So I got the guy BUT (there is that dreaded word; if you missed it, see The “Scarlett” Letter, part 1) we had no idea what we were up against!
The truth is “Happily-ever-after” only comes from self-sacrificing, selfless love, the type Christ had when He laid down His life for the sins of the world (John 3:16). It is called Agape love. And very few find it.
Thankfully as young children, my prince charming and I did find that sacrificial love through our new birth when we accepted the “free gift” of salvation Jesus Christ offers to whoever will believe. We just had not fully experienced the “growing up” and “laying aside the old self” like Ephesians 4 explains. We still operated in a self-indulgent mode – what we wanted the other person to do for us. So, getting poked in the eye with the metal rib from the umbrella was a common occurrence (I will explain that in a minute) and caused bitter walls of unforgiveness!
You see, I had vowed long ago to never allow a guy to rule over me.
In my mind, as long as he treated me “the way I wanted to be treated” then, and only then, did he deserve my respect and honor. And so, if I was going to follow Ephesians 5:22-24 by being submissive to his leadership, he needed to love me as Christ loved the church. But there I was telling God I would not obey unless this guy He had placed over me fulfilled his end of the bargain. So, I continued telling God what “I” wanted!
The umbrella analogy was something “I” wanted for myself. It provided such a security of which I dreamed. Picture it with me: walking through life’s storms with a see-through umbrella, held squarely over your shoulders, at just the right height, and never getting poked in the eye with one of the metal ribs.
I could see myself walking confidently through life as he flashed that heart-throbbing smile my way with a twinkle in his eye, holding that umbrella of protection squarely over my shoulders at just the right height! Oops! he tripped and poked me in the eye with a metal rib.
But thankfully as God’s children, He never leaves us alone but is faithfully working in us (Philippians 1:6); Binding us together tighter and tighter “if” we allow Him the freedom, and “if” we come to the end of ourselves and obey! So, our only boast can be in our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14). Because, in the end, “a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). And when we stubbled it was His strand that did not ravel.
Who is ultimately holding the umbrella?
With the arrival of another year of marriage, once again we claim victory through the Lord Jesus Christ Who provides that third strand, and ultimately holds the umbrella as well! Praise Jesus! We are learning when the clouds appear, and the rain falls, the steadfast transformational work of our Savior covers us with the greatest canopy of “happily-ever-after” this world has ever seen.
“Therefore . . . lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”Ephesians 4:1-3
“It is raining tenderness, love, compassion, patience, and a thousand other flowers and fruits of the blessed Spirit, which are bringing into your life such a spiritual enrichment as all the fullness of worldly prosperity and ease was never able to beget in your innermost soul.”
Streams in the Desert