I recently performed a wedding ceremony for my second cousin and his fiancé. They had wished to marry well before this, but circumstances had prevented it.
Most weddings are a special day for couples and a reason to celebrate. In this case, the word “celebration” took on a very deep meaning for both of them. They had risen above many obstacles to get to this day in their lives. They had lived through periods of unemployment, conquered some addictive behaviors and pulled themselves out of debt. Now, with each of them having good jobs and healthy lifestyles, it was indeed a time to marry and celebrate.
When I was preparing my remarks to the couple, a phrase from a popular contemporary Christian song kept running through my head. It says “Your love never gives up, never gives up on me.” God, indeed never gives up, never gives up on us. I told my cousin and his fiancé that they have another companion with them in their marriage and that is God. Just like their own perseverance and tenacity, God is the steady companion whose love never fails.
Usually in weddings the scripture from 1 Corinthians 13 is used and quoted; “Love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. …(Love) bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.”
While all of this would apply, for this particular wedding, I turned to the story of Jacob. Angels of God appeared to Jacob in a dream and he came away with a special promise. “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
When Jacob awoke from his dream, he thought, “Surely the lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it” Genesis 28:15-16. My cousin and his fiancé may not have always been aware of it, but it was God’s intention that they made it to their wedding day, having overcome many financial and interpersonal difficulties.
These promises from God apply to each of us every day. I have thought about the story of Jacob and his dream several times since the wedding. It can be applied to many situations where we need reassurance. I am glad that God never gives up on me.
But there is a second part to Jacob’s discovery. Note that he says God was in this place and “I was not aware of it.” God is always present, waiting and encouraging us. It is when we acknowledge God and give ourselves to God that the power of the Holy Spirit can be our guide. How much easier it is to get through life with its difficulties if we allow God to step in. We need to know that God is in this place, wherever that may be for us at the time.
The promises of Corinthians seal the deal. When we rely on God’s love, then we can take comfort knowing that “love always protects, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” This applies to each of us in every stage of our lives. It is one of those universal truths that encompasses all kinds of life circumstances.