Thursday, December 20, 2007
Eighteen years ago today my life changed forever! It was a day that ranks in the top three most important days of my life, the other two paramount days being the day of my birth and the day of my re-birth! Eighteen years ago today, I took Maria-Luz Roda Bautista as my Bride. It wasn't an easy accomplishment! In the course of our courtship, she had turned me down three times! When she was finally convinced of my sincerity, we had to grapple with our respective governments, immigration, inoculations, her Mission Agency's approval, my seminary's approval, our families' approval and most importantly the certainty and conviction that we had the Lord's approval. Praise God, everything came together in God's timing and we were married just a few days before Christmas at Youth With A Mission's Balut Base in Manila, the Philippines, on a sunny and hot afternoon on December 20, 1989. It was a wonderful wedding. As the ceremony progressed it occurred to me that while I had given a lot of thought to marriage I had not given much thought to a wedding, but the wedding was just the kind I wanted - unique and personal, in an exotic location with a lovely woman who loved me and who was right by my side - all in the presence of the Lord and people who loved us.
That day, I took the beginning step of the adventure that is marriage with all it can entail - romance, passion, problems, insecurities, fatherhood, adult-childhood, triumph, failure, pride, shame, teaching and ever learning, laughter and tears. Luz and I have seen our family grow together, buried two parents together, and buried a child together. We have soared to tremendous heights, and trudged along life's terrible swamps. Marriage continues to be all I have hoped for and more than I can handle. When I look at what the Lord has done in and through Luz and me these 18 years, I am so thankful for seeing Jesus' power and mercy manifested in our lives. Without Him, our marriage would never have come to be, let alone survived 18 years after its beginning.
As Luz and I celebrate God's provision and grace over 18 years as a married couple, we will commit ourselves anew to asking the Lord to keep us abiding with Him. The marriage journey is a wonderful adventure, but a perilous one as well. We are as vulnerable as any other couple to the myriad of traps, pitfalls and obstacles that can undo any marriage, good, bad or ugly. We will not just be praying for ourselves, but for others who have embarked on this journey as well. Bringing a man and a woman together in the holy institution of marriage is a God-sized task. Our Almighty God is up to challenge and able to do more than we imagine or could ever hope for. Spend some time today asking the Lord to bless the marriages of people who are dear to you and please include Luz and Sam in your list. Continuing the journey in faith...