Ephesians 5:25-27 – 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. (ESV)
The first person I actually saw die was my father. We did not think he would die; this was the man who had possessed the strength of two, who had wrestled with farm machinery and farm animals all his life, whose muscle strength even in his 70's was prodigious. When the heart attack felled him, we fully expected him to recover. But as I stood at the foot of the bed, my brother at his left and my mother at his right, he suddenly had another heart attack. The nurse called a "Code Blue", but before the crash cart even got there, he turned his face to my mother, looked at her one last time, and then closed his eyes. We were hustled to the hallway as the medical personnel worked to deny death one more time, but to no avail. God had called him home.
My mother cherished that last look. My brother said to me, "It was to her he turned," with just a hint of regret in his voice. But I cherished that last look, too. My parents did not have a perfect marriage. Who among us does? There were moments of contention, arguments, and even anger. But all my life, I knew one thing for certain: they loved each other, and it went both ways. Only the two people in the marriage understand that bond, but it provides an enormous amount of security to the children from the marriage. It was the source of my first understanding of God — a love we can always count on regardless of what happens in our lives.
1 Corinthians 13:13 – Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love. (NLT)
When we understand the love of Christ for His imperfect bride, the church, we can apply that understanding to our own lives. The imperfections in the people we love will not cause us to love them less, but to thank God for bringing them into our lives.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to reflect Christ's face in our human attempts to love others. Amen.