It’s as if I always knew that something was missing . . .
My first wedding day was lovely: filled with pretty flowers, pearly alencon lace, and all the details that were meaningful at the time. I was a new believer in Jesus Christ and in love with a young man named Craig. We settled in the west suburbs of Chicago, worked in healthcare, and got busy with the tasks of fixing up our townhome. In time Craig would lead us to a smaller Bible church from the seeker-friendly mega church that helped lead me to faith in Christ. In time I joined him at that little church. I also learned that Christians really do know how to have fun, meaningful lives rich in the knowledge and living out of the Word of God.
Then when Craig had to leave and decided never to return, my life turned upside down for about 4 years. My last surviving grandmother, my youngest brother, and my mother all passed away out of state from where I was living. I moved five times and my personal items were either donated to charity or stored in seven different places. I had to change jobs three times and endured two work-related injuries. The condo fire followed, displacing me for three months in a bare rental unit provided by my insurance company. It was there, staring at the blank walls devoid of all of my earthly possessions and reminders of who I was that I discovered what else was missing: my Heavenly Husband.
Isaiah 54:5 (NIV)
5 For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.
The Bible is full of analogies comparing our relationship with the Lord as a marital relationship. Jesus is the Bridegroom and the church is His bride. Our Heavenly Father is the husband and we are His beloved. The imagery of an intimate relationship is too much for us to grasp fully yet challenged me to make Christ real in my life on a daily basis. So I went for it fully: when I got in my car and was in a down mood I invited Jesus to ride with me, take the wheel, and be my constant companion. Before long I realized that I had placed Craig in a place in my heart not made for him. Some of the disappointment I experienced in our marriage came from not understanding the VERY LARGE place in my heart reserved only for the Lord. In time, that place grew larger, infilling the emptiness in my heart, filling me completely.
When I met my intended beloved, of course I still had a few kinks to work out in the man-woman relationship department. One shift was clear however: my need for wholeness was to be met by my Heavenly Husband not my earthly one. Placing too much responsibility on my new husband to meet all of my needs, love me, provide for me, and guide me wasn’t fair to him or me. The One who will always be there perfectly on-time with all the right stuff will only and always be my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am grateful that Steve is a mighty good second I must admit! Pastor Bill Hybels at Willow Creek Community Church said it best one Sunday service: trust God. Love people. Trust God to meet all of your needs. Love people including your spouse as imperfect brothers and sisters in Christ . . . just like me. All of us have much to give and will fail at some point as well. Only God is perfect. The Lord is to be our first love.
With a perfect God, and a personal relationship through His son, Jesus Christ, we are free to live more lightly each day with the ones we love. We can extend grace, grant forgiveness a little more easily. We can love others and grow closer in fellowship despite all of our foibles. And if you’re like me, you will find love again in all the right places.
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. 9 Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
12 Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.