Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our Father in Heaven . . . and My Mental Videotape

This weekend our family attended a wedding. Not only did we attend, but my husband actually performed the ceremony. The couple is one that we’ve met and befriended since we moved to Chicagoland. The wedding was beautiful.

It’s been said that every wedding has that one thing that goes wrong, and then everything else falls right into place. Well, this wedding had more than one thing. (Maybe that’s good luck?) To start off with, the bridesmaid who was in charge of bringing the bride’s dress . . . FORGOT IT. So there we sat, on little white chairs in the park, watching the clouds gather for rain while we waited. Meanwhile, the bridesmaid who was in charge of the music couldn’t find her laptop. The bride’s father was lost and couldn’t find his way to the park. And as for me, I had planned to surprise the couple by videotaping the ceremony for them, but my camera was malfunctioning. I couldn’t get it to record at all. I checked and re-checked every little detail. I even prayed over it and asked God to intervene. But He remained silent.

Finally, an hour after the wedding was supposed to have started, the dress and the bride’s father had arrived. And now it was raining. Nevertheless, the ceremony began -- without music and without being videotaped (although many of the adults could be seen crouching under their umbrellas with cameras, taking pictures). When it was the bride’s turn to be escorted down the aisle, I couldn’t help myself as I began to hum the melody of “Here Comes the Bride.” Amazingly, the man behind me began to hum with me, and suddenly everyone else had joined in. It was a very cool moment.

My husband performed the ceremony without a hitch. He had everyone laughing at times, while still keeping the solemnity of the event in place. One element of the ceremony that he had suggested to the couple was to have the groom exchange father-daughter vows with the bride’s daughter. She is just 8 years old. The groom spoke first, reciting promises to love her, protect and provide for her. It was a touching notion already, but they had all of us crying by the end of it – the little girl began to cry as she heard her new father expressing his love for her and promising to be there for her. When he finished the vows, it was clear to all of us that she was in tears. There are so many hurtful things this child has already had to deal with in her few years on this earth, and she recognized immediately the significance and genuineness of her new father’s words. She really needed to hear him say those things, and she needed to believe him! As she wiped her eyes, the groom knelt down beside her, despite the soaking wet ground, and put his arms around her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned into him, letting her tears fall freely.

What a picture of how our heavenly Father loves on us when we are broken! In the words of the Bible and through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, the God of the universe declares His love for us. He promises to protect us and provide for us, and to work good for us through every situation. And when we are broken by the realization of the fullness of His love and grace, He is ready to kneel down and embrace us, even if it means messing up His pants.

We are His portion and He is our prize

Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way...
He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves