Who will hold your umbrella?
LANSING – Several years ago, my family and I were invited to attend my cousin’s son’s wedding.
After arriving a little too early, we asked if there was anything that we could do to help. We set up chairs, doing our best to ensure that they were perfectly aligned, perfectly spaced, and at the right angle so the guests would get the perfect view of the ceremony. After that was all set the groom asked if he could task me with one last thing. Willing to do anything the groom asked to help make his special day picture perfect, I promptly agreed.
He asked if I would help him by carefully arranging flower petals down the aisle where the bridal party and his bride would soon be walking. These rose petals were the deepest, richest, reddest looking rose petals that I had ever seen!
This was a beautiful outdoor venue decorated to the max. Fortunately, it was a beautiful sunny MICHIGAN day. Because we were outside, the slightest breezes and these rich, red rose petals started flying all over the place. I found myself repeatedly arranging and rearranging the rose petals down the sides of the aisle before the wedding ceremony started. After several failed attempts at keeping the rose petals nicely arranged, I did what any strong-willed male would do. I got frustrated and gave up. At least it was sunny.
If you know Michigan. You know that it is not an exaggeration to state that you can have all four Michigan seasons in one day. Sometimes even before noon!
Now everything was all set, chairs were set up, people were in their seats, the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and the pastor were all in their places. The rose petals were in their places, well kind of, and the groom anxiously awaited his bride. We were about to be witnesses to a wedding.
My wife Annabel and I decided to stand in the back so we could take everything in. The wedding had just begun, and off in the distance I saw it, a flash of lightning! Pure Michigan!
As the ceremonies began the breeze picked up slightly and scattered the rich red rose petals, it started to sprinkle and soon became an all-out rain shower.
The guests quickly began shuttling into the indoor reception hall scattering every chair leaving no hint that they were once perfectly aligned and spaced. My wife Annabel and I jointly decided that we couldn’t do the same and leave the couple to weather the storm alone, especially on their special day.
All the seats were empty, but the bridesmaids and the groomsmen stood fast with the bride and groom. Some of them selflessly held umbrellas over the bride, groom, and pastor so they could finish the ceremony.
What a picture! How wonderful it is when you have people who will weather the storm with you.
After the ceremony I was able to speak with the rain drenched newlyweds sharing with them the picture that would be forever burned in my memory and complimenting their choice of friends and family in the bridal party. Overstating perhaps Proverbs 18:24, "One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
No matter how well we choose our friends, family, and fellow ministry servants, there will be times in our lives and ministries that we will not have people to hold “umbrellas” over us in our stormy times of life and ministries. We will have to weather the storms alone, at least physically.
We must press on.
God promised us that He would not abandon us! (Joshua 1:5) We never face our storms alone! Thank you, Father, for that promise!
Can we as Christ followers, ministry leaders, and brothers and sisters in Christ do likewise and commit to being a “reliable friend” to someone who may be struggling greatly in their life’s storm?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joshua Diaz has served as Youth Leader, Worship Leader, Deacon, Sunday School teacher, Baseball Chaplain (of the Local Single A Team) and recently an Interim Pastor. Joshua and Annabel have served jointly leading VBS outreach. Joshua is a husband, father, and grandfather who has served in ministry at Good Shepherd Baptist Church, (El Buen Pastor) in Lansing, MI since 1991. Joshua and his lovely wife Annabel have been happily married for nearly 29 years.