Both my hubby and my mummy have their birthdays this week. They are two people whose influence in my life I really appreciate, and for whom I thank God for often. It is the first birthday I am celebrating with my husband as his wife, and as I do so, I reflect on how we have grown in our marriage, and how thankful I am for my husband. Christmas is also coming up soon, the time when we celebrate the birth of Christ, and remember His glory!
I know my husband loves me. He tells me so, but he also shows it. It is not just in the gifts he gives, or in the way he looks at me and smiles, or in the words he says, but also in the way he walks through life with me. He shares my burdens, comforts me when I’m down, celebrates with me, and also shares my joy. He helps me work through decisions, prepare for guests, and we are indeed, a partnership in life. One thing I’ve noticed, is how hubby has intentionally stepped up to lead the household, and I have been glad to submit to him in this. He has taken up the role of protector, priest, provider and prophet, and while he will continue to grow in these areas, I as his wife, can testify that I have felt protected, provided for, spoken into, and encouraged in Christ. I know my husband prays for me, and that he loves God. We are heirs together in the grace of life [1 Peter 3:7]
I have spoken often about Jesus, my Bridegroom, and I am appreciating Him even more as a husband now. It is the sense of the oneness and bond that He creates when He makes His covenant with us and gives us His Holy Spirit. It is the eternity of life spent walking with Him. It is the submission of our lives fully to Him, trusting that He is our protector, priest, provider and prophet. His peace keeps our hearts and minds in Him, He atones for all our sins, He knows what we need and is faithful, and He continually speaks identity and purpose into us. He shows us His eyes, and tell us how much He loves us. We partner with Him in His work of the kingdom, and He never ceases to encourage us in Christ. The marriage of the Lamb of God, with the church is one of increasing intimacy. It is a love which overcomes sin, not just once, but for eternity. Jeremiah 3:14 describes how God remembers His people, even when they fall away from Him time and time again.
“’Return, O backsliding children,’ says the Lord; ‘for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.’”
God does not forget His covenant, He does not forsake His vow and He does not change His mind. He is a faithful husband, who lavishes His love upon us, protects us, and gives His Name to us. He is the redeemer of Israel, and the redeemer of the nations. We are called by His Name.
“Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes I have made him.” [Isaiah 43:7]
My mother has a strong, and bold woman of God. She is strong because she continually humbles herself before God, and He works through her. I have seen the fruits of her laboring in prayer, and meditation in the word of God. Moreover, I have been affected by this faith as her daughter. She has not only contributed to teaching me up in the ways of God, but she has demonstrated this. My mother wants the best for me. She wants me to grow up having the favour of God upon my life, and she does her part in this through prayer, and spurring me on towards God. Sometimes, this also requires discipline and correction. Yet, again, the underlying element that drives her relationship with me is love.
The Bible so often refers to us as children of God. Isaiah 49:15 reassures us that God can never forget us:
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.”
He sees our struggles, our hurts and our dreams. He sees when we are persecuted, and when we suffer under sin. He has compassion for us and He comforts us. Psalm 91:4-5:
“He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler, You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness.”
The motherly characteristic of God is His compassion, and gentleness. Like a mother, He nurtures us and comforts us. We can trust in Him.
“Surely, I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me.” [Psalm 131:2]
Because He loves us, He gives His life to gives us the best of life.
“…But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.” [1 Thessalonians 2:8]
If this is how Paul felt about the church of Thessalonica, how much more does God feel this way for His church, His children.
As Christmas approaches, I reflect on the great gift God gave in His Son, Jesus. He is our Saviour, and our Redeemer, who has overcome the grave. Can you imagine what depth of love could compel God, in heaven, to humble himself to the form of man, walk the earth and suffer, all to redeem us from Adam’s sin? He bore the consequence of sin, and defeated the grave, making a way for us to draw near, once again, to Him. Can you grasp this love of Christ? The love of a husband, and the love of a mother on earth bears up against incredible circumstances. Yet, the love of God for us is even greater.
This is the love that overcomes sin.
“For when we still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5:6-8]
The love that produces joy in times of tribulation.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” [Romans 5:3-5]
The love that casts out fear and causes our own hearts to love – to love God, and to love others.
“Love has been perfected among us in this; that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” [1 John 4:17-19]
May we grow in our capacity to understand and receive the love of God!
“…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know that love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” [Ephesians 3:16-19]