Laying foundations has never been an exciting event for me. I’ve done a few now. I used to remodel and build homes for a living, and I’ve poured my fair share of concrete floors for churches around the world. And every time, the work itself as been dull. Digging and leveling dirt, perhaps laying gravel and sand, cutting and tying rebar, mixing the concrete, laying block, smoothing, mortaring, etc… It’s hard work. It’s intensive work. It’s boring work. It leaves you sweaty, dirty, bleeding, tired, and sore. But perhaps there is no more important work than the foundation work. Everything you build on top of it, depends on the stability and longevity of what lies below it. The foundation layers are the MVPs of the building team.
It doesn’t matter if you bring in the world’s greatest and most talented architects. It doesn’t matter if you have endless cash to spend on frivolities, design, and beauty. It doesn’t matter if the greatest planners and developers and mathematicians and scientists and eco-friendly minds come together. It doesn’t matter where you build. It doesn’t matter what you build. None of it matters until you’ve got a solid foundation to put any of that on top of.
Jesus spoke about it. He said the wise man builds on the rock. He said seek first the Kingdom of God. He said to lose your life in order to find your life. The first steps are critical. I’m in a first step situation. Today is my three month anniversary. Yes, I still keep track of the months. I hope to still be keeping track when I’m 159 months in and beyond. I’m laying a foundation right now that has consequences for the rest of my life. This is not a foundation that can be messed up. This is not a foundation that can be laid quickly. This is not a foundation that can afford to crack or sink. This foundation much be permanent. It must be unshakeable. It must be sure.
There is only one way that I can guarantee it will be so; namely, to build it on the Word of God. And that takes work. Sometimes the work is boring, and difficult, and it makes me sweat and bleed and spend myself to fatigue. Why is it that way in a new marriage? I mean, after all, this phase of marriage so far is mind-boggling rapturous. I hope and pray that our level of depth and connecting and intimacy and laughter never fades. But the element of building this foundation the way it must be built is a difficult one. That’s because we are sinners. That’s because we have an enemy that hates our marriage. That’s because the narrow road is the narrow road. No one who ever acquiesced a rare, priceless, lasting treasure that they desired did so through apathy and passivity.
I’ve got a weight and a responsibility on my shoulders that man was never meant to bear – that being the spiritual life of my marriage and my wife. I’m to present her spotless one day before the Lamb of God. It’s more than making sure her hair and makeup and dress and shoes are perfect. It’s making sure she – and us – are ready to meet the King and Creator of all that ever existed. And the goal is to put a smile on His face, not a frown. That responsibility would either crush me instantly, or would never get picked up in the first place should I attempt to lay this foundation on my own. It would do the same if I should attempt to lay this foundation apart from the Word of God.
It would be so easy for me to rush through this phase. It’s easy to lay back and coast and enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s meant to be enjoyed. But enjoying doesn’t equal lethargy. For a man, enjoying means breaking my back day after day after day to ensure that my wife feels absolutely secure under my care. Women look long term. They are not as focused on the immediate as men are. So my wife wants to know that I can build a solid foundation for us. She’s not concerned with fancy windows and doors right now. She expects that to come in time – perhaps even in a long time. It’s worth the wait though if it means being able to enjoy those things for a long long time to come. I cannot relax right now. I must be more fervent and valiant that I’ve ever been before. This phase of our life together can absolutely make or break the future.
God is good. He is faithful. He will show me what to do. He will lead me through this. He will strengthen my hands and my back and my eyes to accomplish this.