Duration: 365 days
MARRYING ONLY FOR A LIFETIME (LUKE 20:34–36)
One of my favorite things that my husband and I do together is travel. We’ve been to lots of places together. I have a framed picture of us taken on an island trip that includes this caption: “It doesn’t matter where you go, it’s who’s beside you that counts.”
I could be anywhere in the world, and as long as Dan and I are together, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I have taken great comfort in the thought that if Dan dies before me, I can endure a temporary layover in this world, knowing that one day I’ll travel to heaven, and he’ll be waiting at the gate for me. It’s a nice idea. But as I read Luke 20, I’m wondering if it’s true.
What if Dan and I are only married for this lifetime, and there’s no possibility of being united in heaven as husband and wife? Doesn’t the concept of a soul mate presume an eternal—no beginning, no end—kind of relationship? I have to be honest: If marriage is only for this lifetime, how can I believe that heaven is all it’s cracked up to be—a place of eternal fulfillment? How can I be happy there without Dan?
For answers to those questions, I decided to consult the ultimate travel guide—the Bible. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells us that God created man and woman to be joined together as one in marriage to satisfy the deepest need for human intimacy. In so many ways, marriage mirrors the deeper hunger of our soul to know our Creator and to be known by him. Marriage, then, is simply a shadow of a deeper reality, much like the tabernacle was a symbol of the greater truth of God’s presence with his people, and much like animal sacrifice foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice God would make of his own Son, Jesus, on the cross.
The Bible refers to the church as Christ’s bride. By living out fidelity, sacrificial love and purity in marriage, we’re preparing ourselves for the reality of life with Christ. After we die, we will be married to Christ. He will be our bridegroom, and we will be his bride. When we love our mate the way we are supposed to, we live out our spiritual calling on earth to be holy. Marriage, then, is more than our need for a companion or soul mate. It is a path of sanctification that we travel before we pass into glory . . . . Rather than taking away the great blessing of marriage, Jesus is telling us that our marital relationships will be fulfilled, or brought to completion, in heaven. So the life I now live with Dan will be rewarded in full when I meet my new bridegroom, Jesus, at the gate.
—Marian V. Liautaud
Taken from NIV Couples’ Devotional Bible©2017 HarperCollins Christian Publishing