The Mystery of Marriage

AwaitingtheKing_2010

There is mystery in romance.  What is that initial spark that draws two people together?  How does that initial spark turn into a blazing romance?  How is that romance sustained over a lifetime through the seasons, the challenges and the monotony — wherein two people who are so “other” become one?  Every romance, every marriage that has weathered the years all point to a greater love…Your divine love.

Jesus,  I feel Your ache for oneness.  It is a mystery why Your heart would burn with such passion for broken humanity.  Yet there is no denying that Your heart is an eternal raging fire of divine love.  What else would have compelled You to exchange heaven for a humble stable, to be born for the sole purpose of an excruciating criminal’s crucifixion?!   At Your core is romance, the longing to be one with me forever.  I look forward to spending eternity going deep into the mystery, the joy, the fulfillment of being married, of being one with You Jesus.  Amen

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Mystery

It is Your glory, Jesus, to conceal things in mystery.  You have hidden Your wisdom in the stars, in the earth under our feet, even in our very DNA.  You have also hidden much of Your heart in stories — in the parables you told, in history as it unfolds, even in our life stories.  I confess that I prefer to be fascinated — to know — without having to expend the effort of searching out mysteries.  Yet You love the dance of hiding and discovering.  You love dropping a hint here, a glimmer of glory there, so that I would keep searching, keep asking, keep exerting effort until… another hidden mystery is unveiled.  With every hidden truth, You beckon me into this love dance with You.   It is Your glory to shroud things in mystery, and it is my kingly glory to search them out.

My prayer is that I would step into this glorious dance with You, where I unwrap treasure after treasure of beautifully hidden mysteries.  Let the dance begin in this lifetime and let it continue for all eternity.  Amen.

Joy

Jesus, You are the happiest, most joyful person alive.  I’m amazed that You can be so joyful in a world filled with such suffering.  Your joy is whole, not muted by coping mechanisms to pain.  Your joy is radiant; I see it in sunshine, laughing children, playful puppies, spring bursting with new colors and every genuine smile.  Your joy is resilient. Who else could endure the agony of scourging, crucifixion, hanging naked and bleeding for all to mock and scorn without collapsing inward? In Your agony, sweetness came out — forgiveness, entrusting Your beloved mother to the care of Your beloved John.

Your charge to us to always be joyful does not come from a heart untouched by suffering.  You enter into our sorrows, take on our deepest pains, and from that place call us to joy.  Why joy? Because somehow every single mess will be redeemed.  Why joy? Because everything is an expression of love, a gift from Your loving hand.  Why joy? Because the trials are temporary and the glory is eternal.

So I choose to be joyful today.  I choose to trust that every single thing in my life comes from loving hands.  I choose to thank You for the simple pleasures of my life, not to take for granted the wonderful ordinary.  Most of all, I choose to lift my face, hands and heart to heaven and worship You in joy, even when…especially when darkness and pain surrounds me.  Let joy be my constant as it is Yours. Amen.

Love

Jesus, I treasure Your love.  Thank You, for living inside of me, for speaking to me, for listening to me.  You are the dearest friend.  No one gives like You give…so extravagantly, so wholeheartedly.  You gave up Your prestige and glory.  You gave health to bodies, soundness to tormented souls, heaven to our hells.  You gave everything, even Your life in a very brutal, humiliating death…all so we could live.

Thank you for family and friends.  I am grateful for how they each fight for my well being in their own way, how they each show me a different facet of Your love.  Thank You for the many hugs I’ve received, the many shoulders I have leaned on, the hands that have comforted and served and the words that strengthen and destroy prison walls.

I love looking at the world You’ve made.  Everything You’ve created shows exquisite attention to detail, even an ordinary leaf or a blade of grass.  Every animal created is an amazing bundle of personality, strengths and survival skills.  The sun shines with warmth and life and joy, faithfully rising every day, even on those who do not deserve kindness.  The color, the sounds, the movement…all declare that You are amazing.

Finally, I see Your love in the invisible principles You’ve laid down to govern everything. Every great idea is an expression of Your love, a glimpse into a deeper principle, a wisdom pillar built on love.  At the end of the day, when I stand before You face to face, I want to hear You say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  I want to see Your eyes of approval because I built my life on Your eternal love.  I built my life on receiving and delighting in Your love.  I built my life on loving even when it appeared small and insignificant, because You treasure and remember every little act of love forever.

Love Answering

Early this week, I felt like I heard God say that He loves to answer my prayers.  My honest first response was retorting back, “What about all the delayed answers?”  Every season of my life, there seems to be at least one major unanswered prayer for that season.  I pray.  I pour my heart out.  I weep. I fast.  I sing.  I imagine God’s answers.  I declare and decree loudly.  I blow the shofar  …  Silence  …  In fact, sometimes the situation gets worse.  I have heard that there are many reasons for delayed answers: spiritual warfare, sin, timing, character building, free will choices. I may be able to make an intellectual list of a lot of good reasons for delayed answers or unanswered prayers.  Yet none of them strike my heart with an “Aha.  This is why my prayer is not getting answered.”  None of them really give me the comfort, nor the strength I need to keep clinging to God for answers. What keeps me clinging to God?  God Himself.  He is my strength.  He is my resilience.  He is my encouragement.

I still do not understand delays, but my heart believes God’s word that He LOVES to answer my prayers.  These past few days, His Spirit repeatedly reminds me that He loves to answer my prayers, and each time I gratefully receive His word to me.  Out loud, I gratefully respond, “Daddy, thank You that You love to answer my prayers.” He wants to answer my prayers.  He loves to answer my prayers.  He wants me to ask and keep asking so that He can give and I can receive.  It brings Him joy to bring me joy.  So I ask and keep asking, believe and keep believing…and as I do this, I feel God deepening reservoirs of strength, faith, love and joy, making these momentary light afflictions worth the eternal weight of glory.

Gaze

You keep in perfect peace those whose eyes are fixed on You.  So when I feel anxious, I know my eyes have drifted from You.  I live in a world riddled with problems — large injustices down to small inconveniences.  Your ancient enemy loves to use these problems to steal my joy and peace…and, oh, how easily my joy seems to get stolen.

But You, God, love to use these problems for glory.  Each problem is Your invitation to draw near to You, to develop a history of seeing You come through for me, to fall deeper in love with You.  You long for Your sons of glory to rise up and step into their destinies.  You chose the hour and the place each of us would be born.  You chose the obstacles and battles each of us would face…and You wait in anticipation for us to step into our place as sons that bring heaven to earth, divine solutions to problems that seem unsolvable, love and joy in the darkest places. You wait for us to display Your multifaceted wisdom to all principalities.  It is a mystery why You wait for humble humanity, a mystery why You love us so much.  You made us from dust, clothed us in humanity, yet call us to infinite glory as kings and priests.

Help me not shrink back and hide or whine when I’m faced with what looks like an insurmountable obstacle.  Help me keep my eyes fixed on You, confidant that You have given me everything I need to bring more heaven to earth.

Rest

Jesus, I hear Your invitation for me to rest, to enter Your rest.  Daily You invite me.  Moment by moment You invite me.  You’ve invited me for years, patiently extending Your hand, waiting for me to put my hand in Yours.  I’ve tasted fleeting moments of this eternal calm, when I feel the weight of Your presence, the eternal “all is well.”

And yet…I feel an almost relentless drive away from Your rest.  My mind races.  My heart sometimes swinging from one dark emotion to another.  What feels like the urgent beckons me to put out one fire after another.  The momentary trivial crowds out the eternal.

Still You wait.  You wait for me to enter into that exquisite place with You.  Our secret garden where You are in me, and I am in You.  Come, Holy Spirit, teach me how to remain in You, so that regardless of external calm or storm, my heart is in perfect peace.  Amen

Pruning

Jesus, I pruned my beloved peach tree this weekend until only about 10% of its branches remained.  There was some pain involved in pruning, especially the branches that were teeming with buds, each bud promising to become a delicious juicy peach…only to be cut short. Yet there was also something deeply satisfying about paring down my tree until it was stripped to its most basic simplicity.  Essentially, it was “decluttering” the dead branches, the crossed or too high up branches, even the wonderful vibrant branches which unnecessarily sucked the tree’s life energy.

So I know that, You Father, prune my life with exquisite skill and wisdom.  I imagine it hurts You, but You are willing to hurt and to let me hurt…for the greatest amount of fruitfulness, heaven and glory.  Let it be so.

Order

Jesus, I’ve grown to love order with each passing year.  When I was younger, order was not something I appreciated.  It was something I took for granted.  Yet I’ve grown to relish the feeling of order, and it is no longer something I take for granted.  It brings me great pleasure when my home is in order, when even the cupboards and closets are well organized.  I love having my finances in order, my business running efficiently and smoothly.  It is such a joy to have time uncluttered, unrushed, so I can be fully engaged in whatever I am doing in the moment.  I love the incredible well being that comes from sitting at Your feet and breathing deeply.

You are a God of order.  You could have created everything all at once.  Yet You created the material world in orderly fashion, each day designated for a specific creation.  So You love our lives to have divine order, each season for its unique purpose.  I pray my life would be a living reflection of the beauty of divine order, and that through the years, divine order would continue to expand in all facets of my life.  Amen.

Affection

Jesus, I’m grateful for Your affection.  I know that Your affection is not a mere fleeting warm feeling, but comes from a passionate, eternal divine love.  You loved little kids near You.  You loved to touch them and bless them.  Your eyes welled up with compassion so many times when You saw people suffering — the widow who lost her only son, the young rich ruler who couldn’t trade his wealth for Your kingdom, sisters mourning the death of their brother. Sometimes I can still see Your eyes well up with tears when You look at me in my sorrow — there’s so much warmth, tenderness and understanding in Your eyes.

I wish I could hear more clearly the emotions in Your voice when You share Your thoughts. I’m almost positive that I’m missing a lot of the warmth and passion in Your voice when I read the text that records Your words.  I’m almost positive I fail to hear the emotion in Your voice when You speak to my heart each day.  I ask You for wisdom to know Your heart toward me — Your enjoyment of me, Your approval of all that’s right, Your encouragement for the areas that are not quite there.  Thank you, Jesus, for Your kind thoughts toward me, for Your warm affection and fierce devotion.  My prayer is that I would pour out my affections on You each moment of this short life You’ve given me. Amen.