An Eternal Romance

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“Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.” — Psalm 146:3

People often talk about marriage as if that is the highest goal in life. As if once you are joined with another soul you are finally complete. As if trusting fully in another person is the greatest thing to pursue.

A few weeks ago, I went to a conference that radically challenged me in my view of marriage and God. Do I truly believe my relationship with Him is the most beautiful, satisfying relationship that exists?

Do you?

While many of us may theoretically believe this, I don’t think most of us believe it so completely that it transforms our everyday lives.

Below is a common passage about marriage and our relationship with God:

“’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” – Ephesians 5:31-32

I used to think—oh, come on Paul! Why do you have to talk about Jesus right now, all I want to know is how on earth should married people behave!

Well, I’ve come to realize that Paul is making a crucial point. The relationship between husband and wife is merely a reflection of the greater reality—Christ and the church. That means that Christ and the church are united as one flesh, just as the Father and Son are one. When you believe in Jesus, you have entered into an eternal covenant with Him, and one day you and I will dine at the wedding feast with our dear Bridegroom, the Lamb of God, who has taken away the sins of the world!

Our relationship with God is certainly not like earthly romance. No, it’s even better (I’m not kidding). It’s an eternal romance, more satisfying than any other relationship we will ever experience.

And the best part is? Eternity starts now.

While our culture glorifies passion, sex, and romance, what we are really longing for is God Himself. As G.K. Chesterton said, “Every time a man knocks on a brothel door, he is really searching for God.”

We shouldn’t waste our time putting our trust in earthly princes or princesses. Human beings cannot save. They can’t save us from our loneliness. They can’t save us from our aching hearts. They can’t save us from our need to feel loved.

Really, truly, absolutely. God can fill this hole inside our hearts, and He will if we simply let Him. In His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).

Despite all the hype about marriage, there isn’t any marriage in heaven, as Jesus said:

“At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” – Matthew 22:30

Marriage won’t matter after we die, so why are we spending our whole lives planning the day we trust in a spouse rather than right now choosing to trust in our Eternal King?

The relationship between husband and wife is a beautiful sacrament that reminds us of how beautiful the day will be when we meet Jesus face to face. It is good and honorable to marry, but just the same it is good and honorable to love others. Love friends, love family, love strangers, love God. All of this reflects the love of God, just as marriage does.

Whether or not you’re married or you will one day married, please, right now, make much of Christ. Make much of your romance with Him and less of your romance with people. Make much of your purity in Him and less of your passion with other people. Make much of your hopes in Him and less of your hopes in human beings who fail to satisfy.

Because He’s worth it. I can’t promise you anything, but He can promise you everything, and He does, over and over again in His word.

I read Psalm 146:3 last night, letting it sink into me as I turned my affections completely to Christ. When I read further, I grew more in awe of the God who is nowhere near to being a frail human incapable of saving us. He is the God who saves:

“Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.” Psalm 146:3-10

The Lord reigns forever; human beings do not. Who are you entrusting with the happiness of your soul? Only God can bear the weight of it, and fill your heart with total comfort.

My favorite song at the conference completely sums up what I learned there. After vainly striving after the things of this world, I always find my rest in God, because “to be with Him” is where I truly belong.

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J13: The Ties of Love

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The assignment was to write about a special memory you have about a wedding or to imagine what you would like your wedding to be like one day. I chose to do a little bit of both. The last wedding that I can actually remember was years ago, for my cousin and her handsome groom…

I remember sitting in the audience, watching the dress rehearsal with my mom and siblings.

The groom stood in the front with a formal white long-sleeved shirt without a tie (because who needs a tie when you’re being bonded by the ties of love? 😉). My dad began playing the piano beautifully, as he has done for many special occasions throughout his life. At the start of the song, my cousin’s older sister’s little girls came walking down the aisle as the most adorable flower girls ever. My cousin’s younger brother came next bearing the ring on a pillow. Next, the beautiful bridesmaids, two of them sisters of the bride, one of them the mother, one a sister-in-law, and the rest dear friends, proceeded down the aisle.

When the bride came down the aisle with her father while the traditional “Here Comes the Bride” played, her dress immediately caught everyone’s attention with its unique black and white pattern.

Then the bride’s father preached very shortly, and the whole ceremony ended with the “I dos” and the kiss.

The next day after the actual ceremony had ended, I remember dancing with my other cousin during the reception, the laughter and crazy games that abounded, and the giant cake for all to share.

I was too young to appreciate the wedding in the way I’d appreciate it now that I’m actually getting close to being an adult and thinking more about these things. Would I want a large wedding or a small one? What would I like my dress to look like? Where would I want the wedding to take place? These questions and more have now come upon me, but as I think more deeply about it all, while these details are fun and interesting to think about, they aren’t going to matter so much in the long run.

What is going to matter, is how strong the love is between the bride and groom. Does it sacrifice for the other person with Christ-like grace and devotion? Does it pull through hard times? Is it strong enough to last a lifetime?

With these in mind, I’ve recently thought about having a foot-washing ceremony at my wedding. By washing one another’s feet, you can symbolize the selfless love you have for one another and the way you’ll take care of each other for the rest of your lives. Of course, you don’t need to have this ceremony in order to love your spouse as Christ loves you.

In the end, weddings and ceremonies make beautiful reminders of the important moment when two souls establish their lifelong commitment toward one another. But it is a small reflection compared to the difficult yet amazing journey of life you will share with your spouse for the years to come.

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)