My husband and I met and married relatively quickly. We knew each other less than nine months when we stood before hundreds of people and said “I do,” committing to a lifetime together. This went against conventional wisdom, of course, and now twenty years later, I even sometimes shake my head wondering what we were thinking! (and please boys, don’t do that!)
Well, we might have been young and in love (and a little foolish too) but one thing we did choose wisely was a theme for our wedding.
Or I should say: A theme for our marriage.
We had it printed in the wedding program, and we asked the congregation to sing it with us.
The theme we chose was the old hymn by Edward Mote (1797-1874) titled:
MY HOPE IS BUILT
the first stanza goes like this:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
We recalled that theme in the early years of marriage, when immaturity and selfish ways would test our love. We returned to that theme as my husband went through medical school…when we suffered a difficult miscarriage, and then faced some scary medical issues with our firstborn son. We reflected again on that theme as we moved 5000 miles across the ocean—away from family and all support—for my husband’s medical residency training.
We witnessed other marriages crumble, and families fall apart under the pressure of medical training. At times we too felt heavy under the strain of work, parenting young boys, loneliness, and exhaustion.
Yet when times got rocky, we set our feet on the only Solid Rock.
As our four boys have grown up, we have observed the culture around us shifting and changing before our very eyes. There have been times, late at night watching the news, when my husband and I just look at each other and ask “WHAT … IN THE WORLD … will things be like when our children are grown and have kids of their own? Is there even hope for ur children? If it’s this hard now, what will it be like later?” Anxiety can grip me in the middle of the night … when it’s hard to pray and the storms of fear whirl around in my head.
Then I return to that old hymn and read the second and third stanza:
When Darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, his blood
supports me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.
God’s unchanging grace is enough for me. Enough for my family. So I continue to remind myself of the truth that we cannot hope in anything temporal. Not modern culture or the wisdom of man.
My hope, and the hope of my family is nothing less than Jesus.
When discouragement tries to settle in, it brings me comfort to consider that the author of this Hymn wrestled with the same feelings —well over two hundred years ago! And the answer is the same today as it was then.
When I fix my eyes on Jesus, I have a peace that is greater than all of the storms of this world. And when I teach my kids to fix their eyes on Jesus, they will find the same great peace.
Then, our ultimate hope can be found in the fourth and final stanza:
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found!
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
Be encouraged friends. Our hope is unchanging!
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