By Nicole VanGelder
I fell in love today. It’s okay, my husband knows. In fact, he’s in love too. We can’t help it. You see, it all started with our Father. He loved her first. Really, it was only a matter of time until it happened, because it is His bride that caught my eye today. Actually, she didn’t just catch my eye, she stole my heart. Yes, I admit it. I love the church.
There. I said it. I love the church. Love her. Not just my church–although they are certainly my favorites! But, the church. The world wide body of Christ. Those that have gone before, are currently here and even those that are coming after. The entire thing. Those that worship like me and those that don’t. Those that speak my language and those that don’t (and I don’t just mean english!). Those that are new to the journey and those that have lived lifetimes with the Lord. Those that are struggling on their journey and those that inspire the world with their simple and pure love for Christ. You get the point…I love the church! All of it. Everyone.
This isn’t a completely new thing. I’ve had moments of infatuation with her before, but today something new happened in my heart. Something that I don’t even know exactly how to explain. (But, lucky for you, I’m going to try!)
I was in worship this morning at my church. It was spectacular, like usual. But, there wasn’t anything different about it. Then suddenly, there was this moment…this moment when God breathed on me in a different way. Or maybe, I just connected with His heart in a new way. I don’t know exactly what it was or why it happened. All I know is that suddenly my heart was flooded with love for my Father’s bride. I couldn’t help but celebrate her beauty. I was in awe of her love. I marveled at her unlimited potential. I discovered a portion of the joy that the Father feels about her every day.
What I felt was amazing. It filled me with such joy and light and love. It changed me–perhaps even changed my life. Yet, I know that it was only a small portion of what Father feels. His love for His bride is unsurpassed. It is like something we have never known. It is the desperate love of One that is willing to do anything, pay any price, to pursue His great love–with an unrelenting, never ending, all consuming love. If you have ever read the Bible, you know that this has been the story from the beginning. It hasn’t changed. The greatest love story ever written.
Why am I sharing this with you? Am I trying to inspire you? Perhaps. Do I want you to feel loved (because you are a precious part of His bride!)? Certainly. Mostly, though, I want the way you see the church to change. Because once you see the church through His eyes, once you see the beauty and value that He sees, you won’t be able to help but to love the way He does. And, once that happens, everything changes.
Once that happens, the church becomes a thing of beauty and value, worthy of your time, energy, resources and affection. Once that happens, your heart will swell in protection when you hear others bad-mouthing, neglecting or abusing the church. Once that happens, you will begin to speak the good that the Father sees. And, once that happens…well. Life will never be the same. The world will never be the same. Once that happens the church will finally be free to rise up in glory, to leave its past tragedies behind, its shortcomings can be pushed aside. (Because, yes, I know the church isn’t perfect. I know it hasn’t been perfect. I’m not naive to these things.) But, once the church begins to believe in…well, itself…then it can finally become what the Lord intends it to be. The Lord is building His church. He loves His church. In these days, perhaps more then ever, we need to love His church, too. Then it can finally be free to enter into its destiny.
I fell in love today. If you haven’t already, I invite you to join me. Just be warned: something tells me this love is not fickle. The adventure it beckons you on is not safe. But, it is very, very good. Who’s with me?
read more at www.nicolevangelder.com!