The Cross and the Empty Tomb . . . so much love, so much sacrifice through obedience.
To sit and express all that it means here, would take me more words than my heart or mind comprehend. It is beyond me and yet it is always within my grasp. Accepting that complete understanding is for another time-another world-a world of great hope-heaven.
Jesus is the ultimate Beauty out of our ashes. It is a vision of beautiful, surreal, lasting intimacy. We have much to saturate ours hearts with. Adoration on our knees. As Brendan Manning said, “All is Grace.” So strikingly complex in its simplicity. All is Grace!
What does the Cross teach us about our marriages?
1. Gentle Servitude and Cleansing
On our wedding day we included a foot washing in our ceremony. It was our desire to show the world and show each other that we wanted to serve one another. Yet we struggled deeply to carry out our hearts desire for the first 10 years of our marriage. Though we wanted to serve, we were stuck in our own selfishness.
When Jesus washed the disciples feet in John 13 we see Jesus serving first! He put every disciples needs above his own, by serving them.
I love and appreciate how blogger Kara Tippits, who is now home with her precious Jesus said it, “When you come to the end of yourself, that’s when something else can begin.” When we put ourselves aside, our wants and seek to love, serve and act in a way that cherishes our spouse the way they need-we are loving well.
In 2009-10, when my uncle, who was dying of cancer (part of our story) was living with us, I found the end of myself. You would think that would be a sad place, disorienting and confusing. I can assure you it was the best and safest place I have ever been. There was very little of myself and a whole lot of my Jesus.
It was then that my marriage changed. I was done with me, open to Jesus’ heart for my marriage and willing to be broken and re-pieced together by Him. It is hard to serve and not be concerned with yourself and yet it is the bittersweet example that has been given to us.
2. God’s Got This
When I reflect on the Cross, I often like to start at the Garden of Gethsemane (though I know his earthly journey starts long before that). It is here that I see and feel an amazingly, vulnerable, human Jesus. If you have a minute re-read Matthew 26: 36-46. Jesus is human, just like you and me. He feels just as we feel.
I am so thankful for this glimpse into the realness of our Savior. He was afraid, “filled with sorrow” and asking his Abba (Father) that if there was any other way for His Will to be accomplished, other than the cross, to please take this cup from him. He is struggling. Struggling with the emotions and facing what God is asking if him. Then in the next sentence, he says “Yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
How many times in our marriages have we wanted things to be different or wanted something to unfold in a different way?
The amazing thing is that we can go to God just as His Son did. Being open and honest, sharing our fears and desires. Don’t hide it from your Abba. He wants so much to embrace you and help you walk out this one flesh journey. The hardest part for many is that you have to then be willing to walk out God’s will, even if that is not what is making us happiest or what we want. God has your marriage if you will allow him to take it. Will you?
3. Father Forgive Them
Friends, we are forgiven. Luke 23: 34 “Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” When we enter into a relationship with Jesus, accept that we are broken and sinful-we are forgiven.
Will we continue to mess up? Yes, but the hope is that as we grow in our relationship with Jesus, losing more of ourselves, we become more like our Savior. We can walk in that freedom. Jesus is freedom, life and love.
When we work with married couples we see it time and time again, they cannot accept that they are forgiven and that Jesus loves them. Accept that his forgiveness is always and unconditionally. A lack of accepting your are forgiven will keep you from loving and being loved in your marriage. Will you accept what Jesus has done for you? Will you allow your heart to be soaked and saturated with Him?
All too often we think God is either sad or mad at us. You are His beloved. You are His beloved!