“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” -2 Corinthians 3:18-4:1
Five weeks ago today, I woke up at the crack of dawn after a sleepless night of listening to my sister snore. Eight other girls were strewn across the hotel suite, asleep. Nervous, tired and slightly annoyed (I’m not a morning person), I snuck out of bed, choked down half a bagel and quietly slipped out onto the balcony. Already the anticipation for the day’s events felt monstrous. Staring out at the intercostal skyline, I breathed deeply and drank everything in. Today was going to be incredible. Peace lasted for a moment and then the chaos ensued. Coffee, hairspray, girls cramming in bathrooms, clothes all over the floor-the preparations for a momentous occasion began. I put on the most stunning white dress I had ever seen and cried with my mother. I met the kindest man I’ve ever known in front a little brick church to steal a kiss before we made the champion of all promises to each other. Five weeks ago today, I got married. It was a glorious gift.
I’ll be honest in saying the nerves, the fear and the doubt griped at me in the months, weeks and even hours leading up to standing before my husband at the alter. But the gift of love and intimacy to be found with my husband made all of the stress, uncertainty, and work worth it. The hope I had in the greatness of his love for me gave me courage. I believe it to be a glimpse of the courage we're to have in Christ's love, in the Gospel. The gift we have in Christ, to be known by Him, accepted, forgiven and treasured, sanctified, loved- this gift is all that matters. Knowing the Father and His love is life and breath and every good thing’s purpose. It is the very reason that in the face of persecution, the unknown, the mundane and discouragement, Paul says, “we do not lost heart (2 Corinthians 4:16).” Satisfying and sanctifying intimacy with God is Paul’s courage and hope.
Christian, do you know God's love for you? Have you let yourself listen to the Father's merciful thoughts toward you? I’m not talking about sheepish acknowledgement; I’m talking about drinking deeply of the riches of Christ’s glory. To really know and believe that, “beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” At a worship conference this past weekend, teacher Eric Hill said this, "The covenant that God made with you is greater than your commitment to Him." It actually sustains your commitment. It keeps you from losing heart and giving up, so that His work may be complete in you (James 1:4). This is an incredible gift! It even changes the way we view our sin. Sin no longer has the power to bind us in shame, instead Jesus is all the greater for his faithfulness to the weak, the underserving.
Having the faith to receive and abide in God's love is the beginning of a greater intimacy and deep rest. Intimacy always leads to trust, which leads to hope, and hope, courage. From there, our calling emerges and we can walk boldly under the covering of Christ's covenant, trusting that His faithfulness with sustain us (John 15:4-6). So, be courageous. Drink deeply.