This Valentine’s Day, I am well aware that you don’t need another Netflix recommendation or date-night plan. We all decide the way we want to celebrate this holiday, or what sort of ice cream we’d like to binge on. You don’t need me for that. What I want to share is, from my perspective, three things that knowing my husband has taught me about knowing Jesus. That may sound a little odd, but the Bible is full of references to how our marriages reflect the relationship between the Church and Christ. I have never experienced anything more wonderful, frustrating, and sanctifying than the standard that marriage calls me to. I think there is a glimpse of Heaven in most everything, if only we look with the right eyes.
Here are 3 major things that my marriage has taught me about Jesus:
- He doesn’t just want us to mindlessly follow orders, he wants to walk through life with us.
I cannot imagine what would happen if I just did my share of our household chores, cooked a decent dinner every few nights, and talked about Aaron a lot, but ignored his actual presence. He cares so much more about being with me and knowing my heart than he does about whether or not I fulfill all my “duties” for him. I think we, as Christians, can be terrible about treating Jesus like a formula. We just follow the rules and wait for our reward, instead of cultivating a real relationship with God. That’s not what love looks like. God’s commandments are all designed to point the way to His heart, because that’s His ultimate goal. To have real relationship.
- He waits for us to invite Him in. He doesn’t force His way, even if he knows what’s best.
I’ll tell you a wildly unflattering story about me: after a year and a half of being close friends, Aaron finally asked me out. I promptly turned him down, listing all the reasons we were better off as friends. He quickly responded, “Well, when can I ask you out again?” He told me he disagreed with my reasons, but would respect my decision unless I changed my mind. Nevertheless, he knew what he wanted, and he never stopped desiring to be closer. I waited a few weeks, but changed my mind once I realized that my “no” was based in fear. In fact, my no was keeping me from being known and loved. How often do we do this to the Lord? Jesus wants to know, heal, and set free every part of our hearts, but He never kicks down the door. We have to live invitationally with Him, asking Him into the places we are afraid we are unlovable. He won’t force us, but He always wants more.
- God gives us the desires of our hearts.
For a long time, I believed that this meant God would just do what I wanted, as long as I behaved. Knowing Aaron has changed my understanding of this promise.
Hear me out: Aaron doesn’t give me everything I want, and I am desperately glad for that. He and I are opposites on every personality test possible, and I learned a long time ago that the way I reacted to our differences and misunderstandings said a lot more about me than about him. How I respond to not getting my way is an incredible way to judge the condition of my heart. Sometimes, Aaron telling me no is the most loving thing he could do, and he always does it with love in his eyes and grace in his heart. I have expectations, standards, and desires that I realize Aaron can never fill, not because he’s lazy, but because they are not right. Sometimes, I even want things that could hurt our relationship. If Aaron loves me more than to enable my selfishness, how much more so God? The more I know God, the more I believe He understands what the real desires of our hearts are. He doesn’t always give us everything that we want, and it’s because He can see the future, the present, and our motivations more clearly than we ever could. He doesn’t do it out of spite, contempt, or anger. He does it with love in his eyes and grace in his heart, wanting something better for us than what we’re asking.
Maybe there’s something you want you don’t have that you want. Maybe it’s a relationship, maybe it’s something even deeper and more pressing. Whatever it is, God isn’t holding out on you. He is preparing something better than you’re asking, and preparing you for it. Take heart, my friend.
“Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous.Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”