I still remember the day my late wife Michelle and I were married. That day was nerve-racking to say the least. I even thought about backing out at the last minute.
I am glad I stayed the course and honored my commitment that I made to her several months earlier when I asked for her hand in marriage. Michelle spent several months preparing for this momentous occasion, and now the day finally arrived.
Michelle and I exchanged our wedding vows and began our life together as husband and wife. The wedding was in a quaint little town called Barryton, Michigan, about 40 minutes from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, the nearest bigger town.
Most of Michelle’s family was there, and some of my family members made the eight-hour trip to see us get married. Our pastor, Randy and his wife, Annette, were also in attendance. Randy graciously presided over the service, and a wonderful one it was.
As the service began, the church was nearly filled.
Many people that day told us how they sensed a specialness about our marriage. Everyone felt, including me, that God had his hand on our union. In hindsight, I know they were right. Looking back almost 25 years since that day, I know I married the right person. Over the years, Michelle and I had grown closer together and became best friends.
The other day, a friend of mine, much younger than I, invited me to his wedding. Despite my excitement for my friend’s big day, I couldn’t help but relive parts of my wedding as I watched my friend get married.
As I reflected on it, I remember the preparation time we took to make that day a reality, the love Michelle and I had for one another, and our commitment that we made to honor one another as we exchanged vows, declaring that our commitment was until death do us part. We honored that commitment.
What I didn’t expect, was the emotions that began to well up in my heart during the wedding. Sitting next to me was a beautiful eight-year-old daughter, who happens to have Down syndrome, that I was left to raise on my own. She and I had been living our lives for almost two years without Michelle.
As I was sitting in my seat, watching this beautiful wedding take place, the realization hit me that something was missing. Being married was something I loved. This experience revealed to me the void left in my heart since Michelle had passed away.
I am a guy that tends to stay very busy. I serve in various ministerial capacities, teach at the local university and write books. So I have little time to realize the void that lingered in my heart because that void was drowned out by the business of work.
To remedy the situation, I did the only I know how to do in a case like that. I turned to God. What I found most comforting was meditating on his word.
I could have turned to something else. You see, every trial is a test that comes with a temptation. I was tempted to indulge in self-pity and even to become resentful at my situation. Instead, I turned to God and his word.
I am convinced that trials will either cause us to become better people or will cause us to become worse. One thing is for sure. We won’t stay the same. It all depends how we respond in those moments of temptation.
This article originally appeared in the Republic on April 26, 2018
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