A few words from Philippians 1:20 caught my attention in a fresh way; "That Christ will be magnified and get glory and praise in this body of mine and be boldly exalted in my person, whether through life or through death."

For some reason, as I thought about these words, the marriage vows popped into my head.

--- for richer or poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, until death ---

These are the vows we make to a fellow-human on our wedding day. Standing on the threshhold of a yet unexplored, new life, we cannot perceive what joys and/or tragedies are hidden in our future.

Although the future is uncertain, our promise is not. It is a life-long pledge that no problem, difficulty or alluring distraction can alter.

How could we ever contemplate making a lesser commitment to Jesus?

All the trials of life including sickness, grief and disaster draw us together, strengthen our marriage bond and deepen our relationship. So why is it, in the Christian life, when facing illness, trials, pain, we often easily become discouraged and turn away from our only Source of help and meaning? Perhaps we need to stand back again and remember the bigger picture. We were created in the image of the Living God, the Sovereign Lord of incomprehensible wisdom, love and power. We were redeemed for the restoration of His image in order to reflect that image to a desperately needy world. Therefore the circumstances of our lives become the backdrop to make the True Light shine brighter in the darkness all around. When I present my body as a living sacrifice and my mind for continuous renewal, it is a permanent pledge that I will be faithful to the relationship.

How safe is God's reputation in my hands when things are at their worst?

How often do I remind God of my love for Him?

Or is God saying to me now, "I remember the kindness and devotion of your youth and your love?" (Jeremiah 2:2). How long has it been since this expression from an old hymn came as naturally as breathing to me?

"Jesus, Jesus, dearest Lord,

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