Once upon a time…
This is the opening of many fairy tales that paints unrealistic expectations of love, romance and happiness. The cliché imagery of a female protagonist, a charming prince or some knight in shining armour, a magical companion and an antagonist, all sweeps to mind at the hearing of ‘once upon a time’.
It goes without saying that the opening of a story with these four words can either make you feel a sense of nostalgia or it can simply annoy every bone and fibre of your being.
The story begins with ‘once upon a time’, so that there will be a ‘happily ever after’ by the end. What does the happily ever after involve? Mostly it is centred around a maiden and prince charming vowing to love each other forever.
It’s easy to assume that the most important vows made in life is when a person stands on an aisle to say “I do” to a life long partner. However everybody has vowed to something eternal in the presence of a cloud of witnesses. It is either a vow leading to eternal joy or a vow leading to eternal torment.
The desire to walk before an altar with another and exchange vows is trendy, attractive, desirable and glorious.
Yet, the most important vow ever made were not from the lips of earthen vessels but rather from the lips of an immortal Being.
On our part, the time we had to answer “I do” was when we were asked, “do you accept Jesus as your Lord and personal saviour?”
On His part there were more pressing vows to never leave nor forsake us; to never lose His own to another; to allow nothing to separate us from His love; to redeem us from destruction; to empower and strengthen us – His vows were endless. As it stands, He holds true to His word always, never failing.
He did not need to say “I do” in order to fulfill His vow, but rather He said “I am” in order that we may know the vow is not apart from Him.
Again, on our part, our faith is shaky, our belief wavers but He remains true in every part.
This is the confidence we have – that our relationship with Him, does not stand on temporal promises, neither is it based on words from deceptive human hearts and lying tongues.
We may forget from time to time, the moment we stood before God, accepting His love for us and declaring our love for Him – when the whole host of heaven stood as witnesses of our confession.
We may indeed forget our vow to Him at difficult or uncertain times, however we have a greater Witness in our heart, who reminds us of not the love we have for Him but rather the love He has for us.
Our love for Him may be temporal, yet our relationship with Him is grounded on His vow not ours. His vow is His guaranteed word, and because the Word is the eternal solid rock on which we stand, we know that we have something beyond happily ever after.
We have forever and ever.