It's a beautiful thing to meet a new Christian. They are so excited to be living for God, they want to live inspiring lives, love with an uncompromising love. It is so beautiful to see and I always look at them, and feel even further inspired to go back to God and get equally excited about him too. Because I know they've just met the love of their lives and I have the same chance to experience this great love too.
But at the same time, I see many "old-time" Christians who seem less excited about their faith. They aren't in wonder or ready for an adventure. They are comfortable, perhaps. Or they know about the much greater journey ahead of the honeymoon phase.
Faith reminds me a bit like marriage. There is the "dating" phase - you're learning more about the person, getting all giddy and romantic, but still deciding if this is the person you want to commit your life to for the rest of your life. This would be classified as the "seeker" stage - you're looking more into this Christian faith thing and wondering if you believe it and want to be part of it. Then there is the wedding and the honeymoon. You're both floating on air and everyone around you sees it. You pretty much are little balls of sunshine, glowing and beaming with happiness wherever you turn. This is the immediate stage after accepting Christ.
Then comes the marriage itself. And it seems to go in two directions.
There will - guaranteed - always be hardships in marriage. There's going to be times of sadness, mourning, fighting, confession. And it's the valleys that sober you to the cost of the relationship - which there is one. We cannot go through life without understanding that the very best things, the things that make us worthy of ourselves, are the ones that have some cost to them.
And this is where the dividing factor happens.
There will be some that leave the marriage. They grow distant, they make choices they shouldn't, things grow old to them. Off to a new adventure - they say - leaving behind something that could have been oh so beautiful, however costly it may have been to work on the repairs.
And then there are those who stick it out. Who work it out. Who celebrate their 10th, their 20th, their 35th, and then their 50th wedding anniversary, the whole time knowing that it was worth it. That in this - they have found something worth the cost, worth the hardship, and worth the love that comes out of working through it all. Recommiting their life to them over and over and over, and saying I do, every day of their life.
What a beautiful thing that is!