Since this is my first post, I thought it would be appropriate to talk a little bit about my message. And when I say "my message" I mean, the reason why I'm here. The thing that I feel called to talk about. The thing that I'd like to shout from the rooftops!
And as an added bonus: the explanation for the title of this blog.
(Now I've really got you hooked, huh?)
So hold on tight, my friend. I am going to do my best to distill what has been on my heart for years into one blog post! Wish me luck!
Discovering the Mystery
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul discusses how a husband and a wife are to love one another and ultimately says “This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:32
And based on this passage of scripture, you might think that Paul is encouraging us to sacrificially love our spouse the same way Christ sacrificially loved us, ultimately giving up his own life for us.
And you'd be right!
But you'd also be missing the larger and more profound truth here:
There is a mystery for us to discover.
God is speaking the language of our hearts here, calling to us with the things he knows we just can't resist!
A mystery to be solved.
An adventure to be had.
A great and sweeping romance...
In other words, a story of epic proportions.
A life of meaning.
After all, isn't that what you really want?
Well if you're like me and you answer that question with a big fat YES... you should know that the God of the universe has placed a clue about eternity in our very own, human, relationship of marriage. And has welcomed us into that kind of story.
In fact, I'd be willing to say that it's not so much something God has placed in marriage as much as it is marriage itself.
Marriage (and the beautiful struggle it can be) is a window into God's eternal heart for his people, and represents the kind of intimate and comitted relationship he wants to have with you.
Let me explain.
Unraveling the Mystery:
In this moment, Paul points out a remarkable parallel between marriage and the eternal relationship we have with God as members of his church.
Funny enough, this isn’t the first time God has used the relationship between husband and wife as a metaphor for the way he loves his people. (Nearly the ENTIRE book of Hosea, and heck, Hosea's very own LIFE was orchestrated to reflect this truth.)
Not to mention verses like this:
"As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you." Isaiah 62:5
“This is what the Lord says: “‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown." Jeremiah 2:2
"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom." Matthew 25:1
"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
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her... 'In that day' declares the Lord, 'you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master'." Hosea 2:14,16
Now, there are those who think that it's more appropriate to picture our God as our Father, our Shepherd, our Judge. And none of those things are wrong! But let me tell you...
Our God also is a master of romance. He is a creator of beauty, poetry, adventure, depth, and meaning.
He is love.
And he loves you.
It shouldn't come as a surprise then that the God who has written his sweeping romance on the walls of our hearts, and marriage metaphors across the pages of his book, has concealed for us an even greater mystery in our own relationships that point us to him.
So friends, this is the mystery:
Marriage as God created it is a divine reflection of the intimate, close, and personal relationship he wants to have with each of us.
Whenever I get to thinking on this topic, I am always reminded of how a beloved book describes this type of reflection:
"Perhaps you will get some idea of it if you think like this. You may have been in a room in which there was a window that looked out on a lovely bay of the sea or a green valley that wound away among mountains. And in the wall of that room opposite to the window there may have been a looking-glass. And as you turned away from the window you suddenly caught sight of that sea or that valley, all over again, in the looking- glass. And the sea in the mirror, or the valley in the mirror, were in one sense just the same as the real ones: yet at the same time they were somehow different–deeper, more wonderful, more like places in a story: in a story you have never heard but very much want to know. The difference between the old Narnia was like that. The new one was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant more…
It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right forehoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried:
‘I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.” C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
Our marriages are a shadow of the real thing. Like a reflection in a lake, dotted with ripples and leaves... the image is imperfect, distorted, and unclear. But there’s also no mistaking the form and shape of the original. The true, real thing.
And honestly, I can't help but think that when we get to heaven and stand with our Lord we will be thinking a similar thought...
"The reason why we were so enamored with human love, was that it sometimes looked a little like this".
Now, before this train of thought runs totally off the rails...
No. Not EVERYTHING about marriage and our relationship with God is exactly the same... but there's certainly no mistaking the resemblance of something similar, in the relationship God invites us into through his son, Jesus Christ. (But more on that later!)
Why This Matters to Me... And Why it Should Matter to You
One of the most profound things about this mystery is that once we are aware of this divine reflection, we can draw parallels in both directions.
It works both ways.
Not only can we learn relationship truths from God's word, but we can learn more about God's eternal truth by discovering how He's created these types of relationships to work.
Because God has created these relationships to mirror one another, they operate on similar principles. The core concepts, the fundamentals of what makes marriage work and how it functions, are astonishingly similar! (Take it from someone who makes it their business to study relationships... there is a LOT of conceptual overlap!) So why not use the years and years of relationship science and studies to our advantage when it comes to getting to know Jesus?
And THIS, my friends, is why this blog exists. Because everyone deserves to have the know-how to connect with those they love and build strong, healthy relationships. And with that same knowledge we can grow our understanding of what it means to be loved and in intimate relationship with Christ.
Fundamental relationship skills and knowledge, then, are not just something to help us out in
the here-and-now, but can also help us understand and improve our relationship with God!
And what’s more worthwhile than that?