This weekend my wife and I attended a wedding.
It’s not a well-kept secret that I love weddings. Our wedding was such a celebration. Of the love my wife and I have for one another, but also of the people that had prepared us for marriage throughout the years. But what makes weddings more than just another event are the people that are choosing to come together and start a new life, a new family. This weekend I watched my YoungLife leader get married.
To explain the magnitude of this event, I’d have to start with how big of an impact Mike Strawbridge has had on my life. We met my freshman year in high school. Like most YoungLife leaders, Mike looked vaguely out of place. Here was this college kid in the stands of a Cary High School soccer game, cracking jokes and spending his time with us for some reason. While that sounds vaguely like a scene from Dazed and Confused, it was the first time I saw pursuit in action. Someone with way better, way cooler things to do was choosing to love, pursue, and encourage high school folks.
Eventually, Mike and I became friends. I attended a bible study at his house. I went to weekend camps with him as my leader. We ate meals together, and played way too much Halo together. My memories of specific talks or advice are vague, but they’re all highlighted by the idea that Mike always had time for me, and was always willing to help me find the answers in my walk with faith. I knew if I called him, he’d sacrifice his own time and energy to sit down with me. That’s just rare, no matter how old you are or what your situation is.
… so fast forward to Saturday. Mike stood there across from his breathtaking bride, Crystie. I sat at the back of the gathering and my mind raced through a lot of thoughts:
- A memory of senior club. I stood up and told Mike I couldn’t wait to have him be a part of my wedding (he was a groomsman), but that I hoped he’d get hitched up before I did (he didn’t).
- It’s really hot out here.
- Going to Mike for advice after getting engaged to Katie. How he told me to chase after my wife, to be relentless with my love. He wasn’t married at the time, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t even know Crystie yet, but he had wisdom and he gave it freely.
- Is my back sweating? Yeah, it’s sweating.
- Mike taking care of me on my wedding day. Asking if I needed anything. Looking out for me on a day where it was all I could do not to have my stomach tied in knots.
- It’s still hot.
- All the times we dogged Mike about getting married. Mike’s about four years older than me, so he was an easy target as he pressed into his 30s.
- All the stories I heard about people trying to set Mike up. All the stories I heard about people wanting Mike to meet the right girl.
- The final thought: Mike and Crystie look perfect together up there.
And that’s where my mind landed, and stuck. Katie and I enjoyed catching up with folks I knew from Cary, and we danced, and we ate good food. But as I thought about the joy I had in my heart for Mike, and the joy I felt in being with my own beautiful bride, I was absolutely struck by the idea that God is in the business of best.
He’s not in the business of easy, unless He wants it to be easy. He’s not in the business of quick, unless He wants it to be quick. He’s not in the business of settling or in the business of half-measures. The God that Mike spent years teaching me about is in the business of best. He knows us so well. He knows our ins and outs, our weaknesses and our strengths. He knows which parts of us echo Him, and which parts of us rebel.
There’s nothing about my life that’s hidden. There’s nothing too big for him to unburden from my shoulders. There’s nothing too small to go beneath his notice. He took account of everything about me and everything about Katie, and patiently led us to one another.
My wife loves asking how people met their spouses. The two of us met on a blind date. Mike and Crystie met in a hot tub. How random, some would say. How lucky!
But I don’t think that’s what we would call it. God’s greatest provision in our lives came, not by accident, but with great purpose. So I think about the years that Mike and Crystie had to wait for each other… and how overshadowed all of that is by a single day, and by all the days to come.
I think about the world I lived in before Katie… then the world I stumbled upon after we met.What grace, what mercy, what hope. What a glimpse of What is to Come.