The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23
I had the privilege of being invited to a renewal marriage vow ceremony on New Year ’s Eve. My friends and church family members Vasan and Sherrie were renewing their vows for being married for twenty years ago by a Justice of the Peace. They wanted to do it in a traditional wedding setting in a church and with a Pastor administering the vows. It was an awesome night to finish a tough year and have hope for a new beginning of the New Year. For my family it was a roller coaster of a year emotionally with the compound fracture my Mother in-law suffered, to the brain surgery she would need later in the year, to the loss of a much loved dog. Those were just the lower points of the year; there were a lot of high points as well. They talked about briefly how we all should be having this renewal type feeling at the beginning of the year. I found this wonderful scripture above that goes along well with the idea of renewal.
There are two themes at work here in the above scripture, God’s faithfulness, and God’s mercy. They work together to make a new beginning. Webster’s 1828 dictionary says that faithfulness is fidelity; loyalty; firm adherence to allegiance and duty. That’s how faithful God is to us, He adheres Himself to us. God’s faithfulness never ends. He is a permanent tattoo on our soul when we accept His son as our Lord and savior. He uses marriage as an example of how His relationship is with us. We can have an intimate relationship with God as we do in our own marriage. God’s unconditional love for us is how we in our own marriages should have for our spouse, whether we receive love back or not. Marriage is not what you can get out of it, but what you can bring to it. It’s not how can I best be served, but how can I best serve my spouse. Vasan and Sherrie are fine examples of how that is done and those traits have been passed on to their three daughters. They have the faithfulness to each other that is a godly example of how a marriage should be. When it comes to God’s faithfulness for us there is no comparison to any relationship on earth. We cannot even be as faithful to God as He is to us. As Solomon wrote in the above verse, great is His faithfulness.
The next operative word and theme in the verse is mercy. In order to receive mercy God has to be faithful to us. God is the ultimate life-giver and I really believe that we all should make our aim at being life-givers ourselves. If you have read any prior posts that I have written you will understand that the idea of a life-giver is not giving life, but giving love to people who may not deserve it. Love is the life-giving element. The 1828 dictionary has a large paragraph on what mercy is; let me put part of it here. Mercy is that benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves. I think the key words are having a tenderness of heart. Being tender hearted is a way in which God restores us and makes His mercy fresh every day. Vasan and Sherrie not only do this in their marriage, but extend the tenderness and love out to their church family as well. They are great examples of life-givers and model the kind of mercy God has for us. When you speak life-giving words to people, you encourage them on to something great. A few well-placed encouraging words are just a step away from significance. We always hold the power of life and death with just the words we speak.
Renewal is where we have faithfulness and mercy mixed in with our love for one another. Renewal is the result of what faithfulness and mercy bring about. Faithfulness and mercy are symptoms of unconditional love. You know you are on the right track to what God wants you to be when you display these two traits. Vasan and Sherrie not only renewed their vows before God and a bunch of people, but they are a great example of how to be completely abandoned to God’s will and purpose. God’s will and purpose is for us to be imitators of Christ who shows us faithfulness and mercy.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.