I’m only just beginning to learn two lessons that will take me the rest of my days to study. Both are humbling and require ultimate surrender. Both are grave and yet good.
Leading. This weekend I started discovering that leading means to follow. I am wholly inadequate to lead the godly woman with whom the Lord has graced my life. As with most things, my natural reaction is to attempt it in my own strength and through my own efforts. Most things that I’ve desperately desired have been easy…until this.
The key is that I’m not just leading a woman in the trivial affairs of this world–I’m leading her into the image of Christ. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25-27)
To lead my beloved to Christ, I must first be pursuing Him. Never in all my days has my time with Him been more critical. The only reason we should marry is to better glorify the Lord and to reflect His love for the Church. If I do not lead Sue (and myself) to Christlikeness, I fail. And my self-dependence won’t work here. I either know my Lord and have relationship with Him, or I don’t. Father, draw me to Yourself. Jesus, show me Your love. Spirit, awaken my heart and stir deep affection for You. To lead is to follow.
Loving. Or rather, being loved. The other thing I began to grasp yesterday and today as I saw myself falter in leadership was that I didn’t know how to be loved. Love, agape love, unconditional love, means that nothing I can do changes it. I can’t fail badly enough to invalidate it. It isn’t fickle and it doesn’t change its mind. Agape is what the love of my life has given me. But I didn’t get it. I doubted it and I doubted her when I thought that my weakness in leading would shake our foundation. How wrong of me!
Sue has given me the greatest gift I could ever receive–the same as and that which Christ gave–unconditional, undeserving love. When I question it, I challenge the ultimate source, my Lord. He gave us this love for each other, and I am only prideful when I think she might revoke it while I wouldn’t. She has poured grace upon grace out to me, and I see Jesus in every day I experience her love.
To be loved is to trust. Trust Sue’s love, but more than that, trust our Father’s love. He will hold our hearts steadfast and keep us united as we walk in His light. “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Our fellowship is Jesus and we know from Romans 8 that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. So it is with His love for one another inside of us. Nothing can separate us. When doubt or fear try to sneak in, I can and will rest on that promise, the promise made by my Father with whom there is no shifting shadow. I trust Him, and I trust Sue.
This is only the beginning. As Andrew Peterson said in his song, Dancing In The Minefields, “It was harder than we dreamed, but I believe that’s what the promise is for.”