Monday, September 12, 2011

Promises, Promises

This Sunday, September 11th is a day for my family to remember, not the pain of loss and devastation that most of the nation is focused on, but to remember a promise – a vow, made forty-nine years ago on September 11, 1962 between two young people in the presence of God and family. That is the day my mom and dad promised to love and be faithful to each other through the good and the bad forsaking all others until death. And believe me there was a lot of good and a lot of bad. My dad’s Italian temper found its match in my mom’s Irish stubbornness. Add poverty and an infant to the mix and it’s a wonder they made it past the first 18 months. But it was my mom’s Irish tenacity and my dad’s Italian passion, often the cause of their conflicts, which also saw them through the tough times and made them the loving single unit of man and wife that they have been for most of their lives.

In Scripture, our relationship with God is often compared with a marriage. For example in the Old Testament, the prophet Hosea’s love for and continual forgiveness of his unfaithful wife Gomer was a picture – a living, breathing reflection of Israel’s unfaithfulness in her covenant relationship with God and God’s grace and love as he continued to pursue and forgive them, bringing them back into relationship with him. Isaiah 62:5 says: As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. John the Baptist refers to Jesus as the bridegroom and himself as the friend who attends the bridegroom. In Matthew 9:15, Jesus refers to himself as the bridegroom and again in the Parable of the Ten Virgins as he warns his bride, the church, to be ready and waiting for his return. And in the book Revelation, Jesus the bridegroom comes back to claim his bride – you and me.

But on a day like this when we remember the evil that has been done to us and as we mourn the pain and devastation of that day ten years ago, we may find ourselves doubting God’s love. How could a loving God have allowed this to happen? Why do pain, hatred, and war exist at all in this world if God is really in control and protecting us? I don’t have a satisfactory answer for you, except to say that God’s promise, his love for us, is still just as true and real this moment as it was in the beginning when he created us, when through baptism we first entered into a covenant relationship with him as his people, and when he redeemed us through his Son Jesus Christ. God’s love and grace are still ours and his Spirit continues to be with us. His promise to be with us and care for us is still intact as Revelation 21:3 attests to: “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” One day this promise will be evident and we will rejoice over the memory of years of hardship that deepen and strengthen our relationship with him. He is our God and we are his people and no power on earth can separate us from his grace. But don’t take my word for it – embrace his Word, his promise of life to you.

Because I love you, I created you.
I chose you to be my heart's desire and
opened your ears to hear me call your name.
You are my own, my joy and I have redeemed you.
I've broken through your heart of stone, and
created in you a heart of flesh –
yes, a heart of love after my very own.
Always I will listen for your cry,
to lift you out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire
because I love you.
I will set your feet upon solid rock -
firm ground on which to stand, hand in hand,
because I love you.
I've given you a new song to sing –
a redemption song of love and grace.
I have forgiven all your sinfulness
and will not treat you as your sin deserves.
Rather I will comfort you in my arms
until your last tear has been cried and
I will heal your brokenness.
I give all of me to you
and have sacrificed my life for the you
you were yesterday,
are today,
and will be tomorrow.
The record of your sins is no more, gone and forgotten
I want only to embrace you
with a love greater than you can measure.
I love you - all of you right now
just as you are because I AM.
When you turn and go your own way,
I search until I find you and bind your wounds.
I love you and no one can take you from me –
I've made your heart my throne, my home.
You are my precious child to love and protect.
Where you wander, there I am loving you,
a new creation, Lover and loved.
Nothing, no nothing, on earth nor under
nor above can ever separate you from my love.
In love, I have crowned you with salvation,
dressed you in my own robe of righteousness
and surrounded you in the Truth of my love.
In me you find the peace your heart aches for.
In me your faith is proven by my love,
and my Word, my very Spirit, lives in you.
Together you and I are victorious,
for my power defeated our enemy long ago.
And even now I defend you, plead on your behalf -
I am your sacrifice because I love you.
I am love and you are my desire
every moment for all eternity
because I AM and I have made you mine.


Common Household Mom said...

Great photos (as always). Happy Anniversary to them!

Audrey said...

Your words are beautiful Maureen, they touch and move me. Thank you once again for sharing your innermost thoughts with me!