My wife LaRee and I are closing in on 70-years-of-age. Lately,
we find ourselves thinking more about our mortality and the terrible prospect of one of us being widowed. We have loved each other for more than 50 years. We are one in marriage. In speaking of marriage, Jesus said that from the beginning of humanity God “’made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
Even now, after half a century, my heart still thrills when LaRee enters the room, or I hear her voice, or she smiles at me. The thought of having to carry on without her and go through the motions of life alone—ending each day lying on our bed where she once slept—would be so terribly lonesome, it would be like cutting me in half. Would I lose my joy for life, or the will to live without LaRee? I don’t know. I hope not. Life is a gift from God, every breath I take is from Him. She would be with Christ. But I know my heart would be waiting to see my Lord, and LaRee again.
For years I have written daily love letters in journals to LaRee. She has a drawer filled with them. Although they are private, I will share part of a recent letter I wrote to her:
What goes on in your mind? What are your thoughts? Sometimes when I see you gazing into space daydreaming, I think that I'd love to be inside your head to share that interior moment with you. That desire is rooted in a wish to know my LaRee in your entirety—the woman I have loved all my life. Since childhood, I have never loved anyone else but you. The inexpressible love we have for each other is completed in God’s inexpressible love. One day there will be no need for me to search for words to express my love. You will be able to see what is unseeable now. I love you so much. — M”
Jesus said this about marriage:
“At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?” He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
[NB: Jesus did not say we be angels, He said we will be like angels. What are angels like? They are eternal and are always in the presence of God and are filled with His love.]
Jesus said there is no marriage in heaven? My heart cries out, “Nooo! Please Lord! I want to always love LaRee and be loved by her! Our marriage is all I know.”
I can try to build a case why our marriage will continue in some transfigured way, but that flies in the face of what Jesus plainly said. I know it. I must accept it. I have only the life I have lived. I know nothing else. That life has been blessed by romance. I must not succumb to making our marriage my idol.
But that’s exactly what I have done! I am guilty of idolatry! As I type these words, I realize it. My perspective is so confined and small. Marriage must not become the entire focus of my heart, or my love for LaRee, which surpasses my ability to express in words. I must not allow human romance of the heart to overwhelm the greater romance of the soul: It is a divine Romance from which God wooed me into a relationship with Him through the sacrificial love of Christ. He is the author of love—from which romance springs of a man for his wife, and vice versa. Christ must not fit into my marriage; He must be the center of it. My love for Him must be my first love on earth.
Lord, forgive me! I have adored too much the charm of human romantic love.
And yet I know from personal experience, that immense divine Romance of God—primordial and timeless—that has so often overwhelmed and astonished me.
The Bible tells us there will come a time when all things will be made known. Every small act of kindness made in private, every act of love or hatred, every desire or yearning, that either blessed or broke our hearts, will be laid bare. Everyone will see how unworthy I am to have received the forgiveness Christ gave me. So too, my love for LaRee will also be laid bare. She will finally see the inexpressible depths of my love for her that words have always failed to express. Love and the ability to love will be complete in the joy of His love.
The book of Revelation gives a revelation to those who have wept inconsolably in this life. We are told that God Himself will wipe away every tear we have ever shed. There will be no more crying, sickness, disease, or death. Restraints of time will dissolve. We will enter the timeless. We will have shed the material and temporal for the immortal and eternal. We will be given new bodies, (and I can kick this decrepit one to the curb).
LaRee’s and my earthly marriage will be dissolved and we will enter the marriage of the Lamb.
“How will we know each other? I think our new bodies will resemble the perfect LaRee and Mark originally intended for us before the Fall in Eden that brought sin into the world—not only Original Sin, but our own sins that marred us.”
I have often wondered what I could have achieved without the MS and disability? It won’t matter because there will be a new world—a new heaven and a new earth— too marvellous for us to comprehend in our present state. The words I wrote at the beginning of this letter won’t matter. They will be irrelevant because we will know just as we are known in our redeemed state.
There may be some theological problems in what I have written, but you must forgive me. I’m just a romantic old fool.