The night before our wedding reception, Daniel and I had a “toast time,” when everyone in attendance was invited to share a memory or a toast. Why have just a couple of toasts, we figured, when you can have twenty? (I should insert here that the champagne wasn’t proportional to the number of toasts. Just in case you were worried.)
Daniel and I took a turn too, seizing the opportunity to thank the people who had brought us to this place on the eve of saying our vows. I’m not sure I communicated everything I wanted to on account of all the blubbering and sniffling, but what I tried to say was thank you. Thanks, Mom and Dad. Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa. Thanks Papa Jack and Gramma Lo. For many things over the years, but right now, on this night especially, thank you for showing us what it looks like to make a big promise. And then keep it.
That summer of our wedding, both my parents and Daniel’s parents celebrated 35 years of marriage. We had seven of our eight grandparents still with us, still married to the same person they’d said “I do” to 50-plus years ago, just as we would the next day.
As I looked at the faces around me and started doing some mental calculations, I realized that between both our sets of parents and grandparents, we had almost 300 years of marriage represented in that room.
In that moment Daniel and I had no idea what the next 50 years would hold for us, what it would look like when we came face-to-face with “for worse,” “for poorer,” “in sickness.” But one thing we knew: by God’s grace, we came from a line of people who kept their promises.
And better yet, we had a God would never retract his promise from us, a God who would never renege on his covenant.
Just after the prophet Jeremiah received a message from the Lord that his beloved Jerusalem would fall, God followed up with another promise to his people—a promise of restoration.
I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. This is what the Lord says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them.
As thankful as I am for our family legacy of kept promises, I’m even more thankful for God’s bigger vow. His everlasting vow.
He goes beyond “Till death do us part” and gives us a forever promise: I will never stop doing good for them. They will never leave me. He stands before us at an altar of sorts, assuring us that nothing will part us from him. Not even death.
I’ve taken the challenge of reading the Bible chronologically this year and tracing the thread of grace through it. These musings are prompted by my reading. I’d love to have you join me: One Year Bible reading plan.