Now admit it: you read the title and you thought, ‘once was unbelievable, but if Catriona has duped a second poor man, I’ll eat my hat’. Well, no, it’s not about me. I am hosting a guest blogger – the one, the only (thank goodness!) Ali Moley. However, I reckon Helena deserves a mention as being at least part of the inspiration for this too.
“It’ll never happen,” they said. “You aren’t being realistic,” they said. “It’s very naive of you,” . . . “Maybe you’re mistaken?” they said
We began to have doubts.
Our wedding date was booked for Friday 26th June 2020 and all the arrangements had been made.
Many couples find the process of organising a wedding stressful, but we were actually, really enjoying it. It felt very satisfying to look for and find the best deals, to arrange the smallest detail to make our day as perfect as it could be, to be working as a team, sharing the duties and helping each other according to our strengths and weaknesses. It is something we both very much enjoyed.
And then Covid-19 hit us square in the face like a manky, coughing bat from the blue, turning the world as we knew it upside down.
The tears filled our eyes, and our hands clasped in prayer as the shocking media coverage began of China,and then Italy – over crowded wards, doctors crying, patients on beds, ventilated and dying, unreal because of the distance but gradually all too real with the insistence that the Coronavirus was spreading from nation to nation, getting ever closer to our own.
Day after day, images of poor souls gasping on ventilators were repeatedly shown while the TV Presenter read the rising death toll figures………..and unsurprisingly, the terror took hold.
No-one could have guessed how restrictions would impact our lives in the UK. Before lockdown, we hoped it might have a small impact for a short period of time. ‘Ach, it won’t last long!’ we said to console ourselves.
But then lockdown came.
At first the restrictions were novel, and we faced the virus with Churchillian fortitude and steely eyed determination. But then after a few weeks it became unsettling, disorientating, mood-alteringly normal. The unknown played havoc with people’s minds: the myriad questions and doubts and the growing incredulity of a society that had for so long tried to sanitise or even erase the thought of death from their everyday lives but was now forced to hear the wailing siren of their own predicted impending doom!
Helena, my darling fiancé, caught the virus and began self-isolating in Airdrie, but thankfully after two weeks and a very persistent dry cough she was fine. Her brother Stephen also became infected and after some worrying tightness in his chest, he thankfully recovered too.
By the grace of God, miraculously even, our little island of Lewis was relatively untouched by the Virus – Covid-19 left the Coves alone – but we were on standby, vigilant, “It could come at any time!”
It was getting closer to our planned wedding date and I prayed, “Lord, what about the wedding? Will we need to reschedule it? Will it go ahead as we planned?”
And the Lord spoke – the next day, Sunday 22nd of March.
Both sermons we listened to that day had the following verses from Jeremiah 33:10-11 read –
“Thus says the LORD: In this place of which you say, ‘It is a waste without man or beast,’ in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD:
‘Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’
For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the LORD.”
God had spoken and we rejoiced!
We took it to mean that the wedding would be going ahead at some point just as God had planned it – a day of thanksgiving, rejoicing and praise in the house of God with our family and friends, when the streets were full again and the lockdown had eased.
And God repeated either these verses from Jeremiah 33:10&11 or the lone verse ‘Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’, (which is the verse on our wedding invites) every Sunday in a sermon we listened to for the next three weeks in a row!
What an assurance from our beloved Father in Heaven!
We decided to reschedule the wedding to Thursday 27 August 2020, but after receiving those verses from the Lord we were assured that God is in control and that our wedding would go ahead according to His perfect plan, hopefully, possibly on that date.
We told others about the verses and some rejoiced and Praised the Lord and some out of politeness said, ‘I hope so.’
But many others said, ‘Maybe you’re reading into it?’, ‘no way is your wedding going ahead this year!’, ‘You are being naive’, ‘you are probably mistaken.’
Some days we listened to the doubting voices, lookingworryingly at the world around us, and we began to doubt.
Other days we looked upwards to heaven and clung to the promise of our God.
As our marriage date draws ever nearer, and restrictions begin to be eased, our hopes of everything going ahead as planned grow daily…….and you know what?
It makes us think of the OTHER marriage we are going to.
You know the one.
It has been arranged and ALL the Lord’s people are invited and will be going soon.
We are so excited that we tell others about the weddingand about the promises that God has made, in the hope that they might come too –
‘In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.’ John 14:2-3
or maybe we say to them,
‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride had made herself ready;….’ Revelation 19:6-7
or maybe we tell them,
‘….Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ Revelation 19:9
And some by God’s grace hear and rejoice and believe. And we rejoice and believe anew.
But others say, “It’ll never happen,” “You aren’t being realistic.” “It’s very naive of you,”….“Maybe your mistaken?”
And occasionally we listen to their doubting voices, and look around at this sinful, fallen world, and we begin to doubt as the virus of unbelief infects our hearts and minds.
But Jesus comes to us with His word of truth anew, the solid gold verses of assurance that we can rely on………and He whispers to us,
‘Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.’ John 14:1
and He calls to our Father in heaven so that we can hear,
‘Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you have loved me before the foundation of the world.’ John 17:24
And together we shout with joy,
‘For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Romans 8:38-39
And as the time draws nearer to that great and glorious day, we by faith rejoice, that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will take place just as we have been told………..and not one of us will be missing
Will I see you there? I really, really hope so.