The big milestone came on September 12th, but not in the way you might think. That morning, upon waking up to realizing I was one year older and finally allowed to rent a car, I finished my accounting midterm and made my way to Raleigh to celebrate the marriage of a great friend, Chris Raynor, to his radiant bride, Karen Taylor. In the first few minutes of my drive, I received the horrific news that my fiance, Thomas, lost his best friend of 16 years to a car accident, just 3 hours before he was to marry that radiant bride. Christopher Barrus Raynor, one of the most compassionate and sincere men I have had the privilege of knowing, lost his life to this world and opened his eyes to the Lord...all while I sat at a desk, frantically calculating a balance sheet and income statement for a foreign company.
Needless to say, the reality of the next few days quickly propelled any and all things once considered significant into a very different category...call it backburner, extremely insignificant, low-priority, etc. Time seemed to stand still as we gathered together and mourned...for a week. The groomsmen tried to start normal life. The significant others attempted to make it through the day (none of us knowing how to really support the strong men we call husbands, fiances, and boyfriends). It seemed unnatural to be the source of comfort to them, as they are always the towering pillars of courage and stillness to us. But isn't that indicative of God's design for relationships? As I realized in church today, isn't that His painting for worship?
God designed worship as an unnatural response in our humanity. It is not in our daily tendency to worship outside of our control, to acknowledge the power of Another, or to rely on the Strength of One greater than ourselves. When we understand the power with which He moves and the grace under which He operates, we are compelled to worship. We can do nothing BUT stand in His presence and experience His greatness. When we have a glimpse of the mortality of life, we can better recognize the infinite majesty and eternal significance of His Sacrifice.
As I reflect on the past few weeks, I am compelled to a new understanding of relationships. Covenant commitment does not waiver when things get tough. If anything, a devoted relationship only strengthens during a difficult time. Nothing in our lives is certain. Nothing is constant. Through every twist and turn of life, the only stability on which we can stand is a common thread linking us to a Heavenly Father.
We tend to lean on the Lord when the going gets tough...He becomes our instant answer to a time of desperation instead of our constant encourager and provider during every season of our lives. As a result of these few weeks, I pray I can better understand the finality of life and cling to the realization that each day is an opportunity to worship a Risen Savior. Each second is the chance to experience His power. Each moment is just one more gift to understand a piece of God's character.
I told my fiance recently that we received the greatest wedding gift thus far through the experiences we've shared together. Under the banner of a Sovereign Lord, let us worship together in a new understanding of Him through the experiences He's given.
He gives and takes away. He gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your Name.