I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
- Romans 8:39 (MSG)
By far one of the most memorable moments of my life came on February 25th, 2006, my wedding day. I remember it so vividly - standing at the front of the stage at the packed out F.O.P Lodge. My friend Matt Greene beautifully singing that great hymn, “Be Thou My Vision”, as my soon to be bride slowly approached me with the fullness of beauty, grace, and love. Then, I lost it. I mean I really lost it. As I looked at her walking towards me, I couldn’t help myself; tears just started shooting from my eyes.
It’s both a scary and liberating thing to be loved, I mean really loved. Loved despite your mistakes, shortcomings, and annoying little habits. Loved for who you really are, both your public and private self.
Before we got to this amazing moment there were many difficult moments we had to endure. Some I thought would surely end our relationship. In premarital counseling we promised each other that we would be completely open and honest about everything: our fears, hurts, dreams, and wrongs. This was such a huge decision for us and we wanted to be sure that we “knew” who it was we were going to be committing ourselves too. I remember there would be moments when I would think to myself, “This is it. You shouldn’t have told her that about yourself. She’s definitely leaving now.” But you know what, she stayed. She always stayed. She stayed all the way through to that moment she began walking towards me in the midst of that sea of faces and lovely sounds.
In the scripture cited above, Paul states that he is absolutely convinced that nothing will be able to separate us from God’s love because of the way that Jesus has embraced us. Embraced us! Think about that. Jesus, in all his power and prestige, embraces you – not the Sunday morning church service “you” or the LinkedIn profile “you” – but you, the real you. And his embrace has such a vice-grip on you that nothing could pull you away from it. That is, as long as you’re willing to receive it.
It’s both a scary and liberating thing to be loved, really loved. And that is why it’s so transforming. When my bride began to walk towards me, I knew that what she was saying to the world, to me, was that she has chosen me; even in light of all she knew about me. She was saying that she was mine, if I was willing to be hers. And in that moment I felt free; free to be me, free to give myself to the hope infused with that kind of love.
Whenever I think about Jesus, both this scripture and this moment always comes to mind. For me, they are like signposts that have been put into my life that point me home. Home: the place where I belong; the place I was made to live. The place that was built for me, for you, the moment Jesus stepped from the sea of faces and offered up his endless love.
May we be bold enough to receive such an embrace. May we bold enough to step from our fears and into the blessed hope of his unbreakable love.