Ephesians 3:14-15 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives it name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory . . .”           

Observation: Ever the good pedagogue, Paul is teaching principles necessary for building God’s body in Christ Jesus.

Application:  Paul suggests that there is a heavenly family comprised of a Father and Son who model what our earthly family is supposed to be like, a place of safety and security. When we go inside and close the door, it ought to be a place of great relationships and mutually supportive commitment. If our earthly family is to be those things, how much more should we be at peace and secure within our own skin, our own mental and physical bodies?

What happens, though, when this shell that ought to protect us, turns out instead to be fighting against us? Illness invades, and our very personhood is turned upside down and we have to begin dealing with questions of unwelcome loss—self-identity, vision for our lives, marital intimacy. Unfulfilled expectations press in from every direction.

I think of people who get the “wasting disease,” the bacterial infection where flesh is gradually eaten and limbs must be progressively amputated to save life itself— that’s what it felt like to have a dying spouse. And in the midst of such profound loss, I cried out for rescue, and heard nothing. “Is anybody there?” The heavens were silent.

But gradually the Lord bought Scriptures to mind, reminders that His own Son died, and that His death was part of His plan for my redemption in the first place. He says there was joy set before Him, and I want that for me. 

My desire is to be so completely at one with Him that I’ll be seated with Him at the wedding banquet at the end of the age. But to get there requires that I first go through loss. Massive loss. A complete stripping of all I thought was important so I can embrace the one thing that God says is truly important: to love Him with my whole heart; that I would have no other gods before Him.

Prayer: Father, through my wife’s illness and death I began to understand and to love the Cross in a whole new way. I see that it is an indispensable tool in Your passionate pursuit of a bride for your dear Son. You have a plan to fill the earth with voluntary lovers of Jesus, and I want desperately to be among them. Your strategy is that not only must He endure the Cross for my sake, but so must I. Thank You, Lord, for Your cleansing blood and Your brokenness on my behalf. I see now that it is through my own experience of the Cross that I can enter into His life. Thank You setting such inexpressible joy before me.