The single thing that has impressed me most about John Piper is his recent decision to pull back from ministry for a few months, with only a couple of exceptions. This was in order to put his wife first and spend some proper time with her, disengaged from doing ministry for God, a very godly and wise act. Your marriage is your first ministry calling. God himself should come before everything, but family comes a close second. Do keep remembering the Pipers in your prayers. I have this week been dipping into Piper’s book, This Momentary Marriage. I was particularly struck by Noel’s forward, which includes the following:
Here’s the amazing, unbelievable thing—a profound mystery, as Paul says: “‘A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ . . . and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:31–32). Marriage refers to Christ and the church—every marriage, no matter how pendulum-like because of our sin; every marriage, even if the couple doesn’t care a bit about Jesus.
To change metaphors, God designed marriage to be a picture. That makes me ask myself, how clear and well-focused is the portrait of Jesus that our marriage is displaying?
I love using my tiny digital camera. But the larger and more complex a subject, the more nearly impossible it is to represent it well and completely. No single photograph can show someone how magnificent the Grand Canyon is. It’s true that my shortcomings as a photographer do nothing to change the majesty of that natural wonder. Still, some snapshots do give a better idea than others of the grandeur. I want to take that clearer kind of picture of the Grand Canyon. And that’s the kind of image of Jesus I want our marriage to portray.
I pray that this book (by my favorite preacher) will focus the lenses of many marriages so that the portrait of Christ and his bride is sharp and clear.
Noel Piper, Forward to John Piper,This Momentary Marriage, (Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL, 2009)