I was exploring a book I just received a few days ago from my church, and I stumbled upon this quote:
St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should say to their wives: I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us. . . . I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.
I was blown away. I've often written about the love that a husband must have for a wife, but I've never really put it to terms with exactly how powerful that love should be. In Ephesians a well known verse is often quoted, and it's very apropos to this concept: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25). That's a powerful statement! Just as Christ loved the Church!
How much did Christ love the Church? More than life itself. He placed our concerns, our lives, above His own. He went to the cross for OUR wrongs, not His own. I'm supposed to love my wife that much! So much that I want to place her love above all earthly things! Imagine how great a love we must have for it to be 'bitter and painful” if we disagree, or if there are hard feelings?
How many times have I annoyed my wife or done something that hurt her feelings and gone to bed as if nothing had happened. Yet, that's not the man that God wants me to be! He wants me to be so concerned with her that my own sleep would mean nothing if she were angry with me, to the point where I would instead be concerned and approach life with the knowledge that she comes first.
Now I've heard it argued that man will not be married in Heaven, and Jesus even affirms this with his words in Matthew chapter 22. That doesn't make the quote above any less poignant! In fact, it makes us realize how much higher than us God's ways are. You see in Heaven, the kind of love I'm supposed to have for my wife here on earth, is the kind of love I will have for everyone! Imagine a place where everyone loves everyone so much, that we put them first! No one will be last, because everyone will serve everyone.
Now imagine if we could do that right here on earth? If we could humble ourselves and put others before us. If we could learn to love so freely that God's “will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Till everyone serves each other, and everyone comes first; no one comes last.