During the last 18 months since ‘the visit’, described in the last post, my private journal of encounters with God has been recorded. It details the paradigm of marriage as it is used by God in the Bible to picture our relationship with Christ, and our being presented holy and without blemish for union with God through Jesus. (Ephesians 1:4 GNB). It is from this journal, that I want to share seven major parables which have instructed me so completely in the major issues which bond married people into one or cause the inevitable separation or divorce.
You probably have two questions for me right off. One – how do you know anything about it, since you are not married; and two – why is important to you, since you are not married? Good questions which I also asked God.
Let me start with disclosure. I was married for seven years and had two children from that marriage. One child died when she was ten years old and the second child is now married with children of his own. I married when I was outside of my faith, dabbling in the occult. Christ found me in the agony of that relationship and freely offered me salvation (1971). I survived the marriage till 1978, at which time, we were divorced. Since that time I have been single and completely uninvolved in any kind of male relationships. This was a choice I made for my children’s benefit and for the benefit of my work. So, yes, the question is: why this subject and why now, God? What is the relevance?
I will answer the second question first. Why is this important for me, an unmarried woman, to understand? As I listened with my heart these last 18 months and wrote what I heard, and then read the Word, I began to quickly realize that I and every believer must clearly comprehend this paradigm of perfected marriage. It describes the structure of a fulfilling and deeply satisfying relationship with Christ now-here upon this earth which will eventually culminate in a divine marriage with Him. As I began to apply this structure to my everyday life, every area of my life started to change for the better.
The answer to the second question is one of the most fascinating observations I have participated in during my life. Before I left for the mission field, God spoke a word to my wondering heart; Do not doubt I can satisfy all of your needs. You can live on my Love alone and I can feed you that Love through anything. I tucked that away in my soul and watch 21 years of full-time ministry prove that promise true (this, alone, would be a whole book). However, I share with you here the phenomena of God providing for me a ‘corporate husband’ these last 21 years . Because of this, I have never felt single; and yet, I have had no relationship with a man since my divorce. From the company of many, many wonderful men which I know through being friends with married couples, or men who are working colleagues with me, or are long-standing friends or relations, God parceled out from them, in an individual manner, a specific quality which met a precise need for me at an exact moment in time. It has often been, just a needed piece of advice, or a moment of practical help, a sympathetic understanding of a problem or a strategy on which to embark, or a moment of true inspiration. Whatever I needed was supplied, not by a single husband, but by a mosaic of small pieces from men who acted toward me out of a God-given characteristic which I needed in a precise moment. Because God chose these men with specific qualities, I began to see what the perfected husband would look like – God’s original plan. This is truly the incarnate God, Jesus, living with us and among us through people. He has become my perfected husband via this company of men in my sphere of knowing.
The same has been true for the many marriages which I hold dear to me in community. A corporate image of a perfected marriage has and continues to be in the process of defining itself to me as small mosaics from individual marriages touch and effect my life. Somehow, I feel with the couples their joy, pain, bliss, struggle and ecstasy as these small mosaics of their married life engage my life. Because our relationships are intimate, they have become a part of me. Since ‘the visit’, God has brought mosaics of married life for me to participate in which make brilliant and defined His holy paradigm of marriage. He is disclosing this to me through this corporate marriage.
The seven parables are seven mosaic pieces from marriages with whom I am in close relationship. I have changed all particulars so that no unintended disclosure will take place. However, all seven episodes are true. Also, I will take a writer’s license here to write these in the first person. By so doing, I hope to make them less narrative and more personal (as, of course, they were). The first of these is; The Sacrifice of Pain.
I am out of time tonight. I’ll begin this first parable tomorrow,