"To the God of Victory, all the glory be, to the one Who's conquered all
Every tongue will sing, to the Risen King, oh the wonder of it all
Just to think, that You love me, a wretch like me
Aloud I will rejoice! Aloud I will rejoice!"
These are the words that brought me to tears this morning as I sat thinking about my life at The Village. Christ has been forever faithful to me, no matter how unfaithful and rebellious I've been to Him. But there's just something innate inside me that wants to do things my own way, trust myself to bring me abundant life, joy and fulfillment. That has NEVER worked, not even close. I only tend to bring myself fleeting happiness which then leads to shame, dissapointment and bitterness. Recently, I fell into a pattern of chasing abundant life on my terms. There was darkness in me that didn't want to be exposed, and I did anything that I could to make sure nobody knew about it. I stayed away from my boys because I know that they love me too much to let me walk in darkness. The bad news for me (which is really the best news ever) is that its not so easy to hide things from your wife, especially when she knows you extremely well. Outside of God, nobobdy on this earth knows my heart, passions, strengths, weaknesses, tendencies and love for Christ better than Melanie. My boys know me. Melanie KNOWS me. So when Melanie senses that something was a little off in me, of course she's going to say something. If you want to know the specifics of what I'm talking about, call me and I'd be happy to tell you what I'm talking about, or we can talk about it over a beverage of your choice.
So, I was lovingly confronted by my gracious, gracious wife. But I resisted. I did everything that I could to get out of the situation. I was way more concerned about myself than I was about following the Creator of the Universe, so I didn't want to hear it from my wife. A part of me popped up that I thought was long gone. I went to bed that night leaving Melanie with a million questions. I asked myself how it got to this point.
The next morning I got everything out in the air. I knew it was the right thing to do. I knew that I was to love my wife as Christ loves the church. But honestly, I was just doing it because I knew that I SHOULD, not because it was out of the overflow of my heart. Not because I had offended God and my wife, but because I knew I should. So we were able to talk about it a little bit. Then, something happened. Melanie woke up from a nap, walked into the living room and gave me a huuuuuge hug. She grabbed a hold of me and said, "I love you, no matter what." Everything in me broke. There it was.....Grace. Undeserved, unmerited love. In that moment God reminded me how much He loved me, how He would never give up on me no matter what. He used Melanie to do that. How lucky am I that I have a wife that passionately loves Jesus Christ. Because she belongs to Him, she was able to point me back to Him and remind me that He wasn't going anywhere, and neither was she. How beautiful, how miraculous is His love that He pursues me when I run from Him? Nothing motivated like the love of God; NOTHING.
So the words: "Just to think, that You love me, a wretch like me, aloud I will rejoice!" have never sounded sweeter that they did this morning. I wept that I could so easily throw away the Love that God and my wife show me constantly. Then, I wept that my God takes delight in and passionately cares for me. While I am still a sinner, Christ died for me. How beautiful is the Gospel!
My hope in being this transparent on my blog is this. No matter where you are, no matter how far you've gone or what you've done, there is freedom, forgiveness, hope, grace and mercy for you. You can't give it to yourself, its impossible. Only Jesus can give you those things. There is no other way, and how sweet it is to belong to the Creator of Heaven and earth. He can be trusted, and oh how faithful He is. No matter what we are tempted with and what we are going through, he can relate to and sympathize with us because He has been through it. Life won't be perfect. There will be many, many trials and hardships but you will have an unshakable ground to stand on in Christ.
I'll end with this quote that I've found to be oh so true:
"Until sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet." May we forever cringe at sin so we will see how infinitely sweet Christ is. Only then will we be able to truly and genuinely sing the words that I opened this blog with.