Marriages of Steel
It was April and the year was 1912. The world’s then largest luxury liner was launched on its maiden voyage. One of its boasts was that it was unsinkable. End of story: more than 1,500 people died; the last Titanic survivor passed away in 2009. The ship was discovered in 1985 and since that time both the ship and the records of the ship builder have been studied. It was built in Belfast, Ireland, at the same time that two other ships were being built, the trio about to become the world’s three biggest ships. Each ship required three million rivets for its construction. A rivet is a metal pin or bolt used to fasten pieces of metal together.
The records reveal that it was a stressful time, in that they were on a deadline to finish construction. Coupled with that, was the shortage of skilled riveters. The industry was in a transition, moving from iron to steel rivets, the steel being much stronger. They could also be installed by machines, unlike the iron rivets. The decision was made to use steel rivets for the hull of the ship where pressure was expected to be the greatest. Iron rivets were used for the bow and stern. It was the bow, the front of the ship, where the iceberg did its damage.
Studies showed six narrow seams opened up in the bow plates. It was the place where the rivets transitioned from steel to iron. Scientists have said that steel rivets in the bow may have enabled the ship to stay afloat long enough for rescue boats to reach it. The Titanic had every conceivable luxury: cafes, swimming pool, Turkish baths, a barbershop, three libraries… Two analogies come to mind. One is the western church. We have all the amenities but how strong are we? Can the rivets take a hit? Two is the marriage that looks good on the outside but won’t last long when tested. It was launched with a grandiose wedding and celebration with months of preparation leading up to it, but little consideration was paid to making sure it was built on a solid foundation.
Marital icebergs have taken their toll; the statistics are sobering. How then can we make sure that our voyage in this age stays strong to the end, till death parts us or until the Lord returns?
The Prophetic Tester
God gave an assignment to the prophet Jeremiah, to test the people. “I have made you an assayer and a tester among my people that you may know and assay their way.” Jer. 6:27 The result was that after much refining the dross was still not removed. The Master builder was forced to deem them “reprobate silver”; the mixture was too great in them. A marriage of steel is maintained when husband and wife are surrendered to and desirous of, Holy Spirit having complete freedom to speak into their relationship. This will include elements such as: spiritual hunger, confession, accountability, prayer, and living in community. A marriage that is “prophetic” is one that is open to divine exhortation and instruction.
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is the other “love chapter.” I refer to Hebrews, Chapter twelve. Jesus is the Captain of our faith. He will never abandon ship. He endured the cross and sits as my Intercessor today, the main reason that I can be confident my marriage will endure this age. This chapter is an encouragement to not grow weary and I call it the other love chapter because discipline (training) is a chief mark of love. Prov. 3:11-12
Mountain of Fire
At the outset we are prone to sigh in relief that we haven’t come to the terrifying mountain on fire. “For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest.” Heb. 12:18 Moses trembled in fear at its sight. But we have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God. Heb. 12:21 “Whew, I’m glad I don’t have to face that fiery mountain.” But the passage continues:
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? Heb.12:25
Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. “Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” (12:28) Anything in me or in my marriage that is “non-kingdom”, I invite the shaking of God. This is the stuff that personal and marital, transformation is made of. The ultimate Assayer, the tester of our metal, is the one who is called a “consuming fire.” (12:29) This Mountain cannot be circumvented for He resides within us. The fire of the heavenly Jerusalem (12:22) exists in the here and now.
Judgment is a Compass
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Cor. 3:12-15
This is fire from the age to come and we are blessed with a foretaste; we have “tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come.” Heb. 6:5 Precursors of this judgment are help-meets for us now in our pilgrimage, to act as a compass of direction. Fire is a great attention getter and directional source.
I’m come to understand that this Lover of my soul has a vision for me to build with gold, silver and precious stones. He has blessed with me a foretaste of the fire now to improve the accuracy of my choices. He disciplines me for a short time that I might share his holiness. Heb. 12:10 A husband and wife that yield to the Lord’s training will have the peaceful fruit of righteousness in their marriage (12:11). Those who will abide in the fire for the duration of their growth seasons will have marriages of steel.
NOTE: This week’s post was excerpted from our book Longing for Eden.
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