On November 1, 2014, my wife and I gave our daughter away in marriage. It was and continues to be a momentous and blessed occasion for us. What follows are the words I spoke just prior to the pastor’s introduction of Jennifer and Paul as husband and wife, and I believe, explain in part why we are so blessed.
This has been an amazing year for us. For the better part of the last 46 years, it’s been, “If my papa can’t do it, no one can.” This year we’ve progressed to, “If my papa can’t do it, my man can.”
In fact it’s better than that: what Jennifer’s papa can do her man can do better. In the last few months, Paul has done more things around our house than I have in the last decade. But I’ve discovered his secret: it’s silicone. Silicone when properly applied is like love, it covers a multitude of sins and defects. And there’s no one better at finding applications for silicone and applying it than Paul, Jennifer’s handyman, her silicone-man.
The Bible says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.“
It was no secret that Jennifer liked boys and, as she matured into adulthood, that she wanted to be married and have a family. But not just anyone would do. She wanted a man of God as her husband. And this is what she prayed for. And as the months turned into years and the years to decades, she perfected the image of her man of God. By the time that a quarter of a century had expired and her papa had gone from dapper to doddering, the list of features that her man of God would have and those that he would not have had grown considerably.
Judy and I have marveled that when Jennifer’s dear friends, Melissa, Rachel, Melody, Shannon, Jammie and Michelle and her very dear cousin, Jill, were getting married and forming families, Jennifer always rejoiced in their blessings and never complained that this particular blessing had not been granted to her. And when her two brothers, one older and one younger than her, were married she wholeheartedly rejoiced in their good fortune and delighted herself in their children.
Folks we’re talking about 25 years, a quarter of a century! That’s a lot of water under the bridge. What was happening all of that time? Obviously we don’t know the whole story, but we may have an insight into just one small aspect of it: Jennifer’s long list of man of God attributes. You may have noticed as I have that God talks to himself, especially when he has to deal with strong-willed people. Now it probably didn’t happen this way, but I can imagine God saying to himself, “what are we going to do with this chick and this perfectly good man of God we are preparing for her, but who doesn’t conform to her specifications?”
Fortunately, we know that as a believer lives out his or her relationship with Jesus Christ, that God is continually at work in him or her to will and do His good pleasure. And so it was and is with Jennifer. A number of months ago, Jennifer called Judy to say that she was impressed that God wanted her to prune her list of man of God attributes. Before her change of heart, facial hair and tattoos were not acceptable, but now they were. Shortly after that Jennifer called Judy and excitedly exclaimed that a man had walked up her sidewalk, armed with a bouquet of flowers. Folks, I am happy to announce that this is the man who stands before us today, approved of by both God and Jennifer, complete with a beard on his face and a tattoo of a cross on each arm.
Forty days after his birth, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple to participate in a redemption rite according to the law of Moses. There they were greeted by Simeon, who Luke describes as a just and devout man. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit had assured Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Upon seeing the infant Jesus, he took him in his arms and said:
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
Jennifer has always treasured her family. And she has been especially close and caring for Judy and me, her mom and dad. In that Jennifer was not yet married, we were increasingly troubled to think that someday when Judy and I would depart that we would be leaving Jennifer alone. Now friends and family, today our hearts are full and content. When the day of our homegoing arrives we can, like Simeon, depart in peace, knowing that our precious Jennifer will not be alone: she will be comforted and cared for by a man who loves both Jesus and Jennifer, her new husband, and our beloved son-in-love, Paul Millan.
Please join your hearts with mine as I pray for Paul and Jennifer.
How can we say thanks, Lord, for the things you have done? Things so undeserved, yet you have given to show your great love for us. You have found Jennifer and Paul on the broken road and because they have each said yes to you there, they have been able to say yes to each other here, today. Paul and Jennifer have adopted as their own your desire to be seen in them. This is the cry of their hearts.
Lord, let their life as it unfolds together be an on-going series of before and after portraits, each succeeding portrait exhibiting a greater manifestation of your ineffable character. As this happens it will indeed be a glorious unfolding, for you will be seen in them. I praise and thank you Lord for all you have done and for all that Paul and Jennifer hope to be. Glorify yourself, Lord.
This I ask in the precious name of Jesus, amen.
I was gratified by how well my words were received, especially by Jennifer and Paul, although Jennifer did ask in jest (I hope!), “What kind of a father roasts his daughter at her wedding?”