"“The time will come,” says the Lord, “when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested." -- Amos 9:13
When Dalia and I first married thirty-four years ago, we purchased a matching pair of red and white Schwinn ten-speed bicycles. Despite Dalia's hesitation given our very lean budget back then, I justified this expense as making it easier for us to spend more time together doing something fun and healthy. Dalia went along.
Though as a newly married twenty-something-year-old, I certainly didn't appreciate biking's full potential for us as a couple, it could have been the perfect metaphor for Christian marriage--a blissful couple casually traveling life together in the same direction at the same pace.
But, our marriage was anything but a smooth leisurely ride. In fact, biking exposed definitive flaws in our marriage.
One day Dalia shared with me her experience of our bike rides "together".
"I can't keep up with you", she reprimanded. "You speed ahead and leave me behind. Yes, you will eventually come back. But, it doesn't feel like we are doing it together." She continued, "This is just like our life together. You want to go full speed ahead without any regard for where I am. It doesn't matter to you that I can't keep up with you. This is the story of our marriage. And, I'm tired of feeling alone."
I couldn't believe what Dalia was spewing at me. It felt so unfair. "So what if I didn't want to do her slow casual pace the whole bike ride? I did always circle around and come back to her", I thought to myself. "Why shouldn't I get some rigorous exercise out of this?, I wondered.
I had all kinds of rationalizations. But, I was sorely missing the point. Yes, my wife felt left behind when we were bike riding. But, even more problematic, was that she felt left behind in our marriage.
Instead of working on riding together, those nice matching bikes ended up sitting in a garage for years collecting dust--the unrealized potential to what could have been. Sadly, this unrealized potential was reflected in our Christian marriage as well. We were doing ok as a couple. But, for years, we struggled as a marriage to "ride together" in a way that God was glorified.
These past few years of Eusebeia have revealed why biking together was such a struggle for us. Dalia and I had our own separate agendas for what we wanted to get out of the biking experience and the marriage experience.
But, the Lord has used the Eusebeia experience to focus us on the Holy Spirit's agenda in our marriage. It hasn't been easy releasing our own agendas in favor of the Lord's agenda. But, here are some of the ways the Holy Spirit eventually captured our attention:
The Holy Spirit's directive to embody spiritual rather than carnal weapons in our fight for marriage (2 Corinthians 10:3-4) helps us release the selfish attitudes that stunted our growth for years.
The Holy Spirit's conviction to the practice of spiritual disciplines together like daily devotionals and weekly fasting have honed our sensitivity to better serve one another (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
Finally, the Holy Spirit's challenge to embody the Lord's desires over our own has seriously curbed our wayward, materialistic appetites (Philippians 3:4)
I love the passage in Amos (9:13) opening this post because it focuses me on what Dalia and I are now experiencing as we become avid listeners of the Holy Spirit.
Dalia lovingly calls me her "buddy" now. I can just look at her and feel a well of gratitude for the gift that she is to me. Our marriage is growing at a torrid pace. An abundance of "grapes and grain" are going to flow faster than they can even be harvested. This signals a season of overflow. We are already experiencing touches of this abundance. But, the Lord has shown that more is coming--much much more.
But, here is the key. This harvest is not mostly for Dalia and me. It's for you. We are experiencing abundance in our marriage (e.g., wisdom, joy, peace, money) that God is harvesting for the uplift of the Kingdom of God. And, Eusebeia is the vehicle for this abundance.
We have replaced those old Schwinn bikes with newer models. But, it isn't the change in bikes that has mattered most. The riders have changed too. We went out bike riding together last month--side by side all the way--buddies, partners, and lovers.
Do you want this Amos 9:13 prophecy for your marriage? Do you want the "grapes and grain" to grow faster than they can be harvested? If that is your DESIRE, we encourage you to gather with the Eusebeia family in October (13-16th) in Baltimore, MD as we seek the Lord's DESIRE for marriage. Abundance is always the product of sustained committed effort. Click HERE to REGISTER for your spiritual abundance.