I still remember my wedding day. I was so excited and nervous about being the new Mrs. Jeff Waterbury. My husband is a fighter pilot, and I have always been so proud of him. But more than that, he is my protector and my love and my knight in shining armor. I remember that day thinking of how wonderful he was, how handsome he was standing at the end of the isle waiting for me! I could hardly believe it!
If you are fortunate to be marrying someone wonderful, when that long awaited day comes when you finally say “I do,” you can’t help but think of all the reasons for marrying him. You see how awesome and loving he is and you feel so lucky that he is marrying you!
I can’t imagine that if I hadn’t known Jeff and spent any time with him that I would have been nearly as excited to be his wife. It was because I knew him, because I understood how wonderful that man was who was waiting for me at the end of that isle that I anticipated being married to him.
You see, I found out that Jeff was worth the effort it took to see him. Over the past 28 or so years, I’ve continued to work at it, looking past the layers of both mine and his imperfections and sin to see him more and more clearly.
If I can be so excited about an earthly marriage to a wonderful, but imperfect man, how much more excited should I be at my engagement to the King of kings! I am the luckiest human being who ever was and I should be appropriately excited about being His betrothed.
There are so many reasons why we don’t live in this due excitement, but the chief reason is because, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:12,
For now we see in a mirror dimly.
We’re squinting and laboring to see our magnificent and glorious Bridegroom, but our fleshly windows are smudged and dirty from the sins and imperfections of this world. What unfortunately happens all too often is that we simply give up trying to see through it. We just give in to the foggy perceptions of this life and stop working at seeing through this mirror into the unfathomable happiness that is ours.
It’s just so hard to see!
As I’ve counseled and taught so many times over the years, seeing Jesus Christ as our Eternal Bridegroom and living in the absolute joy that knowledge brings is a learning process. Basically we have to unlearn everything we’ve ever learned about what it means to be loved, and re-learn both what true love is as well as who this King is who has chosen us as His bride.
The process is long and it is arduous here on this earth. I think Jeff won’t mind me saying that it wasn’t long after that wonderful wedding day that it wasn’t so wonderful anymore. That seemingly perfect man wasn’t so perfect after all, and neither was I. Our marriage has lasted 28+ years because we determined ourselves to keep looking at one another. We didn’t give up on knowing who the other was.
Why do we put so much effort into earthly marriages, or not, but give up so easily on the one that is eternal and perfect? So we see as in a mirror dimly now. Just because that is true doesn't mean that we stop at the first part of that verse in 1 Corinthians. The entirety of 13:12 says,
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
It is a process and it is one we have to be committed to if we want the “part” that we know now to be increased, resulting in more joy and contentment as we wait for the “face to face” when we will “know fully.”
Okay, so it’s a process. Where should we start? Well, the most logical place is to start with who we are looking at and why He is so worthy of our effort. It is logical to ask ourselves, “Who is this King of kings? Who is Jesus Christ, the Most Excellent King?” After all, getting excited over being the bride has to come as a result of excitement over that Person who wants us! We must see how amazing and excellent is this King who has chosen us among all others to be His bride.
Jonathon Edwards once wrote about the reason why the children of God will want to grasp the excellency of Christ. He wrote:
“There is a divine and superlative glory in the excellency of Jesus Christ, an excellency that is of a vastly higher kind and more sublime nature than in other things, and a glory greatly distinguishing them from all that is earthly and temporal. He that is spiritually enlightened truly apprehends and sees it, or has a sense of it. He does not merely rationally believe that Christ is glorious, but he has a sense of the gloriousness of Him in his heart.” ("A Divine and Supernatural Light," Jonathon Edwards, 1734)
This is our goal. We want to gain a sense of the gloriousness of our Bridegroom, our King Jesus, because a sense is really all we can attain while looking through these sin-stained windows. However, if we don’t look, we will turn away from His unimaginable love in frustration, sadly living outside of that which is already ours.
That is sad indeed.
So, who is this Jesus? What kind of a king is He who has chosen us to be His?
He is the King that Paul describes in Philippians 2:5-7. He is the King who
…though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
He is God. He was God. He will always be God.
Not only that, but this God humbled Himself in ways we simply cannot comprehend, all for the sake of His love for us and His obedience to the Father. That means that He refused to accept the riches and privileges and heavenly glories that come with His being God, all so that He could redeem us, His church. He did all of this so that our deserved debts would be paid and we could live forever with Him.
He humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on the cross, so that He might present you and me faultless and pure before the Throne of Grace. Then He may say to us, just as the Bridegroom says to His bride in the Song of Songs 4:7,
You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.
Think of it like this: the king of the richest land in all of the earth has chosen his bride among the poorest and most unlikely of peasants in the land. He has to ransom her from slavery and the only way he can do this is to give up all that he has as king—all of the honor that goes with his station—and become one of the lowest of the low, and because he loves her so much, he is willing to do that and more.
Now please understand here that Jesus did not empty Himself of His deity in this sacrifice. He couldn’t do that or He would cease to exist. If He emptied Himself of being God, which is by His very nature who He is, then He couldn’t be. He didn’t empty Himself of His deity; He emptied Himself of His rights as that deity.
In John 17 He says He set aside His heavenly glory to come to this sin-stained planet.
In John 5 He says He set aside His independent authority and acted only as His Father commanded.
He emptied Himself. He made Himself nothing. He gave up everything, for a time, so that we could be wed to Him.
C.S. Lewis said,
“No seed ever fell so far from a tree into so dark and cold a soil as the Son of God did.” (Miracles, C.S. Lewis, 1947)
He did that for us. What kind of amazing king is that?
Is He worth our effort? Is this King worth the process and the time and the frustration we often feel to learn about Him and work at seeing Him?
At that I answer, “Yes and Amen!”
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