Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
This is a passage that I am so familiar with I have read over it many many times. However, this morning as I was reading The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper something new struck me. In chapter 35 Piper makes the connection in this passage between the husband and Christ:
"Husbands are not Christ. But they are called to be like him. And the specific point of likeness is the hunsband's readiness to suffer for his wife's good without threatening or abusing her. This includes suffering to protect her from any outside forces that could harm her, as well as suffering dissapointments or abuses even from her. This kind of love is possible because Christ died for both husband and wife. Their sins are forgiven. Neither needs to make the other suffer for sins. Christ has borne that suffering. Now as two sinful forgiven people we can return good for evil."
Now what stood out to me most in this passage was how the husband is not only called to suffer to protect his wife from any potential harm, but he is called to suffer dissapointments and abuses that come from the very person he is suffering to protect! Now when I was thinking about this even more I began to see this example of Christ-like love in Lew. And the more I thought about it the more I thought about the example Lew is to me of Christ. It's amazing how I can get familiar, even comfortable with how gracious Lew can be at times, but I am praying even now that God will give me a fresh awareness of how undeserving I am of any mercy at all. Lew has stuck by my side graciously loving me through some difficult times, he has loved me when I am almost impossible to love, and this is even before we are man and wife. He has gone beyond what is comfortable in order to obey God, serve me, and display Christ in his actions. And the result of this? I get to see and understand more the love of Christ. Through Lew's earthly example, though it is still imperfect in some ways, is an example of Christ's sacrificial love for me. It is an example of the way that Christ suffered for me, a sinner, to the point of death in order that I may gain his righteousness. Christ has suffered all the dissapointments and abuses from me past present and future. And ultimately it is Christ's suffering and sacrifice that makes it possible for Lew to love me and sacrifice for me. What a beautiful display!
Lew my love, I am so grateful for God's grace in your life! Thank you for showing Christ to me.
"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."