I had the privilege of giving the following story-blessing at the wedding of two of my dearest friends. May you savor the goodness of this repetition of the “good news” about Jesus like a honey cough drop rolling around in your mouth when your throat is sore, tasting sweet again and again and soothing wherever the ache is, small or great.
The blessing at the end of the first wedding day was one of the most powerful sentences ever spoken. The same voice that had said, “let there be light”—and there was light—spoke this blessing with the same level of authority. The man had been created in God’s image and God had said that it was “not good” for the man to be alone, so He created a “helpmeet suitable for him” and brought her down that first aisle of Eden’s trees on that first Wedding Day. And after He had done that, the Creator looked at all that He had made, from the galaxies down to the solar system down to the earth and the sea, and all the plants and animals in them, and all that humans were, and He declared, “It is very good.” Which means, There is no difference between what you are and what you should be. You are all that God has ever dreamed for you to be, perfectly unfolding to delight His heart. You are good. The word “should” was never needed or used, because the way things “should” be was completely synonymous with the way they were.
That changed. In one terrible instant, the first bride and groom disobeyed God and did something different than what they should do and became something different than what they should be, and all creation fell with them and the gap appeared between the way things should be, their design in the heart of God, and the way they were. We should love one another, but we don’t. We should trust God, but we don’t. We should obey Him but we don’t. And the gap between God’s dream and creation’s reality widened and widened and widened with every passing day, until every human being feels it every minute of every day; we wake up feeling the weight of the burden of not being and doing all that we should and trying to close that gap and only seeing it widen further.
And then, Jesus came.
That Voice of Approval had not rung out again until He did.
But when He did, Heaven opened and the same Voice that had spoken stars into existence said again,
“You are good.
You are My Beloved Son in whom I AM well pleased.
You are everything I ever dreamed and wanted, desired and designed for you to be.
You are good.
There is no difference between who You are and who You should be.
Your heart can be fully at rest.”
The Beloved Son knew how much all of creation was groaning to hear Those Words from That Mouth, and He was dying to give it to them. So He did. He died. He died for all the things that should not have been done but were, from that first couple’s tragic honeymoon mistake until now. He died and rose again and gave everyone who received Him the right to become the accepted beloved child of God like He was and then join Him in His project of restoring all things.
The day that He finishes will be the final glorious wedding day, when King Jesus is united with His bride, the congregation of all who believed in Him, and it is written,
“Then the end will come, when Jesus hands over the kingdom to God the Father… so that God may be All in All” (1 Corinthians 15: 24, 28).
In other words, on that final perfect wedding day, Jesus the Bridegroom Son will kneel before His Father and give Him the keys and say,
“Father, I got everything back!”
And then That Voice will ring out over all the galaxies once again, proclaiming that God sees everything He ever made and behold, it all is Very Good. And the word “should” will never be needed again for all eternity, it will again be a superfluous word, because once again you can describe the way things should be simply by describing the way they are.
And today, on this wedding day, as on all wedding days between that First Wedding Day in Eden and that Last Wedding Day in Heaven, I know you still feel the gap between the way things should be and the way they are. The way you should love each other and the way you do. The way you relationships with God and each other should be and the way they are. The way the world around you, the suffering and injustice you will see in the lives of the people you will meet as you minister together, the way it all should be and the way it is.
Because Jesus paid for that gap, which is called “sin”, but He is still in the process of closing it. And you are partnering with Him, and with all those seeking His kingdom and His right-eousness first, as I know you are, at the cost of anything and everything else. But as you do so, I give you the blessing Jesus received and died to share with you:
You are His Father’s beloved daughter and son,
And He is already well-pleased with you.
Everything is proceeding according to plan.
You are what you should be.