Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love”.
My wife, Cindy and I had a terrible dating relationship.
We were (frankly) way too intense. I was always asking “does she love me”, she was always fearfully asking “can I really do a love commitment to this guy… with those stunning blue eyes and those shapely calves” (at least I think those were her thoughts).
This tough start to our relationship, might be surprising to some of you because our marriage has mostly been an absolute blast - not perfect but massively rewarding.
We have lived and loved each other through many good times and some equally tough, soul searching times.
One tough aspect of our dating relationship that I will never regret was the long distance relationship we shared for about a year and a half.
Cindy was studying in JHB, while I conducted my early years of youth ministry here at Home Ground (Westville Baptist Church).
There were no cell phones, no email, WhatsApp, etc. We would phone each other once a week and would send weekly “Fast mails”, which took only 3 days to get to Cindy’s postbox.
During this time we were forced to learn a number of lessons which I believe have helped us throughout our marriage journey.
We learned to trust one another implicitly, without the luxury of physical proximity.
We had to learn to communicate well - finding words that we had to put into writing.
Words of affection, frustration, joy and love.
We pursued a relationship that had emotional connection (as opposed to physical) as the priority as we were far apart.
I have never regretted those painful months apart.
It makes me wonder what lessons our church will learn as a spiritual family during this time of separation from each other.
Will we find ways to find each other - or not?
Will we invest in new ways of communication - or simply forfeit our relationships “till we meet again”?
Will we allow the isolation to morph into a terrible form of individualism - or will we fight for those relationships that take us forward in our walk with God?
Will we still be seen and known as a “family as God intended” after the doors and gates are opened?
Make no mistake, this lock-down is in the process of defining us as a church. My sincere hope is that we will never come to regret this season, but that the lessons we learn during this “long-distance dating relationship” will feed and grow us for many years to come.
Missing seeing you all face to face.