I love doing weddings, I love that moment when I am standing at the alter with the groom and the bride makes that appearance at the far end of the aisle and meets the eyes of the groom for the first time since donning her gown. At that moment there is no one else in the world and he has never seen anything more beautiful as she slowly works her way up to him in that brilliant white gown specially fitted to her and chosen with great care to enhance her beauty. And the brides hair, her glory, all done up, framing eyes that sparkle as she sees his reaction and knows that this is the day— the day he will take her as his wife.
I love that moment because I know that at that moment she is perfect in his sight— in fact, she is more than perfect, she is pure, she is lovely— she is loved.
When that bride is also your daughter it’s especially poignant. All three of my daughters have gotten married in recent years and all three of my daughters are loved, by their husbands, by me and many others.
I have a cherished picture of my youngest daughter— one of several sitting on my desk— it’s her next to her husband just after they have lit their unity candles at the altar. To me this is a perfect picture of a perfect girl on a perfect day. Would she say that she is perfect?—no, and I know that she’s not, but that does not diminish the feelings I have when I see this picture in the slightest. Here she is in her pure white gown all made up for her groom, the day all of her life to this point has been leading up to, and if her husband has half a brain and a set of eyes, he is relishing this day and wondering how he ever got so lucky.
All he sees on this day is perfection, all I see when I look at this picture, when I see her now, or any of my daughters— is perfection— I see someone I love intensely.
Among those pictures there is one of my granddaughter sitting in her father’s lap. I love this picture because I know how much her daddy loves her, and how much she loves him. I want her to be completely surrounded by love. To know that love and to never doubt that love; from her dad, her mother, her grandparents, from me, and from her God.
When I see this picture I see a perfect child— is she? Probably not, but that’s what I see.
As far as I’m concerned, I have three perfect daughters and three perfect grandchildren. I want more than anything for them to know love, to feel and move, to be encouraged and strengthened, to be secure in that love. That love from me, from their parents, from future spouses…
Think about how much you love your child, your grandchild. Picture them in your mind. Could anything dissuade you from that love? Of course not! Even the thought rankles you doesn’t it? No one could persuade you to think of them as anything less than absolutely beautiful.
Now, grasp that intense feeling of jealous love you feel for that child, maybe that spouse, grasp the power of that emotion, your hearts longing for them to know your love, to feel your love, in return for the joy they give you just for being who they are, perfect pure and lovely.
Take that intense love that comes to you when you see them, when you see their picture, even the picture in your mind— now take that love and without anything getting in the way— put yourself in the place of the person you are picturing and transpose yourself with the Lord. Imagine you are the Lord and that person you love so intensely is you.
That is how your heavenly Father sees you. That is how much your Father loves you, and even more. Seriously— you are all children of God through faith— why do we struggle so with imagining God loving us with anything less than the same intensity that we love our children?
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Gal 3
He does! In Christ Jesus we are all children of God
You want your children, your grandchildren to know your love, to bask in your love, to be secure in your love, yet we think that we, as God’s children, clothed in the beautiful wedding gown of righteousness, baptized into Christ, that somehow we have to earn our Father’s love, that we are just not worthy, that we cannot be loved on the level we want to be loved.
The inability to grasp that concept, to accept that love— that’s why we have no emotional and spiritual security, that’s why the church is so dysfunctional and neurotic. To be loved is to be emotionally stable, spiritually healthy. The child who does not have love, unconditional, discernable, demonstrative, love on a regular basis from a parent— and you all know this— any child who does not know that they are loved will become a messed up adult who will struggle for the rest of their lives with one issue after another. I have spent my entire adult life ministering to those kids and those adults. If you are not clothed in love —you are clothed in dysfunction.
The only way to overcome that, any of that, is to accept, to believe and know that you are loved by God. Why, oh why, would we think that God is in the business of raising an emotionally unhealthy church? One who has to earn his love, who is afraid to come to him and just say— Daddy, can I sit on your lap?
Our health, our healing, our strength, our desire to live this life, to be good people, to share love— it all stems from knowing that we are loved— from being accepted, loved unconditionally by our God
You are loved. Bask in that knowledge— you are loved beyond compare, beyond comprehension— you are perfect and beautiful— you are the pure bride of Christ, you are the beloved child of God the Father. Your picture sits on his desk
Know that you are righteous; clothe yourself in righteousness, bask in its comfort, knowing that you are beautiful.