26 years ago this week, I stood at the front of his church. It was Valentine’s day, which is why I was all dressed in pink. Pretty in pink, I like to think.
Michael sat near the back with his friends. Little did either of us know that one day, we’d be man and wife, “Mom and Dad.” It wasn’t until months later that we started to see God’s plan unfolding. Two lives came to a crossroad. Neither of us saw it coming, but my guess is that God had it planned all along.
He works in mysterious ways.
Throughout history God has brought couples together in a number of ways. And why wouldn’t He? After all, He’s the author of romance and in fact He is love.
More important than romance however, is when two intersecting lives work together to bring glory to God. Those are the best love stories, and the one’s worth talking about.
Let’s dig into scripture, and talk about six couples that stand out from the crowd. Of course there are more than six–many, many more–but if I touched on each and every one of them this post would be endless. Couples like Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Noah and his wife are definitely great couples. But for the sake of space I’ll be touching on 6.
One thing to notice about every marriage in scripture is that love isn’t easy. We read about trials, heartaches, temptation and sin, but we also read about grace and repentance and growth. Marriage isn’t a union of two perfect people, but we serve and incomparable God Who is flawless in every way.
- Jacob and Rachel
While many love stories are great, this one always stands out. In Genesis chapter 29, Jacob arrives at his uncle Laban’s home in search of a wife. There he finds Rachel, Laban’s youngest daughter and her older sister Leah.Rachel is beautiful. Jacob’s in love with her and makes a proposal to her father saying, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.”And so he worked for seven years. We’re told in scripture that, “they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” Beautiful story…except…
Laban brought his daughter to Jacob in the dark of the night to be his wife. Not knowing it was Rachel’s older sister, they consummated their marriage that night. When the morning came he realized that he had been deceived into marrying Leah.He was able to also marry Rachel a week later, but only under the terms that he would work another seven years for Laban–making it fourteen years in total.
- Hannah and Elkanah
In 1 Samuel chapter 1 we are introduced to Elkanah. We’re told he had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. While Penninah had children, Hannah did not. Despite the fact that her “womb was closed,” Elkanah loved her the most. In a day when having sons was of great importance to men, Elkanah loved her saying,
Hannah, why weepest thou? And why eatest thou not? And why is thy heart grieved? Am not I better to thee than ten sons? – 1 Samuel 1:8
Knowing the thoughts and the fears that she struggled with, he put his needs aside to offer her words of assurance and love. My heart melts every time I read that!
- Esther and King Ahasuerus
In the book of Esther, A poor woman is taken into the castle to compete for the affection of her king. It’s romantic, it’s inspiring and it’s intriguing. But to me, it’s far more than simply a story. In so many ways it reflects the relationship of Jesus Christ and the church. Esther’s example of submission to the king’s authority reminds me that I serve the King of all Kings.She was strong when she needed to be and approached the king of behalf of her people. Loving Esther, he came to their rescue.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
- Joseph and Mary
In Luke chapter 1 we read about the virgin Mary, engaged to be married to Joseph. Through a miraculous event of the Holy Spirit, she is pregnant, carrying the Christ child.What I really love about this story (and I do mean REALLY) is that both Mary and Joseph trusted God every step of the way. What could have been a terrifying situation for both of them was something they leaned into. They held onto each other fiercely with God-centered faith, trusting His wisdom over their own.They are a beautiful example of two people whose union brought glory to God.
- Priscilla and Aquila
These two aren’t mentioned all that much in the new testament, but what we do know about them is that they were instrumental in helping to establish the early church. They were a power couple–tent makers, who worked alongside one another in ministry.In Acts 18:26 we see that they invited Apollos into their home and “explained to him the way of God more adequately.”They were co-workers with Paul who risked their lives for him. A perfect example of a Christ-centered marrriage!
- Ruth and Boaz
I couldn’t possibly close this post without including Ruth and Boaz. What I love most about their story is that Boaz is her kinsman redeemer. A stranger in a foreign land, widowed and destined to a life of poverty, she is virtually helpless. Boaz came to her rescue, purchased the property that belonged to her family and made Ruth his wife.Through their story, I’m warmly reminded of my own kinsman redeemer.
Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. – Isaiah 54:4-5, NIV
You are loved by an almighty God,
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