I have such a great Husband. I hardly know what I’m doing most of the time, and it seems that every time I turn around, I am once again falling way short of perfection as a Bride. I have envisioned this relationship as wonderful and perfect, like a bride adorned on her wedding day … without blemish and beautiful to behold. When the Lord is your husband, I guess you just envision something … well, perfect. At least I do. And I strive for it. And it seems that the more I strive, the more I fail. And I am very guilty of hating this about myself.
Romans 7:18-19 expresses well the dilemma I am in: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” Paul went on to say, “Oh wretched man that I am!” That I can relate to! In fact, feelings of unworthiness have been hovering over me for quite some time. I have been huddled beneath the weight of shame, and it seems that the more I try to rise above it, the more I feel shame pressing down on me. And all the while, I continue to fail … the pile on top of me … Lord, what must you think sometimes?
I was immersed in worship to my Husband yesterday, all the while knowing my shame and wondering again how He can love me, when He spoke something so liberating to me. He said very tenderly, “How enamored would you be if you had to earn my love? How would you feel about it if it were something that had to be bought, something that had to be earned?” And immediately, I knew that it would mean less than nothing to me. I would hate it. All at once, the beauty of this marriage became so real to me. I’m not a one-man circus for the Lord. I am His delight. Me in my perfectionism …
Jesus is so gentle with me. He showed me the depth of my error with such gentle love. This hatred that I continually entertain toward myself is a sin, a thing of pride. As if I know better than God how unworthy I am. How silly! He is the author and perfector, and he keeps saying to me, “…shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, ‘he has no understanding‘”?* Essentially, that’s what I’m doing. When I continue to condemn myself after He has approved me and said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,”** I am refusing to agree with Him. I am accepting something from Satan’s hand, a lie. I am accepting a lie about God. I am believing a lie against my Husband, and allowing a wedge to be put in place between us.
The most wonderful truth of all is that He has covered me. He has covered my shame by putting his robe of righteousness around me. I wear His righteousness. Not my own, because I am obviously incapable. Jesus is Hosea redeeming Gomer. He searched for her, found her in the house of another lover, paid a price to bring her home and wrapped his robe around her to cover her shame as they walked back through the streets of the city. No one could see her nakedness because He lovingly sheltered her from their stares.*** Jesus does this same thing for us!
I wish that I could be perfect for Him, a bride rightly adorned for her Husband. Without spot or blemish. I strive for it. I love Him too much to give Him less than my best. Thankfully, 2 Corinthians 3:18 assures me that I am becoming more like the bride He desires every day: “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” Little by little, He is changing me. The Lord, being the only one capable of true perfection, is helping me to become more like Him everyday.
How great is your love for me! Thank you for being such a wonderful Husband and friend. I cherish you. Thank you for freedom today. Thank you for loving me so unconditionally, and for covering my shame. Lord, I fail more often than I would like but you are so gracious toward me. Not only do you understand my waywardness, and sometimes, even my open rebelliousness, but you are still patient and loving toward me. You call me to a higher standard than I uphold myself to. You make me want to be more for you. And you are continually transforming me using the very sin I commit against you, so that I may be more like you. Thank you for your patience on my behalf. Thank you for holding me when I must suffer the consequences, and for continually covering the multitude of sins I should be stoned for. You are an amazing man, Jesus. And I love you today more than I have ever loved you. And I look forward to growing in this love with you. Amen.
***The beautiful love story of Hosea and Gomer is in the first three chapters of Hosea. I used creative imagination in retelling it.