Stewarding sexual desire is more than just a matter of waiting until marriage to have sex. Whether you are married or single, younger or older, in a life-long marriage or living a life of celibacy, for every one of us chastity requires waiting.
Chastity doesn’t mean we become desire-less people. It means putting off now in order to be more fully satisfied later. It means directing the desire we feel now toward something coming later, sometimes much later. Again, this is true whether you’re single, married, or celibate.
We’ve just entered the second week of Lent, a season of fasting, a season of waiting. Lent calls us to put off tasting now, to put off being filled now. Why? In order to taste and be filled more fully later.
We fast during Lent to prepare to celebrate Easter, yes, but more importantly to prepare ourselves for Jesus Himself. We fast in preparation for the great Wedding, when the Bridegroom will come for His Bride.
Through this lens of waiting and fasting, look again at the familiar account of Jesus’ first miracle in John 2:1 – 11.
Jesus and His disciples are attending a wedding in Cana. It’s a festive event and people are enjoying themselves as people do at weddings—including drinking a lot of wine. So much so, in fact, that later in the evening, they run out of wine. And this is where things get interesting.
Jesus’ mother tells Jesus the wine’s run out, and He replies enigmatically, “Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My time has not yet come.”
Still, with her urging, He quietly proceeds to turn water into wine—a lot of wine, and the best wine many of those present have ever tasted. The headwaiter, who thinks this massive amount of wine was reserved by the bridegroom, pulls the bridegroom aside and complains, “You’re supposed to serve the expensive wine first and then bring out the cheaper stuff. But now that everyone’s filled up on the cheaper stuff, now you’ve brought out the choice wine?”
In other words, “People have been drinking so much that they’re going to miss how good this wine is!” Or perhaps, “Your guests are full and won’t want any more! What a waste of exceptional wine!”
Jesus loves a good party. And there’s something beautiful about His lavishness here. But there’s also something sobering (or intoxicating, depending on your perspective) going on. I’ll write more about this next week, but for now I want to leave you with this:
Lent and chastity both put the same questions before each of us:
Do you believe waiting is worth it? Do you believe your thirst will be quenched by the Bridegroom, or are you drinking yourself full on the cheap stuff?
I’d love to hear from you. What helps you in the waiting? Leave a comment below.