-Steven Curtis Chapman
Last night a very dear friend of mine kept singing these words, which are part of a song by the talented songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman. My friend was very nervous about getting the words and melody correct, which is why he sang it over and over and over again. But the group of us who were with him were not at all irritated. On the contrary we tried our best to help him remember the words and the melody. You have to understand - this dear friend of mine is not the most gifted in terms of music. But what he has is a heart of love.
You see, this dear friend got married today. He sang the song as a surprise to his wife during the marriage ceremony. It was really a heart-warming sight as he took to the front of the stage and proclaimed his love for the woman of his dreams, now his bride and wife.
Love makes you do strange things; like this good friend of mine – willing to do something he’s really not good at as an expression of his love. And what happened after that was something really beautiful… You could see the hint of surprise yet joy in the eyes of the bride, as she gave her husband the thumbs up. I’m certain she knows of her husband’s shortcomings, but she has still chosen to marry him. That’s genuine beauty.
Let me qualify – I don’t think the groom is not good enough for the bride. On the contrary I feel they’re truly a match made in heaven. Eight years knowing each other and still as loving as when they first met. Indeed he still gazes at her with the same love and longing he had for her when they first met. And because I’ve known this dear friend for the past five years, I know what struggles they’ve faced together as a couple. But they’re still together today. That’s genuine love.
Recalling the song sang by my friend, I’ve come to realise that marriage is about staying true to the promises made – my friend also spend the night and part of the morning trying to remember his wedding vows. Marriage is about being faithful to the special promise to one’s spouse and more importantly to the One who gave her to him – to the God who orchestrates all marriages. In a world where promises of love are made as flippantly as swearing by the moon and the stars in the sky, such authentic faithfulness is so hard to come by. But I’m thankful my friend made that choice – to be true to God and his wife. That’s genuine faithfulness.
When the last of the guests had come and gone, and the bride and bridegroom prepared to retire into the bridal car, I went to my dear friend, someone I consider as one of my dearest and “bestest” buddies. I took him into my arms and hugged him deeply. No words. I knew, and he knew, that all he went through today was worthwhile; that I have a dear friend who would do anything for me if I only asked. That I would do the same for him. Time stood still as emotions of unspeakable joy and deep brotherly love seemed to gush out all at once. That’s genuine friendship.
I’m not sure what I’ll do at my wedding; if I’ll be able to remember my wedding vows or even be able to go around for one entire day shaking hands with people and trying my best to make them feel at home. I know weddings are meant to help us remember the joy we feel as we marry someone we love; that in the tough days ahead we can look back at the wedding day and make a promise to remain true to our spouse no matter how difficult it may be at that time. What I know is that genuine love and friendship only comes if we’re faithful to the God who ordained all things for us. Not that we have to be true to God because He will in return give us love and friendship; but rather that when we are faithful to Him, we will in the process learn to love others and develop friendships in a genuine and authentic manner.
This article was written by Mark Lim Shan-Loong on 31st May 2003.
Words from the Heart