As I write this, Jen's sister, Katherine, and Zach are taking their vows and beginning their marital lives together. Everyone is happy--happy that the wedding is finally here, happy that these two great people are together, happy that the wedding went according to plan (I pray), happy that family and friends have gathered together to celebrate their commitment to one another and to pray and hope for a bright future.
There is cake and there is punch. There are toasts, vows, beautiful dresses, handsome tuxedos, shiny cars, the clicking of the photographer's camera, the sound of wedding music, hugs, presents, and joyous reunions of family and friends who haven't been together in a while.
But beneath all the happiness--if you could read Jen's thoughts as she's standing there, looking beautiful, you would know the ache of her soul. A painful longing for her groom. I'm missing it. Missing the joyous occasion, missing my bride, missing my family, missing the happiness and the joy. And though I know that all too well, it gives me consolation to know that I will, Lord willing, go home to my loved ones someday. Yet the same cannot be said of the thousands of young men and women who have crossed over to eternity in Iraq and Afganistan in service to our country. For their loved ones, there is a continual ache, a rest-of-their-life longing for, and missing of that spouse, family member, or friend.
The good news, of course, is that there can be an end to the great ache. For those who are "the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8) can, and will, share in a glorious reunion in heaven. Weddings are special--they forshadow for us a taste of the glory to come. One day I will enjoy the Lord in all of His glory, but for now, I'm missing it...