Not long ago, I was at a wedding for a family friend. It was scheduled to be outside, with a barn as the backup. About an hour before the wedding, it started to rain. So, into the refurbished barn we went. Before the ceremony began, the officiating pastor got up to give us some preliminary instructions. He mentioned the desire to be outside, but — in a nod to the less-than-perfect weather — he said, “God had other plans.”
My immediate, gut response was: That’s not how God works. He doesn’t manufacture weather according to our whims. On wedding days, it doesn’t rain only on the unjust; the just, too, get their share of wedding showers. A robust view of God and his sovereignty doesn’t mean we have to ascribe to him every drop of rain or gust of wind. Sometimes weather is just weather, working the way God created it to.
But as I reflected more on the pastor’s statement, and the situation, I think he is actually on to something — a point every newly married couple would do well to consider. Though I don’t believe that God sends (or withholds) precipitation based on our preferences, maybe rain on a wedding day is a part of God’s plan. While we all long for a picture-perfect wedding day, even the most naive of us know: there is no such thing as a picture-perfect wedding. Every day of marriage isn’t a sunny, 72 degree day at the beach. Most days a couple won’t be dressed in their best, smiling for the camera, cheered on by 100 or more of their friends and family. Many days of marriage we are glad just to roll out of bed and put something on that’s clean and presentable. Most days we’ll be fortunate to have 1 or 2 people encourage us; many days it may feel like 1 or 2 is all we have.
So, a bad-weather wedding day is not what any bride wants. Of course. But a rainy wedding and a schedule that gets updated on the fly are good preparations for life — for life has plenty of rainy days and unexpected changes. Having your wife’s Uncle Eddie drink too much and say too much is not what you want on your wedding day, but it is likely a more accurate reflection of how life will be with your in-laws. Getting BBQ sauce on your wedding dress and reaching the honeymoon suite exhausted is not what a new couple envisions for their first day of marriage, but it is certainly a reflection of what many days of marriage will be like.
So, while I don’t wish bad weather or other inconveniences on any bride or groom on their wedding day, I do agree: It just might be a part of God’s plan. A plan he has for their overall growth as a couple and as individuals: to learn how to live and love in the midst of an unpredictable and sometimes difficult life.