Windle Farm is located near Leetown, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. According to the owner, the farm house was built in 1774, and has storied connections with the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. These days the owner offers the farm as a site for weddings. And, that is where we come in, because we recently had a wedding slated there.
Our youngest son, Jamin, married his bride, Morgan, there Saturday, July 14. Oh my, Morgan was brilliantly beautiful. They had planned an outside ceremony. The “aisle” was about a ninety-foot walkway that led from the majestic steps of the house to an impressive trellis under which the rite took place. A large tent had been rented and erected for guests and festivities. Jamin’s brothers were the groomsmen. Morgan’s sisters were the maids. Nieces and nephews were a part of the wedding entourage as well.
The only problem with weddings planned for the outside involves the weather elements. There had been several days consecutive in that area in which the weather conditions were very good with moderate temperatures and dry. But, as it turned out, it started pouring the rain early that morning, and it did not let up at all. It also got a bit chilly.
The question was not whether there would be a wedding ceremony, but where would the wedding ceremony be conducted. Bride and groom made the call. Things would transpire as planned.
The announcement was made that the guests should line the walkway with their umbrellas. The plan was that as members of the wedding party walked the way, guests would provide bumper-shoot shelter over them as each passed near. It worked rather well. It was reported that neither got rained on at all. The elements were dealt with in fine fashion. When you plan for an outside wedding, you have to sometimes deal with the elements.
Furthermore, there were no complaints about the rain. The joy of the occasion overcame the elements of cloudy skies, cool atmosphere, and the abundance of rain.
This, of course, leads us to consider an applicable spiritual truth.
There are particular elements we all have to deal with in life. The Scripture ties these elements to what is called as “this present world system.” This system is the creation of the devil, which he manifests before us. It involves all the things possible that lure people away from turning to God. But, it also involves associated heartaches, frustrations, depressions, and troubles associated commonly with life to affect the same result. In so many terms, this system involves spiritual elements that swirl about us constantly, and, like inclement weather, it is important to prepare to deal with them lest we get to a point of wanting to cave in to all the accompanying pressures.
The wedding — cited above — suggests a subtle clue. It is found in the fact that there was a great deal of manifested joy. The joy of the occasion commanded our focus. The rain did not.
A statement in Nehemiah 8:10 captures our attention. It says that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” First of all, joy does not necessarily involve feelings of happiness.
Rather, joy is a gracious offering that comes from God. Because it comes from God, joy becomes the ultimate sustainer of the soul and spirit. That which buoyed the hearts of Jamin and Morgan, as well as all the attendees, against the inclement elements, can be characterized as joy. It negated the affect of the weather because of the joyful influence on the thinking and feeling.
Second, notice that the verse says that the joy of the Lord “is your strength.” There are no two ways about it — it takes a lot internal strength and fortitude to endure the affects of this present world system. Times are that our inner braces get rather weak.
But, this joy of the Lord gives us strength to endure the elements. We can endure the temptations. We can endure the stresses. We can endure the disappointments. When God fills you with His joy, perspectives become quite positive. If you desire His joy, ask Him for it.
In the end, all the rain and all the umbrellas added to the joyful ceremony of matrimony.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.