Putting Jesus Into Real Life
|May 23rd- Love Beyond Words|
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7)
There are some things you can't put words too. You would like to, desperately, and yet you can't.
I've been married for ten years, and although we've had our fair share of misunderstandings, disconnects, and fights, there is something about lasting love that deepens. This is what I can't put words too.
The best I can do is to say that with time love passes through phases. First, love is based on emotion. Then, love is based on a choice. And, eventually, love is a choice that is really not a choice at all.
Recently, I stumbled upon someone who knew exactly what I mean, George MacDonald, the famous nineteenth century Christian novelist. In his book, The Baronet's Song, MacDonald introduces the elderly couple Robert and Janet, and, in so doing, captures what I've been wanting to say.
“They were indeed growing old, but neither had begun to feel age a burden yet; and when it should prove such, they had a daughter prepared to give up service and come home to help them. Their thoughts about themselves were nearly lost in their thoughts about each other, their children, and their friends. Janet's main care was her old man, and Robert turned to Janet as the one stay of his life, next to God in whom he trusted. While Janet prayed at home, his closet was the mountainside. All day, from the mountain and sky, from the sheep and his dog, from winter storms, spring sun and winds, summer warmth and glow, and more than all from the presence and influence of his wife, came to him somehow spiritual nourishment and vital growth. He loved life, but if he had been asked why, he might not have found a ready answer. He loved his wife—just because she was Janet.”
With the passage of time, true love deepens in a way that transcends an explanation.
Do I love my wife because she gives me spiritual nourishment and vital growth? Yes, that's part of it. Do I love my wife because we've been through so much together? Yes, that's part of it. Do I love my wife because she's my best friend? Yes, that's part of it, but that's no where near all of it.
I love my wife for those reasons and a thousand more that I'm not sure that even I know. And the result is that I love my wife—just because she is Julie.
It is a choice that is no longer a choice. It is a certain choice, a non-negotiable choice. Perhaps, dare I say this, a predestined choice?
Please don't misunderstand. This doesn't mean our marriage is perfect or that I don't occasionally grow frustrated with something she's done. But what it means is that those frustrations are becoming increasingly irrelevant to this choice that is no longer a choice.
Now, just in case you are tired of hearing about my marriage, allow me to make an application. This is how God loves each of us. This is why the New Testament refers to us as the Bride of Christ. Don't let the unusualness of the analogy hinder you. What it means is that we are loved unconditionally. What it means is that we are loved by His choice which is not a choice.
Do you know how to make the all-knowing God of the universe speechless? Ask Him why He loves you. In response, you will get some stammering, uh...I...well...I, finally followed with this, I love you simply because you are you.
All of us are loved without condition, or, better yet, beyond condition. It is the deeper love, like that of a husband for his wife.
I'm not sure this explanation really did it justice, but it is the best I can do, for some things you can't put to words.
Happy Birthday Julie. I love you—just because you are Julie.