411/444 Healing from Infidelity: Sabbath and the Gospel of Consumption
413/444 Healing from Infidelity: Grace Work

412/444 Healing From Infidelity: Encounter God’s Grace as His Beloved

He will rejoice over you with singing – Our call to be His Beloved

If you remember this past Friday’s post about Being Known as an aspect of rest, well, that concept bleeds into this section. As I said on Friday, we are ‘the one the Lord loves’. We are His Beloved.

We just celebrated our son starting a new career with about 10 of his good friends. We set a beautiful fall table, prepared some of his favorite foods, gorged ourselves on cheesecake, raspberry truffle brownies, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and bunny tracks ice cream, played a game (the girls won!) and spent some time speaking words of encouragement as he embarks on this new leg of his journey. As I see this 25 year young man sitting before me, I also see the baby boy that I held in my arms. That baby boy was precious as could be. Light brown wispy hair, precious little nose, little button lips, chunky little arms and legs that wrapped around me when he was tired. I was fortunate enough to have a family heirloom nursery rocker given to me by my mother that was the perfect size for his room. Every night I would cradle that precious bundle in my arms, alight on the cane seat of the ancient wood and begin rocking him back and forth, back and forth. As I rocked him, I would rejoice over him with singing. I sang lullabies and sweet little songs I made up and hum when I didn’t know the words or when there were no words. My heart almost burst with love for this sweet soul. Well, my friend, this is how God sees you and me. As this sweet soul that is being cradled in His arms as He rejoices over you with singing.

I have felt the warmth of His embrace and heard His songs of joy and love as He has redeemed my story with His endless Grace. He has forever seen me as His beautiful daughter, with the light brown wispy hair, less than perfect nose, and soul that wilts when I am tired. Even when I have been the Prodigal Daughter. I am His Beloved. Even when I have squandered the gifts He has given me. I am His Beloved. Even when I ran far, far away from Him. I am His Beloved. Even when I have forgotten that I am His. I am His Beloved.

I love that He doesn’t wait for us to act as His Beloved before He loves us.

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah! Romans 5:6-11

I spoke at a retreat a few years ago about being His Beloved. After sharing these verses and encouraging the women to see themselves as His Beloved, I asked them to turn to one another and say the name of the person they were paired with followed by “You are God’s Beloved.” It was a beautiful sight and sound to see and hear a hundred women sharing this boundless truth. I was standing on the stage in my rolled up jeans and t-shirt as they finished when one of the women, lovely Belinda, yells from the depths of her soul “Ann, You are God’s Beloved!” It was more than I could bear. My floodgates opened and I began to sob openly from the stage as precious Hilary made her way to the stage to hold me in the raw gratitude I felt for the truth of that statement. I hadn’t always felt it, and truth be told there are many days that I still don’t feel it. But in that moment, as I was using the Gifts He had given me, and was running toward Him with other women following close behind, He was reminding me who I was as His Beloved. He was pouring His Grace over me through these women who were His instruments to rejoice over me with singing.

So let him love you where you are. Have you run? Have you squandered? Have you forgotten? Believe you are His Beloved. Because as His Beloved, you can more fully reach into the depths of your soul to accept His forgiveness, which is our next section we will move into tomorrow.

Being the beloved is our identity. It is the name by which God knows us and the way He relates to us.  ~Brennan Manning