What the World Needs Now is Better Wine

glasses-341552_640Something has always baffled me about Jesus’ first recorded miracle. It seemed so pedestrian, really. He’s at a local wedding and Jesus’ mother learns they’ve run out of wine.

This seemed unfortunate but not really a devastating circumstance. Surely not something I would imagine requiring divine intervention. It is kind that Jesus has compassion on the host and turns the water in six stone jars into wine but was His first miracle truly inspired by a desire to spare a family from social embarrassment?

For years, I’ve mulled it over, considered it, prayed about it, meditated on it, and frankly, trusted there must be more to the story.

Now, I realize, you must stick with a marriage for many years, through trial, through sorrow, through frustration, through failure, through sickness, through hard times, and through boredom to truly appreciate the miracle at Cana.

My husband and I just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary and around the same time, dear friends celebrated their 30th. When my friend, Jim, couple-579172_640announced their thirtieth on Facebook, dozens of people commented on the joy of a long marriage, even proclaiming that love gets even better after forty years! The sheer number of friends extolling the benefits of long marriages and expressing appreciation for their spouses after decades of life together inspired me. There were plenty of references to hard times, but the general message was that love improves with the years.

It seemed almost revolutionary to witness this testimony in a culture that celebrates youth and young love. We don’t talk about this subject often for some good reasons, I suppose. In my experience, the modern church works hard to be sensitive to those who have felt shut out and marginalized in the past. We want to care gently for those who have experienced the devastating pain of divorce and never lead them to feel lesser than for in truth, they are not. We all have brokenness in our lives and there’s no place for judging one type of brokenness as worse than another. Because of this sensitivity, we try to be careful with our celebration of long marriages.

But, in a society that is ever enamored with youth, with newness, and with the intense passion of young love, those of us who have been married for a long time have a responsibility to those coming after us to speak up and say, “It gets even better!”

It was in thinking about this that I suddenly understood the significance of the miracle of Cana.

jar-760058_640Our marriage has been like many others. We’ve had some wonderfully joyous times and we’ve had times when I’d just have soon walked away from the whole sorry mess. Of course, we began with intensity, with passion, and with a joyful newness of love but somewhere along the line, we both ran out of love for one another. At some point, we couldn’t remember the point. Our jars were completely empty and suddenly it seemed what was once a celebration of true love teetered on the verge of disaster.

That’s when I learned, however, there is a better love than the one I originally offered my spouse. I am now eternally grateful that I ran out of my own watered-down version of love because when I did, I turned to Jesus for a miracle. He showed up, just as He did at Cana, and transformed the watery love in my stone-cold jar of a heart into a love that was better than the first, so that my husband and I can truly say, “Amazing, Lord, you’ve saved the best for last! Our marriage is better, richer, sweeter, and deeper than it was when we began.” And it’s all because when we ran out of love, we went to Jesus and received our own miracle.

Marriage is such a pedestrian affair we take the miracle of it for granted. While movies are filmed about young love, novels are penned about forbidden love, and songs are composed about heart-breaking love, millions of marriages quietly testify to the steadfast, enduring, rock-solid persistence of God’s love for His church.

Many of us have reached that empty-hearted place and faced the temptation to abandon what seemed like a dry, cold jar of what was onelderly-114328_640ce a promising elixir of love. When we run out of love, the world says it’s time to move on. Don’t be fooled by those of us who have been married for decades. It hasn’t all been wine and roses. Sometimes it was wine glasses hurled at bedroom walls and fingers dripping blood from thorns.

We know from the wedding at Cana, though, that when the wine runs dry, there is a source for better wine. Running out of love becomes, then, a gift, a nexus between us and the love that excels above all others.

The world truly does need love now, right now, but we need a better love than what we can muster of our own making. Can you get love from a stone? The answer is yes. If that stone is in the hands of Jesus, you can get a better love than you even imagined at first, a love that will fill you with such joy that all of life becomes an eternal celebration.

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11 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Eileen says:

    Outstanding!!!!!

  2. Tresa says:

    I am blessed greatly by faithful marriages! I have been divorced more than once and because I have experienced the truth of God’s love and faithfulness I don’t feel the need for special sensitivity! Thank you for your honesty, it blesses and encourages me every time you write!

  3. Roxanne says:

    Love it. Just spoke about a similar topic to our ladies’ group on Saturday. Blessings.

  4. Jean says:

    Excellent post. Gene and I celebrate #47 in August. Your observation ring true.
    Shalom rav and many more happy years.

  5. Susan Andrews says:

    Thank you Lori for this post. My Thirty five years of marriage that survived tragedies, failures, and disappointments had me searching for a deeper relationship with Jesus. Jesus in return showed me how to love my spouse unconditionally. We are more in love than I ever thought was possible.

  6. jeremy says:

    Your email said you like comments. Yes, your post on marriage sustainability is a good reminder to not let days with loved ones be cheapened, especially for a world that is passing by faster than we pass through it.

    Call it whatever we will, time turns on us. But God is ever for those who Will seek Him. Likewise, the longevity of marriage works when a couple remains in God’s hands.

    Individually and collectively, let’s be like new clay, found in the Potter’s helping hands.

  7. A better wine, a richer wine. So true, Lori. Charlie and I celebrate 44 years in a couple months. When I look back at our early love, I realize it wasn’t true love; it was love as best as we could understand it at 20 years old. Now, the richness of it overwhelms me. Just like all marriages, we’ve walked through tragedy and joy and God has strengthened us every step. I’m so thankful that I married the man He chose for me!

  8. So much truth in this blog, Lori! And Ken and I, after almost 42 years, testify to that truth. Bless you for writing these wonderful words!

  9. […] What the World Needs Now is Better Wine (Lori Roeleveld) – Beautiful article about marriage. “There is a better love than the one I originally offered my spouse. I am now eternally grateful that I ran out of my own watered-down version of love because when I did, I turned to Jesus for a miracle.” […]

  10. Doris Campbell says:

    We just celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary. D Campbell

  11. Cyn Rogalski says:

    Yep, rough patches & all…we’re still here…and I can’t imagine life without him beside me!
    We’re not as good as we once were, but we’re as good once as we ever were.