Sojourn: Toward an Enduring City
3:1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
On Sunday I was struck again by the beauty of the flowers in the sanctuary. The variety, the color, and the arrangement all remind me of our Creator’s handiwork and attention to detail. But as I looked closer, something else captured my attention. One pink petal had fallen to the ground. It lay there alone, a reminder to me that even our best attempts to create beauty come up short of perfection in this broken world. Few would deny the beauty of fresh flowers, but we often forget that these very flowers are already perishing. Where can we find the imperishable beauty for which we long?
The struggle to find something that lasts is certainly not unique to flowers. Our relationships navigate the tension between the joy of communion and the fear of loss. The child wonders, “Will we always be best friends?” The lover daydreams, “Will we always be together?” The aging wife asks, “How many more years do we have?” We long for the beauty of a relationship that will never end, but every relationship on earth faces the specter of separation. Why do we long for something that seems unattainable?
C.S. Lewis writes, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” We believe that the Lord God made us. He designed us for an enduring relationship with Himself. Amazingly, one metaphor that the Lord chooses to explain His love for His people in the Bible is marriage. As Mark Davis reminded us on Sunday, marriage was God’s idea, and we can never understand it unless we consider His design. From beginning to end, the Bible reminds us that the human institution of marriage is a picture that God has given us to help us understand how He relates to His people. “For your Maker is your husband,” the Lord says in Isaiah 54:5. During His years on earth, Jesus referred to Himself as the bridegroom, and His life, death, and resurrection reveal a love that sacrificed everything to make us His treasured possession.
The roles of husbands and wives can be a controversial topic in our time. We will begin to unpack the wisdom of God’s Word on this topic in the coming weeks, but before we consider these details, have we really embraced God’s design? Let’s remember—whether we are single, married, or divorced—if we know the Lord, our primary identity is that we are His holy and beloved people. We are His bride. The next time we feel the fading beauty of this world, will we rejoice in the imperishable beauty of our sacred marriage to the Lord Jesus Christ?