This is a true story (and yes, I have permission to share it):
He stands before his bride with a letter in his shaking hands and reads with trembling voice. Words of love and commitment. Of "no matter what, I'm all in!" His heart, his life, their future is in his hands and voice, set before her as a promise. Just like it was on that first day when the covenant was made. When his voice rang out with promise and blessing and love and commitment--"no matter what happens, I'm all in." No matter what you do, I will be faithful. I'm yours. This is what the letter he holds says. I know. I have read that letter. I know it like it was written to me.
His bride listens. But she doesn't believe the words of the letter. Or doesn't care. In any case has no interest in such a covenant, even if she once did. She has turned her back a long time since. Turned her heart away, and her life as well. She has moved away from the promise given to her, the promise she once thought was meant for her. So she says no to this letter of love. She lets it fall to the ground unheeded.
This is a true story. The story of a man and a woman, yes. It actually happened this week. And one way or another, I suppose it's been happening in marriages since there were marriages on this earth.
But it's also our story, because it's the story of God and His people. Yes, this is the picture of what happened between God and the people of Israel. God made a covenant with Abraham. "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Genesis 12: 2-3
"As for me, this is my covenant with you: you shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham...I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you...and I will be their God." Genesis 17: 4-5, 6-8
Over and over God repeated this covenant. No matter how often His people were stiff-necked and disobedient, no matter how many times they turned away, He continually said, "I am your God." I'm all in. But no matter what He did or said, there were always some who chose not to obey, return His love. Often (like in the desert) it was an entire generation who let that covenant fall, unheeded. Like stone tablets, that covenant fell (and still falls) on the dirt and broke.
So He sent prophets to tell the people of His love, allowed the people Kings when they asked, basically bent over backwards, sideways...
And finally, He came all the way down to earth in human-form to keep His own covenant. And still people chose against Him. Some followed, of course. More didn't. They yelled against Him until His Covenant-made-flesh was put to death. And He allowed it. He knew there was no other way to keep that covenant. To win back His bride. To allow Himself to be put to death. He was after our lives, our God was.
We have all been the faithless bride. We have "all like sheep gone astray, we have all turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on HIM the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53: 6)
Human relationships fail. This is a reality of a fallen planet. Sadly, brokenheartedly, I know this to be true. But it's also true that--more importantly!--we fail in our relationships with Him.
The good news, the eternal news is that He keeps His covenant with us. He died to keep His covenant. He will never leave or forsake us. No matter where you are at this moment, no matter whether you're living life to the fullest or have been handed that life in a basket like it's only dirty laundry, to HIM you are precious.
And that's a true story.