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December 17, 2015

what no one else sees

This year as autumn wrapped its spindly fingers around our city, as the green vines turned suddenly scarlet in sharp contrast to the grey European sky, as I turned on the hot water heaters and pulled out a thick blue thoughts were drawn to last year's fall, to a segment of that season that no one else saw.

Last year in mid-autumn I was in Europe to visit my fiancé a few short weeks before our wedding. It was my first time coming to see where I would soon be living. Before I came, my fiancé asked his friendly coworker who lived just a few blocks from his place if she would give me a place to sleep for a few nights. After my stay with her expired, I slept a few more nights at the empty apartment of a couple from my fiancé's church. My fiancé had to work most of the time that I was visiting, so after he left for work each day I went to his place to do wedding preparations, unpack things and generally prepare the flat for my return. In the evenings we would eat supper with others or alone, planning and dreaming.

I have long been of the opinion that dating couples should avoid spending much time alone together in private places, to avoid situations where impurity and compromise would come too easily. I recommend that to people who are dating, and we practiced it most anytime we were together before marriage. Yet while I was visiting Europe last fall, we had virtually no option but to be alone in his apartment from time to time. For the first time, I cooked his supper in his home a couple of times—almost as if we were married already. It was a different scenario than we would have recommended to others, but due to a variety of circumstances, there we were, spending a few hours together out of everyone's sight, a few nights in a row.

I was telling my friend recently about those isolated autumn days and how really, we could have done anything we wanted. No one would have known. The pre-marital counselling was done. I could have worn my white wedding dress a few weeks later, no questions asked. I mean, even if I had gotten pregnant, it would have been so shortly before the wedding that no one would have needed to know.

The only reason we didn't do anything we wanted, was because well, Someone would have seen. We were actually not alone together. Our Father was with us, and we feared to dishonour Him and each other. He had changed our desires to want what He wanted. We knew that sin would bear death in our own relationship, in our relationships with others, and most importantly in our relationship with God. The Holy Spirit's power showed itself to us: while we could have done anything while "no one was watching"we didn't even want to. 

During those days, I was thankful for:
  • my fiancé's strong commitment to purity and boundaries set long before (I completely agree with this guy who says choosing to only date godly people is the best and only way to have a godly dating relationship)
  • the few friends or family who were nosy enough to write or call to say "I-know-you're-almost-thirty-but..." and remind us be pure sexually
  • the good teaching we had received from childhood about faith, wisdom and pure living, and 
  • the work of the indwelling Spirit of God.
I've heard having sex (or practicing impurity) outside of marriage compared to building a fire in the middle of the living room floor. At first it looks like the perfect thing to ward off the lonely autumn nights' chill—it even looks wild and thrilling. But it doesn't take long until the fire gets out of control and destroys not only the living room, but the whole home. In the same way, sex outside of marriage causes great damage. Sex preserved for marriage is comparable to a well-contained blaze in a fireplace; it is safe, healthy and even life-preserving (which is not to say it doesn't still give off some sparks). 

We have no fireplace in this little apartment that looks out over the spindly trees and wet red rooftops of our city. I pad through the flat (that now is ours, not just his) in my slippers and twist the knob that turns on the heat. I wear a sweater while I wait for the room to warm up, and I make tea as he rests a bit longer. Marriage has been like that slow radiator filling the room; it gets warmer and more comfortable as time goes by. Love and respect radiate a steady, strengthening, enduring heat.

The choice to live in purity of heart is a choice made in faith, because "faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Faith knows that "sin will find you out" and that "there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known." And faith also knows this: today, even what no one else sees, He sees. 

 “Be on your guard against...hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 

What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs." —J'esus

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: 
"You are the God who sees me," for she said, 
"I have now seen the One who sees me."
—Moses, writing about Hagar

1 comment:

  1. God will bless you for your biblical stand which too many people nowadays think is too old-fashioned!