The wedding ceremony was going to start in five minutes, and Chad and I were in his office, trying to quickly hash out an argument we had been stewing over since the night before. It was going to be difficult for him, the pastor, to go out there and deliver an inspiring wedding day talk if his own wife was glaring at him from the audience.
We hate fighting. We both apologized and I rested my cheek on his as we stood there in a familiar embrace, both really unsure how to resolve the situation except to just get over it. We agreed that we would, and we parted ways, still awkwardly upset, but determined to put it behind us.
By the time I gathered our kids and found my spot in the sanctuary, most of the wedding guests were already in their places. A side door opened, and in walked the groom and his groomsmen. Chad led them to their places, and as the wedding music started, he turned to look at me, and he grinned.
It was a grin that saw the humor in the fact that we had been arguing in his office two minutes earlier. That here, at a beautiful ceremony that celebrates love and thanks God for marriage, we were living proof that marriage will sometimes cause you to waste a whole day being angry at the person you love most. And, it was also a grin that knew that everything is really okay.
I’m thankful for a life in pastoral ministry. Many couples can go weeks or months or even years without ever facing the ways that they are sinning against each other. But, a pastor and his wife always have a Sunday morning or a Sunday evening or a Wednesday night coming. They always have a wedding ceremony or a funeral to prepare for. There is always a close and important reminder that we are trying to live according to God’s word. And, there is always an urgency to figure things out, to be friends, to rely on each other and to spur each other on to holiness and godliness.
After the wedding, we decided to load up the kids and take the minivan to a neighboring town for tacos. Chad reached over and grabbed my hand. We didn’t have to hash things out any longer. We had said what needed to be said in those rushed moments in his office. We had been heard. We had been forced to face the issues. And, we had been reminded, when we heard wedding vows repeated with happy tears, what a gift from God that this life really is.
I thank God that He gives us so many checkpoints along our path in ministry. Every sermon, every teaching, every ceremony–they all help us remember that we want to live what we are saying. God is always working, even two minutes before the wedding starts. And, I’m grateful.