Sunday, May 29, 2016

How Great the Love

Weddings are this beautiful, complex thing for me. I'll be 32 this year; I've been in 20 weddings and have lost track of how many I've attended. There seem to be ebbs and flows with weddings, depending on stages of life of those around me. This summer is another "peak season" as former students I mentored are graduating college and getting married and prolonged single friends were gifted with their spouses. It's equally exciting and terrifying, all mixed into one.

Yet, I really love them. I always have; everything about them. They bring out a really deep joy in me; What makes them so complex is that while I feel that deep joy, I experience a really deep grief at the same time. It took me years to realize I really was allowed to grieve and experience loss over something I was never promised to have (i.e. marriage). As I've grieved over the years, the Lord has given me an abundant amount of grace to grieve as one with hope; hope that is unshakable and unfading. (Romans 5:1-5, Hebrews 6:13-20, 1 Peter 1:3-9)

Due to several unforeseen circumstances and changes, it's been a rough month. More often than not, I've been quick to forget the promises of the Lord to provide for me and love me. I got home from a wedding just a few minutes ago. It was beautiful. Because of how this month has gone, I really bathed this wedding tonight in prayer. I was going alone, it was a former student, I've been exhausted, and I knew, left to myself, I was in a prime state to forget His promises, believe the lies of the enemy, make this about myself, and miss seeing His glory on display. So I prayed;

- I prayed He would remind me of how good He is.
- I prayed He would amplify the gospel through this wedding and marriage.
- I prayed I would get a chance to  proclaim His excellencies.
- I prayed He would be kind enough to tangibly show me His love. 

The Lord hears the prayers and cries of His children; and He IS faithful to answer. Sometimes that answer is exactly what you longed to hear, sometimes it's what you feared, and sometimes it's unexpected. But He is always, always faithful, wise, and good- regardless. Tonight was no different.

  • The hour long drive to the wedding was song after song displaying God's greatness. The closer I got, the more light and joy-filled I became as truth just poured over me. (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • I saw many former students, and did not have to sit alone. I forgot to even pray for this, but the Lord knows what His children need; and He provided. (Matthew 6:8)
  • Several of those former students spoke incredibly timely and encouraging words of life and love to me; words that the Lord knew I needed to hear. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, 23-24)
  •  As the beautiful bride walked down the aisle in white, the Lord reminded me that's how we are before the Father: white, blameless, pure, forgiven. (Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 19:7-8)

  • As they exchanged vows and made a covenant with one another, the Lord reminded me of the covenants He made with Adam, Abraham, Noah, Moses, David...and the covenant He's made with His people, with me; that He will never leave us or forsake us. He will return and reclaim what is His; He will redeem all things. He will once again dwell with us. (Hebrews 10, Revelation 21:3-4)
  • The pastor officiating the wedding continually put the gospel on display. It was impossible to sit in the audience and avoid the person and work of Jesus. HE is worthy. (Romans 1:16)
  • As we sat down to eat, I was reminded of the greatest marriage, the greatest feast, any of us could ever imagine taking part in. Revelation 19 calls this the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb." We, the church, are the Bride of Christ. Just as this sweet bride tonight made herself ready for her groom, we, the church, are to make ourselves ready for Christ, our bridegroom. One day the church will be feasting with Christ. One day, with one voice, we will proclaim "Hallelujah!" (Revelation 19:6-10)

I got in the car after the wedding, a nostalgic mix of all sorts of emotions, and again the Lord reminded me of His love. Song after song played...Seek the Lord. He will never fail us. Lead me where my trust is without borders. The last song before I drove up to my house was "How Great the Love." The Lord's love did cover me. On a night that could have really been marked by tears of loneliness, betrayal, fear, heartache, and shame was redeemed to be a night marked by tears of hope, anticipation, angst, and desire for my Savior's return and to be forever in His presence, to sit at that marriage supper of the Lamb, surrounded by brothers and sisters from ever tribe, nation, and tongue.

I share all this to say, the Lord is faithful. Whatever season you are in right now, the Lord is faithful.
  • If you're like me; single yet surrendered to the Lord's will, remember that He is faithful. 
  • If you're like the bride and groom; newly married and overflowing with young love, rememeber that He is faithful.
  • If you're married and your marriage is on the rocks, remember that He is faithful.
  • If you're a new parent and you're past exhausted and overwhelmed, remember that He is faithful.
  • If you're fresh out of college and feel like a failure in the real world, remember that He is faithful.
  • If you're anything else, or any of the above, and life is just good and full of joy, remember that He is faithful. 

He is faithful.

How great the love of God, 
That it endures, it pursues even a sinner like me 
How great the love of God, 
Determined, resolved to save, to redeem 

Unwavering, unchanging 
Never resting, never tiring 
Boundless and unfailing 
How great the love that covers me 

How great the love of God, so merciful 
That You don't turn You face away 
How great the love of God that it sustains me 
Bearing my burdens, restoring my soul 

Unwavering, unchanging 
Never resting, never tiring 
Boundless and unfailing 
How great the love that covers me 

How great the love that covers me 
How great the love that pardons me 
How great the love that stirs my heart to sing 
How great the love that covers me