I know it’s been 2 weeks since the last post, but I have been all over South Africa and that is why I have been unable to nicely structure a new post about the Bride. I am however working on something I hope all of you will love.
A highlight is that I was able to attend a Jewish styled wedding recently in Bloemfontein. Fascinating how it happened exactly during this time that I’m blogging about it. Isn’t the Lord so cool! What was even better, was that I had the great privilege of being the Best Man, or more appropriately, the Friend of the Bridegroom. I had the great responsibility of introducing the Bridegroom with the loud blow of the shofar while crying out “Behold, the Bridegroom is coming. Go out to meet Him.” The Bride, who had made herself ready, then came out to meet her Bridegroom. It was such a wonderful picture of how a loud trumpet will one day sound in the heavens announcing the return of Jesus to come and fetch us, His Bride.
What I would like to share with you today, is something very special. One of the responsibilities of the Best Man is to deliver a speech about the Bridegroom. I spent much time praying into what to say. And in honouring this amazing couple as well as the Lord, I would like to share it with you. I trust that it will be a great encouragement to everyone, especially those couples planning to get married in the near future. For it is a great story of faith, courage and surrender to the Lord in marriage.
I have typed it out exactly as I wrote it and delivered it, in speech style. It is quite long so you may want to print it out to read later. Enjoy
A testimony of true courage – For Gideon and Charmaine Loots – Married 26 March 2011
Firstly, I would like to thank God. Lord Jesus Christ, this occasion is not just blessed by you, but is in fact for you. Yes, it is a worship to you. To honour who you are & to reveal to the world your splendour. It is a picture of your eternal plan to be married to your beautiful bride. One whom you have chosen out of sinful man, and paid for with your own life. An everlasting love story that we have been swept up into. That we get to partake in and reveal to the world. Thank you for the opportunity to play even just this very small part in the greatest unfolding romantic drama of all time. Lord, we look forward to that day. The day that all creation groans for. The day the universe has been made for. The day our very lives exist for. The marriage supper of the Lamb.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it may seem strange that a young couple, basically still studying & barely out of university are able to afford such a marvelous and extravagant occasion. And to be completely honest, they couldn’t. They did not have a penny to their name when they decided to get married. Now that may seem completely irresponsible to some, but surely, if love is not madness, is it love?
And to understand the nature of this Groom, you must understand how this wedding came into being. For through it you will see a man of true courage. Yes, it is a story of true surrender.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, you will not hear a typically embarrassing or grueling best man speech about Gideon, and all the mistakes he has made and all the stupid things he has done, although I’m sure there are many. Just ask his dad, or in fact, the very wife sitting beside him. Truly, only a beautifully insane woman, or one completely blinded by love could marry a man of Gideon’s stature and wisdom. Clearly a woman of much patience and endurance she is. Because, as I’m sure you are all aware, for example of Gideon’s love for sharing with anyone that will listen, or not, the contents of every page he has ever read in any book, as well as exactly what he thinks about every page of every book, that he has ever read.
No, today friends, you will hear none of that. For those are the marvelous things of Gideon that we all know and love. Why encourage him any further? Rather, as everyone goes home tonight, say a silent prayer of strength and remorse for Charmaine, who now has the great privilege of living with him. Charmaine, we honour you. Truly, you shall be called “great” among woman.
No, today friends I will share with you a story of faith. One that forms the very foundation of this marriage. One that God Himself has built. One that is in Christ.
As all young couples who burn with passion, Gideon and Charmaine were no different. And after courting for 18 months, they were very ready to take the next step. Because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
Let me ask you this, “What does a man do when placed in this kind of situation?” Do you think about what it will cost? Do you go to the gym and start pumping iron? Do you run far far away? No, you look to God and scream, “HELP!” And that is exactly what Gideon did. He did not look at himself or at his financial situation. No, he lifted his eyes, and looked straight at the one he knows he can trust. The one Who has proved Himself to Gideon time and time again. One Who owns a thousand cattle on a hill, and in Whom all wisdom lies. And also of course, one Who is far better looking than Gideon could ever be. Yes, His Lord, Jesus Christ. And as he did, his Lord said the unexpected. He said “Yes Gideon, go for it, I am with you. Marry this woman and make her your bride. I will provide for all your needs. Just trust me completely and follow my lead wholeheartedly.”
And Gideon said, “Yes Lord, I surrender to your will. Lets do this!” And so, with the courage of his Lord’s strong approval, towards the middle of 2010, Gideon & Charmiane began looking at possible wedding dates. Of course, the most logical & practical seemed to be December 2011. Now, I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but we are in March, and they are married. Why? Because to be honest, December would have seemed like the wise choice. But, man’s wisdom is not God’s wisdom. And though God’s wisdom may seem like foolishness to some, He has specifically chosen to use the foolish things to reveal His power to the world. And Gideon has lead this couple so wonderfully in saying, “Yes Lord, we will be foolish for you. We will get married on the 26th of March and trust you completely. We will humble ourselves to your will. This is how we will start our lives together. Completely surrendered in Christ and Him alone.”
My friends, that is true wisdom. That is to build your house on solid rock and to seek the Kingdom of God first above all. That shows real character & reflects true manhood. A son, who hears his Father’s voice and listens. An example that Christ Himself gave us, and one in which Gideon has so courageously followed. Gideon, I honour you. You are truly a man after God’s own heart. A man whom I am honoured to know and serve today.
So yes, ladies and gentlemen, do not hold this man or this couple responsible for this marvelous occasion. For it is none other than God Himself who proposed, planned, and paid for this wedding. Gideon and Charmaine just basically had to say “Yes,” and show up, and invite all their friends and family to come and share in the festivities. And show up you all did, and in serious style I might add. You all look stunning. Well done. And well done to you Gideon and Charmaine for seeking God together about your marriage date. Well done for not just asking Him to bless your plans, but rather asking Him how you could be a part of His. For that is true humility.
For it is in no way an easy thing to give God control of your life, but as you all can see by being here today, doing so is definitely worth while. For God has fulfilled His promises to both Gideon and Charmaine. He has provided for every need. And although the last 6 months have been filled with struggles, doubts, fears, and even anger by both families & friends of the Bride and Bridegroom, can I just say, “Look around you, look at the décor, the food, the wine, and all the people. Look, your faith has worked. God has done what he said He would.” He is truly worthy of your worship. He is worthy of your trust. He is worthy of your lives. He is not a man that He should lie. No, He is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. The ruler of everything. He is worthy.
And although many of you may just go home tonight and simply say a silent prayer for Charmaine, others may go and ask themselves, “Surely, if Jesus Christ is alive, in control of everything, and actively involved in peoples lives, and coming back to fetch His Bride, what is my response to that? What does one do when confronted with the reality of such a glorious and worthy King?
And so, Gideon and Charmain, I would like to suggest to you that God has taken your lives, stuck them together, and stamped right across the front for all to see, “Behold, Jesus Christ is Lord.” Yes, I believe that your life together will follow the same pattern of this wedding, and radically confront every person, every institution, every thought, every doctrine, and every system that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and His son Jesus Christ. A relationship formed to display His Glory. One destined to Shine His Beauty. One fashioned to radiate the Majesty of Jesus Christ. Yes, a union that will forever cry out a passionate plea saying, “Come, surrender, He is worthy!”
For just as the seed of this covenant has been planted by faith in Christ, in full surrender, so also will it grow into a marvelous tree, and bare much eternal fruit and bring much glory to the Father.
So, Gideon and Charmaine, I thank you for your example of love. Real love. Love that puts Christ first and gives Him center stage Love that makes Him Lord. A Love that all long to know and have. True Love.
And I, commit my life with you both to living a life worthy of Him. To building a family where He can dwell. To being a Friend of the Bridegroom and preparing the way for His return. To being a Shining Bride, fully prepared to meet her absolutely glorious and loving Bridegroom.
For there, is going to be a wedding, it’s the reason that we’re living, to marry the Lamb.