I feel like I’ve just walked through a field during a lightning storm. I am jumpy and anxious, afraid to move forward, afraid to move at all. The weight of sin and grief and pain and ghosts of the past alternately paralyze me and drive me to run.
I struggle with why I feel restless in the midst of joy and thankfulness and celebration – why am I still thinking something will come between us, why do I fear tomorrow, how do I let all I have worked for and hoped for rest in this marriage, like putting all my eggs in one basket and waiting for any moment now when the basket is dropped and everything breaks.
I think about how marriage reflects the gospel and how often we fail to see just how much God loves us and accepts us when we just look for ways to point out to Him as if He doesn’t know it all already and say a-ha! you cant take that can you? and I can’t help but picture Him smirk – do you think God smirks? – and say Child, are you for real? Remember what I went through for you? Do you think that I didn’t have that covered already? Do you think that when Jesus my Son died on that cross and faced all hell and wrath of judgment that he was thinking well sure I’ll die for everything you’ve done except that?
My heart failed me this morning. I almost wanted someone to say, no I don’t really love you after all. I almost wanted to have to live with guilt and despair because that’s what I’ve grown used to. I almost want someone to fail me. I almost want Rob to wake up one morning and say what the hell was I thinking? I can’t marry Robin. She’s worthless and broken and used and fearful and what can I possibly do with her in my life?
It is the gospel picture after all, this marriage thing, about how easily we let go and give up and give in. We become restless and stop trusting and accepting His love and forgiveness. We push away the hope and the eternal Truth about us in Christ – loved, forgiven, accepted, fully redeemed, being restored – because we have gotten so used to the dirt and the grime we sit in. We have, in fact, chosen to sit in the filth and mire like the younger brother, the prodigal son who cannot get himself to go home. But he was compelled to get up, and go home. And when he was still a long way off…
Why do I struggle to believe the Father watches and waits for me, running to meet me where I am, wrapping me in His arms, exclaiming my child has returned! And how much more do I fail to believe the Father gives good gifts, the fatted calf, the family ring, royal robes, a husband-to-be, a future and a hope?
In a way, it’s easier to believe when you are not looking someone you love in the eye. When they stand in front of you, people like me think what exactly is wrong with this person to love me as he does? Oh right, it’s because he doesn’t know everything. As soon as he hears this, he’s outta here, I’m sure of it. And I think well, I still have God who already knows and promises to love and so when I’m single and alone again, I will fall into the arms of Jesus and I will rest in the knowledge of His grace and acceptance, and everything will be ok again.
But God has something for people like me which we don’t expect. We’ve been let down a hundred thousand times by people who didn’t want us and our mess. They walked away and no one blamed them. They gave up and gave in and not one of us could ever so much as point a finger.
Until that one person comes along and says, I have no stones to throw. I cannot condemn you. I choose not to hold a list of grievances. I choose Grace and Love and Hope and I choose you. And it’s the retelling of the Gospel, a mirror image – not the image itself and not quite perfect and in varying degrees – but it’s clear as day, over and over, every time he says I love you, every time you hear his voice telling you “I’m not going any where,” every time he looks at you, really sees you, knows you, weeps for you, revels in you, celebrates you, worries for you, prays for you, carries you helpless and weak or drags you defiant and fighting to the Truth, the Foundation that stands the test of time, the only Reason we could ever make it this far and could ever attempt to tread along so much farther.
And you write this blog post and you weep for the joy it contains and the beauty yet to come.