A big, smiling welcome to you! This post is part of a series I’m working my way through in the month of October, called Swim Your Own Race. If you’d like to start at the beginning (it is a very good place to start, after all) you can do so, right here.
You may already know that my Hubs and I are photographers. One of the things we enjoy capturing the most is weddings. And while there are lots of important moments throughout the day, especially during the ceremony, there is this favorite moment we love to make sure to get — the moment when the groom sees the bride for the first time. Capturing the groom’s reaction to the bride was on my shot list last weekend. (We divide up things we want to make sure to capture to try to make sure we get all the imagery we want to have on a wedding day.) This was the first time this particular shot was my responsibility, so I was arms up and eyes ready as the bridesmaids and groomsmen made their way down the aisle, the beautiful little flower girl bounced her way to the front, and a tiny barefoot ring bearer reluctantly followed.
Then the groom saw the bride, ready to marry him, for the first time. When he saw her, his face flushed red. He face was so solemn — as if he was afraid he might not be able to breathe. His eyes sparkled with joy, and with flushed cheeks, you could tell, he fought back a few tears.
I imagine at that point just about everyone had turned to capture a glimpse of the beautiful bride making her way down the aisle on her Father’s arm. She was absolutely stunning, so breathtaking.
But I kept my eyes (and my camera) focused on the groom, and watched as his eyes never wavered. He unswervingly focused on his bride, walking down the aisle to marry him. Until she was standing beside him and the minister began to speak, he never took his eyes off her.
It was a beautiful moment.
There’s a reason the God who created the entire universe wants you to know that you are His bride. There’s a reason the metaphor of the wedding is used for the end of this world when God gathers His church to Himself, and we enter into the unfathomable and breathtaking joy of eternity in His presence.
One reason must be that He wants us to know how much He loves us. He wants us to deeply, fully believe that He is that groom waiting at the end of the aisle for His bride to come. He knows we, His bride, are not perfect, but He sees us as beautiful, dressed in the righteousness He bought for us.
I don’t know what that wedding is going to look like… I can scarcely imagine the cacophony of glory, in sound, in light, in joy, when the the groom who laid down His life for His bride welcomes her into eternity.
Over the next few days, I’d like to think through the metaphor of the coaches you have on your race to glory. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit each have a unique role to play in your journey, and its worth taking the time to ponder a little more of what that means to us.
But before we can dive into those thoughts, I wanted to bring just one thought to you today.
God loves you.
You may have had coaches, or fathers, or brothers who’ve hurt you in the past. You might still be bearing scars on your body or your soul from places where your race went wrong. They were not a part of the story God wanted for your life, but He is able to heal, and He is able to redeem — He is able to make such dark places on the timeline of your days shine so brightly when they work together for good, to become a part of your great story.
If all of eternity was composed into a single book, I want you to understand that while it would have some comedy, some tragedy, so many other elements, at the heart, it’s a love story.
It’s the love of a Father, sending His only Son. The love of a Son, laying down His life to make reconciliation a potential reality. The presence of a Spirit, enabling us to understand, enough to love, though limited and finite we are, we love, as we are able, in return.
If we could swim into the heights and depths and breadths of His love, to explore it, to understand it, to touch it and taste it, we’d just keeping swimming forever. Great is His love for us.
Know that the Maker of Heaven and Earth is watching your race today, friends. He loves your story, and He loves you.
Let that love propel you in your race today. Let it enable you to rest today.
He loves you. He loves you. He loves you.
I mentioned joining the #31Days writing challenge again this year but forgot to mention that there are LOTS of other writers doing #31Days this October, too! One of my favorites is my friend Amanda at Seriously. There are lots of others that you can finding by visiting write31days.com.