"Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me." Psalm 50:14-15 (NIV)
Well, I just flew back in town today after watching one of my dearest friends get married!
For those who don't know me, I'm probably the closest thing you know to the movie 27 Dresses; I have been in all but ONE wedding I have attended in my adult life! When that is your truth, it's easy to take for granted some of the things that occur during a wedding. However, this particular wedding I found myself reflecting on one part in particular more than usual: the vows.
When you first hear wedding vows they initially sounds like they are only between the man and the woman. The partners go through a list of conditions, pros and cons, knowns and unknowns, pledging to stick by each other through all these things. To that extent, vows are much like any promise we make to another individual (including ourselves) and that's when it hit me.....we are not wired with the discipline to keep promises!! This is not pessimism, let me explain....
I know a lady who has struggled with weight for most of her life. At one point she made a New Year's Resolution (i'll give you my opinion on these another time!) to get her diet on track. For a while she did great. She was focused and her willpower was at its peak! Then came a stream of special events, and her weight edged back up. She became discouraged and lost the motivation to keep up the effort, so she quit.
It's easy to dismiss people in this situation as "weak" or "not strong enough", but in truth...none of us are strong enough. The word says, God's "strength is made perfect in our weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). When we try to rely on our own strength, we are relying on a system with a 100% failure rate. It may work for a while, but willpower (as the world describes it) is always one discouragement away from defeat.
So, what does this have to do with wedding vows? Am I saying my friend's vows are doomed!? Absolutely not. The victory of their marriage lies in the last four words, "...SO HELP ME GOD". The vows they made were a three-part pledge: bride, groom, and God.
True, successful, willpower is when I add my WILLINGNESS to God's infinite POWER. What an awesome reality for us! I have the power of the omnipotent God at my beck and call. All of heaven is in your corner and on my team!! And when my friend and her husband made those vows they released God's power over their marriage and asked for His help through every temptation, every trial, every mistake, and every disappointment. I've seen how Satan attacks marriages, so as they said their vows I closed my eyes and quietly reaffirmed their pledge, "Lord help them indeed".
So what does this have to do with you?
Here's the good news...the same petition they made is available to all of us! I invite you to invite God into every situation. Surrender your will to His power and watch the two of you do the impossible.
When you feel overwhelmed - Say, "help me God"
When you feel tempted - Say, "help me God"
When you feel hurt - Say, "help me God"
When you feel like you want to give up - Say, "help me God"
When you feel scared - Say, "help me God"
When you don't know what else to say, Say, "help me God"
And allow me to stand in agreement with you for your victory over each circumstance and affirm your petition.
Dear Lord, help my brothers and sisters. Help them to realize that when they rely on their own strength they become weary and fail. Help them to place their trust in You. Your Word says that when we call on You, You will deliver and honor us! Thank You that there is freedom in the power of Your Name. We choose to look upon Your strength and guidance as we move forward. In Jesus' Name, Amen.