one sense.

But look how the concept of marriage is further expounded in the Apostle Paul’s writings in the book of Ephesians. Towards the end of the book, Paul gives some practical advice for husbands and wives. He quotes back to Genesis to outline the biblical framework of all marriage, and then he states this: For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. And I tell you, this is refers to Christ and the church” (Eph 5:31-32).

Profound.

So actually, the answer is yes. There *is* marriage in heaven. With this passage in view, marriage becomes a picture of Christ and His bride, the church for whom he died for, and loved sacrificially. So what if our earthly marriage is an imperfect picture? Thankfully, in heaven all things will be made new (Rev 21:5), and our imperfect pictures are no longer necessary.

If we turn from our sins and trust Christ for salvation, once all is said and done we’ll be in the midst of the perfect marriage between Him and His bride, for whom He paid such a massive price for.

So… I guess there won’t be any bachelors in heaven then!

———————-

-William Chong