Beloved friends and family of God,
Mike is wearing a new wedding band.
Mike’s wedding band disappeared recently. On the one hand, it was just a thing; on the other hand, it was a beloved thing: gold, a hard-earned purchase from Shreve jewelers at the Corte Madera mall in 1986, and beautiful on Mike’s handsome hand. With every passing year of marriage, the inscription within meant more to me: “MS to MRF 5-31-87 We love because He first loved us.” God’s promise in 1 John 4:19 is something we have been growing into for all these years. The truth we affirmed when we said our vows has grown more meaningful as the reality has been tested and God’s unwavering faithfulness magnified on our marriage journey. God gave us our love, and he has nurtured and sustained it.
Because Mike was fixating on the loss, and because I still hope it will turn up, Amazon delivered a $12.99 sterling replacement. I slipped it on his ring finger while friends in a brass quintet played the jazzy Silver Linings as part of their fabulous Stetson recital (photo above).
Silver lining is an overused metaphor for finding something good in dark and stormy times. In reality, however, clouds hide what’s behind them; they obscure the truth—and the beauty—of the sun, moon, and stars beyond. For Moses and the children of Israel, clouds graciously shielded them from the unbearable brightness of God’s glory. His glorious purposes were certainly obscured in the vicious death of his son, Jesus Christ, which we are all likely contemplating this Easter weekend. In suffering, it seems that all we can see and feel is the cloud, but God’s reality is unchanged! After all, faith is the conviction of things not seen, so looking at that silver replacement wedding band on Mike’s hand challenges me to remember the truth that is sometimes hidden from my view. Our loving, promise-keeping Father did not spare his own Son to meet our greatest need—to be eternally reconciled to God— and so can be counted on to supply our every other need.
Losing the wedding band also caused me to stop and think about marriage, however, and to pause in wonder. What a remarkable institution God designed into creation, and how rich my life is because of my union with Mike. There is no earthly reason that we should enjoy each other so much—such joy can only come from the Lord—but there is a heavenly reason! Marriage is a picture of Christ’s love for his bride, the church, and a foretaste of the coming marriage feast at the final consummation, his second coming.
Mike, in the course of preaching through Matthew and Ephesians, worked up the best material on marriage and singleness that I know. The sermons on marriage and singleness are posted on the Sermons page and are gradually posting on iTunes podcasts. In my last update, I asked you to pray for me as I learned new skills, and the Lord answered: “Sermons by Mike Francis” is now a podcast on iTunes! Please join me in praying that the messages will reach and bless many who seek teaching and encouragement.
Besides the ring, we would be grateful if you would pray for us in these things:
- Mike’s transition to adult day care instead of a paid caregiver, about 6 hours a day starting April 9. It will be a big change, even though, thankfully, the volunteer “miracle workers” will keep their same routine. Please pray for Mike to be able to quickly get the hang of a new routine, learn names, and build friendships there, that they would become “miracle workers” in aiding his recovery, and that he would have a ministry among them there.
- Two events in the coming weeks to raise awareness and support for “Mike Marathon,” the fund set up for our family’s long-term support due to the loss of his Immanuel income (Social Security Disability covers about 30% of his previous salary; neither we nor the church had a disability policy for Mike). There’s a big goal: $800K by June 30, so there’s a lot to pray for! More information is here.
- Mike’s full and complete recovery.
May the Lord build his Kingdom, as we share the story of his faithfulness on our journey at these events, in these updates, and on the MikeMarathon.com website; and may he build our faith as we wait on him to supply our needs.