Saturday, September 11, 2010

Missing In Action

I will get up now and go about the city,
through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
So I looked for him but did not find him.

-- Song of Songs 3:2

It’s probably safe to say that electricity – particularly electric lighting – is the one convenience that we most take for granted in 21st Century America. We simply flick a switch, and there it is… until a storm rumbles through town and plunges us back into utter darkness.

We can thank Thomas Edison for showing us the light. But contrary to popular belief, he didn’t invent the light bulb in 1879. What he did was discover an economical, long-lasting filament that made electric lighting practical.

And it wasn’t easy. The famous inventor tried literally thousands of different materials before he finally found one that wouldn’t burn out in seconds. Edison eventually solved the dilemma by placing a carbon filament in an airless bulb. And a few months later, he improved his design by using a bamboo-derived filament that could last more than 1,200 hours. The rest, as they say, is history.

Thomas Edison’s tireless quest for the perfect light bulb filament is much like our search for the perfect marriage. A man and a woman might seem to be compatible, share the same interests and have even dispositions. But if they’re missing certain vital elements (like Edison’s long-lasting filament and airless bulb), the relationship can burn out too soon… or fail to ignite at all.

So what are they? When it comes to God’s plan for marriage, those elements are a shared spiritual awareness and the concept of total exclusivity.

Maybe it’s a cliché. But the Christ-following husbands and wives who pray together really DO stay together. For them, their wedding vows weren’t just pleasant-sounding words repeated in a church sanctuary on some Saturday afternoon. “Until death do us part” meant just that. Plain and simple. And their life-long marriages reflect it.

Total exclusivity points to God’s desire that we never compare our spouse with another. And unfortunately, this is easier said done. We live in a society that worships celebrity – the “beautiful people” we follow on TV, the movies, gossip magazines and the Internet. We also fall for their Hollywood-produced, Photoshopped images of perfection. Their reality, however, may be much closer to the ravages of drugs, alcohol and abuse. But we prefer to accept only the illusions. And when our spouses can’t live up to them, disappointment grows. And our marriages suffer.

Is your marriage missing…something…but you’re not sure what? The first place for you and your spouse to find it is at the foot of the Cross – that quiet place where Jesus paid for your failures and mine. As the author of Hebrews reminds us:

“We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete.”

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