Every Sunday, they come in by twos; twos that are one.
They sit silently in the pews, unless one stands up.
Their witness is that they remain; they sit, and are content to stay.
Through prayers answered or unanswered, spoken or left unsaid,
They remain; steadfast in faith, committing to love one another.
My heart rejoices to see them shoulder-to-shoulder;
Knowing that those shoulders share burdens and give comfort.
As long as they both shall live, they shall not walk alone;
Neither shall they rest without a guard or fight without a friend.
Marriage is a blessed covenant, but not often seen as so,
Since the media paints marriage as self-serving and shallow.
Thankfully, I have seen in pews, marriage as it should be,
Though the view from where I sit is still incomplete.
I see what it looks like to sacrifice one’s self for another,
But I have never been called to give or receive such an offer.
At least, not when it comes to flesh and blood that can now be seen,
But I have received Christ, and His sacrifice for me.
That covenant itself makes two one, making flesh one with God.
So, essentially, a marriage under God is making three into one;
One God, one man, and one woman add up to enduring love.
But Christ at the center of life and marriage
Does not guarantee that struggles and fights won’t happen.
Sin still comes as part of the package, but so does redemption.
And herein lies the promise that makes marriage last;
Christ transforms hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.
Though a slow process, endurance and patience is worth it.
There is joy to be found in remaining steadfast and being content.
The sets of two that I see with my waking eyes,
They are examples of what it is to live for Christ.
Daily, giving up self and flesh to please the other.
Daily, taking time to be served and to serve together.
Only, with Christ, it is not a give-and-take relationship,
Since I can only give what God has already given.
So, I invite Him to sit with Me, though such a little thing.
Whether I am home by myself, sitting on my spinny chair,
Or sitting on a long, empty pew; Jesus meets me there.
Right now, I am not part of a set of three made one,
But I am not off the hook of choosing to sit content.
I have answered the call, so Christ dwells in my heart.
This “one” is “two made one;” I have been set apart.
Daily, I here Jesus call across the waves: “Come unto Me.”
Sometimes, I get restless, and respond with disbelief,
But His steadfast love breaks through my fears,
And opens up this heart to the truth that two already sit here.
I sit shoulder to shoulder with the King, and so, I sing.
My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being!
Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth!
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD, forever. With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
Let my cry come before You, O LORD; give me understanding according to Your word!
Let my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your word.
My lips utter praise to You, for You teach me Your statutes.
My tongue shall speak of Your word; for all Your commandments are righteousness.
Let Your hand be ready to help me; for I have chosen Your precepts.
I long for Your salvation, O LORD; and Your law is my delight.
Let my soul live, that it may praise You and let Your ordinances help me.
I’ve gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commands.
Psalm 119:169-176, TAW
Dear Jesus, thank You for sitting with me, wherever I rest,
And for walking with me; being my steadfast Friend.
I trust and follow where You lead; help me in my unbelief.
I am poor and needy, but I know I am dearly loved.
Please dry my tears and lift my face to look up.
You have been here the whole time; You never left.
I am never forsaken, no matter what the world says.
Jesus, You are mine, and I am Yours; I sit, content.
In the summer of 2005, I was finally old enough to go to high school camp. I was so excited about the fun I would have that I didn’t consider the fact that none of my friends would be there, since they were all younger than me.
Due to a track meet, I (along with my older brother and older sister) did not show up to camp until Tuesday. The camp started on Sunday afternoon, so I missed the getting-to-know-you games that they play on the first night, and none of my friends were there. Also, I was an extremely shy and introverted kid at the time, so, needless to say, my excitement about camp died down pretty quick. All too soon, I found myself alone and unwanted. (It is not that my siblings abandoned me, but they were on staff that week, being too old to camp, and those on staff don’t really interact with campers.)
I think it was the second day at camp when I headed to chapel early. I sat down in the fourth row from the front, in the middle of the row. As I watched campers file in, I saw each row fill, one by one, but no one, and I mean, no one, sat in my row. On both sides of me, there were at least five empty chairs; I was completely alone. If I had been a more emotional kid and not so withdrawn, I may have run out of the chapel at that point, bawling. Instead, I chose to sit there and contemplate my life.
As I sat contemplating life, a really “funny” thing happened. The guy leading worship started to lead us in an action song: “Your Everlasting Love” by Bill Batstone. For that song, after each main verse, you stand up and yell out, “Wooh! Wooh! Wooh! Wooh! Wooh! Wooh! Wooh!” as you take three hops to the left and three hops back to the right. Now, imagine that you are in a ballroom where everyone is dancing, but you are in a 12 foot by 12 foot corral, dancing by yourself; the feeling that you get when you think of that, yeah, that was how I felt when we sang that song. I felt awkward, separated, and I was genuinely having a terrible time. My lips were singing a song of praise, but my heart was crying out at the unfairness of life. There were worse actions song that we could have sung, but thankfully, that was as bad as it got, and I got the message. Seriously, I got the message.
Up to that point in my life, I went to camp solely for having fun and spending time with friends. I cared very little about the messages being given each chapel, even though I confessed to be a Christ-follower. My heart was not focused on growing closer to Jesus, but on having fun. Sitting alone in that row changed my perspective on life and on my walk with Christ. In that moment, in that week of camp, God started to form a faith in me that stood for more than just a license to attend a Christian camp without feeling guilty. I started to seek Christ with my whole heart and be content in His presence, whether I was alone or not. That week ensured that neither friends nor boys could distract me. And even though I was desperate for love, my desperation drew me to the feet of Christ. In that empty row, I found that God was my most faithful and steadfast friend. He loved me even when I didn’t listen and ignored Him. He sat with me, and continued to love me, when everyone else thought I was not worth their time.
After all these years, that week of camp still stands out in my memory as a milestone in my walk with Christ, but I am apparently not finished learning from that experience. As I observe the couples in church every Sunday, sitting by twos, there is a desire in me to be part of a group of two someday, or today. Though I sit next to friends, I feel alone at times, but God pierces through my sad musings and shows me the truth; I never sit alone. Even if God blesses me with my “other half” someday, a man after His own heart, yet Jesus will still be sitting by my side, ever faithful and steadfast. He is better than my “other half,” because He is all I want to be. He is the reason I have hope for more in this life and in the one to come. He is the reason I am content in this life, no matter what comes. God has always been so good to me. Even the struggles I faced in the past, I can now look back and laugh, knowing that the lesson was worth the pain, and that, for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Amen! (Philippians 1:21)