Tuesday, 9 August 2016

5 Lessons About Christ - Lesson Five: Divine Love

by Karen Chung

By the grace of God, Karen will be starting her first year at U of T for plastic and reconstructive surgery. She asks for your prayers, that she may abide in God daily

I had the privilege of watching the beautiful Janessa Se Lan marry Timothy Gee on June 11, 2016 at the Elk Ridge Resort in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. All names have been granted with permission.

God used this wedding to share five lessons about Christ, and I write them now. I write to remember, to understand, and to testify. I pray that this will also be a blessing for you.

I connected instantly with Sunny, a vivacious medical student with warm brown eyes who moved quickly to serve others.

"What was your favourite part of the wedding so far?" She smiled at me, "Those vows though..."

Tim's vows to Janessa started off beautifully:

"I love you not because of how you make me feel: although I am definitely my happiest when I'm with you. I love you not because of you look, although you are absolutely stunning today and every day.... "

He continues on, his words simultaneously searing and refreshing our hearts:

"While those things could be reasons to love you, the reason I love you is simply this: God has placed you in my life and I have been blessed with the incredible opportunity to love you.

I can only love you because God loved us enough to send His Son so that He could redeem us, cleanse us, adopt us and allow us to come together in love under Him

I love you because God first loved me and you."

Wow. Those are words created by His holy spirit.

And then, driving to the airport with Sunny, Preston, Carrie and Roshini, tears were in my eyes as I heard testimony after testimony about God's love and provision.

Preston's story particularly pierced my heart.

He was at a bible study and the leader had just asked each of them to write down all their sins. It stirs up a shameful, frantic fear, "He's going to make us read them out loud and confess them to each other!" Preston writes down a few select sins, dreading what the leader has to say next.

Time passes, dread builds. Finally, the leader speaks:

"Now, take that sheet and rip it up."

Preston laughed, "I wanted to write down everything at that point!"

What an example of Christ's love. His divine, perfect love that forgives all of our sins when we confess them. His blood that literally washes us clean, white as snow. His grace that recognizes the evil in our hearts, yet chooses to love us anyway.

It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Therefore, since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from wrath through Him! (Romans 5:8)

I remember going home, writing down all the sins, all the sins I could think of on a piece of paper. Then, looking to Christ, I ripped that paper up. I tore that paper to shreds. I threw the shreds away.

It doesn't define me. Christ's love defines me. Instead of the shame we feel when we look at the ugliness within us, there is joy as we accept His divine, perfect love and forgiveness.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

Whoever believes in him is not condemned. (John 3:15-21)

So to end this five-part testimony of God's divine love, it seems fitting to end with a few of Tim's final vows to Janessa:

"I will choose to love you because that is what God has called me to do. As God gives me the strength to do so, I will continually strive to love you with the same kind of love Christ has for the church, learning to lay myself down for your sake.

As Christ as my example, I will strive to love you as selflessly as He loves us"