Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wednesday's Word

For a long time I have had a particular fondness for the book of Revelation. Most people say it's about the future, and parts of it are. But looking at Revelation merely as a telescope through which to view future events robs it of its main message. Mostly, Revelation is a book about our victorious God, His love for the people He has redeemed, and the faith that enables us to overcome our trials.

I've been posting some of my reactions to Donald Miller's book, Searching for God Knows What. I love this sentence on page 176: "Imagine how much a man's life would be changed if he trusted that he was loved by God."

Well, the book of Revelation can help us catch a fresh glimpse of God's love for us. One of the most powerful glimpses is in Revelation 19. Say these words out loud and listen:

"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear . . . Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" (vv. 6-9).

I remember my wedding day well. It was almost 30 years ago. I was nervous as all get-out until the doors to the sanctuary opened and I saw Suzy standing there in her wedding gown, about to walk down the aisle toward me. Suddenly a feeling came over me like in a movie. I felt that she and I were the only ones in the church. She was the most beautiful person I'd ever seen. (Still is.) She was beaming with joy and excitement. My nervousness left me as we stood there arm in arm and said our marriage vows before the minister. It was the start of the greatest adventure of my life outside my relationship with Christ.

I wonder if Jesus now feels the emotions I felt that day waiting for the arrival of my beloved. I'm sure He does. Before His death He told His disciples that He would soon leave them and start preparing a place for us in heaven (John 14:2). He also prayed, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am" (John 17:24). Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus endured the cross "for the joy set before Him." What joy? At least partially it was the joy of knowing that soon, very soon, He would see His glorified people, "coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband" (Revelation 21:2).

The height of our joy as God's people will be reached on this glorious day of the wedding feast of the Lamb! Jesus can hardly wait for it to happen. The bride He has pursued throughout the ages will finally be resurrected and glorified and ushered into His presence, "a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless" (Ephesians 5:27). And the best thing about this feast, unlike earthly wedding feasts, is that it will never end. The adventure will have just begun, and will never get old. In some form or fashion we will party forever in the love relationship Jesus died to establish with us!

"Imagine how much a man's life would be changed if he trusted that he was loved by God."

Does thinking about heaven help you remember how much you have been and will forever be loved by God?

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