“We are gathered here today in the sight of God and angels, and the presence of friends and loved ones, to celebrate one of life's greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishes and blessings to the words which shall unite these two in holy matrimony. Marriage is a most honorable estate, signifying unto us a mystical union. May this marriage be adorned by true and abiding love.”
John William and Matilda Jane Burris – October 1, 1867 – NC – 38 years
Isaiah and Ella Nora Burns Starkey – June 16, 1892, KS – 26 years
Jacob “B” and Emilie Brunn Siemens - February 11, 1897, KS – 43 years
Gerhard Weins and Anna Loewen Suderman – March 8, 1900, KS – 50 years
|Rufus Edgar and Olive Ruth Starkey Combs – February 6, 1915, KS - 12 years||Herman Bennie and Anna Daisy Suderman Siemens – May 22, 1928, KS – 50 years|
Edgar Frank and Emily Ann Siemens Combs – February 1, 1952, OK
And so commitment begins for a young couple. A young couple who makes a commitment to each other, one of the most beautiful and mystical unions God has ordained. A commitment that can be described as faithfulness in action, with loyalty, trust, and being resolutely, unwaveringly bound together until 'death do us part'.
There are so many side-trails that can beckon a young couple. One, or both, may feel weighted down by the increasing responsibilities of a marriage 'made in heaven' but lived on this earth. There are joys, but who can smile when the cupboard is bare, when clothes become worn, when the car needs gas to travel to the job or, when there is no money to seek medical help for a sick child?
The marriage vows, taken in a world of flowers and butterflies, can become chains that bind. When one or both long to escape from the prison bars of stale love. Perhaps escape to another relationship where we are sure to be more understood. That is when the word faithfulness is forgotten. Trust, patience, kindness, joy and love fly out of the window. Scowling, cutting comments and no hope become the companions of the faithless marriage.
That is when we turn in tears to the strength that is waiting, ready for us to put on. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. Isaiah 11:5
How do we know what faithfulness looks like? Did we see the sun come up? Did we see moisture come from the skies to grow grain in the fields? Do we understand what God's mercy looks like in our lives? That is only the beginning.
We have an example from the Author of Faithfulness – Jehovah, Lord God, the Alpha and Omega, El Shaddai, the Great I Am. Faithfulness is a theme in these verses from Psalms, overflowing with praise for God's faithfulness –
• Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. Psalm 89:8
• Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Psalm 89:14
• He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4
• It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, Psalm 92:1-2
• Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness. Psalm 96:13
• For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations Psalm 100:5
Abraham is an example of faithfulness as he obeyed God by taking his son Isaac to the mountains to sacrifice him. He proved his faithfulness through his obedience. He was tested and God knew his heart and a sacrificial lamb was found in the thicket to substitute for Isaac. The scripture in James 1: 2-3 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Faithfulness is living with perseverance the race that is set before us. It is finding hope in adversity, trusting in the midst of turmoil, loving in a world of hate and seeing good when others see only 'the end'.
I often wonder how God, who cannot look upon evil, sees the peoples of the earth and their unwillingness to hear Him. Yet He waits, for He loves us, He trusts us to return His love. He is truly faithful. Faithfulness is a part of God's character. He will not abandon us even as we play 'Family Circus' wending our way through life's distractions and finally come to Him. Our Father God is our final destination.
How then shall we live from this day forward? In faithfulness or faithlessness? The only decision we can make is to follow God and plumb the depths of decision that fills our life. It is amazing to me to know that I lost so many years of oblivious living – when it could have been so much more. It could have been fulfilling with intentional searching, loving, trusting and being faithful to His teaching. It has taken a lifetime to be heart-ready for His Coming into my life and heart.
In our spiritual sleepiness we need the words of Mark 13:32-37 - “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”