I have a confession to make. I used to be an avid Star Wars fan. I watched the first three movies countless times. And to show the world just how big a geek I was, I even had a few action figures displayed around my cubicle when I used to work in an office. Beginning in 1999, a new trilogy was scheduled for release. I was so desperate to get a glimpse of this highly-anticipated movie that I stood in line for hours to watch a movie that I did not really want to see only because the exclusive trailer for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was expected to play there. Now, at that time, I had seen many sequels in my life … many were not very good. But, the latest Star Wars trilogy was not a sequel but a prequel. Why would anyone want to watch something that you already know the ending to? What is intriguing about a prequel is that you gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the original story when you discover the chain of events that led up to it.
There is a prequel in eternity past. A story that took place before our own story. Star Wars and other great stories pale in comparison to this. Though we don’t know exactly what took place and what was said, the counsel within the Godhead resulted in the redemption of unworthy sinners. I know my present reality: that I was a rebellious sinner saved by grace and that I will, one day, stand complete before my Redeemer. The event that brought about this present reality is nothing short of amazing but for its complete revelation, I will have to wait. For now, I can only imagine.
Recently, I read what one author imagined. Though what took place before the foundation of the world is, I’m sure, far greater than this author’s words, the story moved me nonetheless, as I realized how much God loves me. I hope this encourages you to love others and love God more.
Join with me now as I imagine this situation as it might have been in heaven. Once, before the beginning of time, there was a great, honorable, wise, and benevolent king who had a son he loved immeasurably. “My son,” the king said, “I know that you are happy in my presence and that together we share more joy than has ever been or will ever be known by any other. We are perfectly content in our companionship with each other and with our servants, but I would like you to know the joy of being a husband to a bride. I have chosen out a bride for you and will present her to you as my gift of love for you. Will you have the bride that I have chosen?”
“Yes, father,” the son replied, “I would delight to share our joy and love with a bride. If it pleases you, I am willing to go and get this bride and bring her back here, to our majestic palace, to celebrate our marriage. I’m delighted to think how your honor and greatness will be displayed to her! I’m joyously contemplating the sound of your great name being praised in our marriage celebration!”
“My dear son, I will indeed send you to get her. But,” the father proceeded gravely, “the bride I have chosen for you is our enemy. Right now she is a rebel against us, son, and she hates us. She has transgressed our holy laws and is awaiting execution. She is not beautiful or loving yet, but we will cleanse and purify her and dress her in garments that befit a queen. Because of my great power and love, she will be gloriously transformed when I am finished with her. She will be the delight of our eyes and will bear our resemblance in her heart. But she is presently a slave in the kingdom of the Hateful One and she loves it there. She is a traitor and despises us. Also, if you go and get her, you will have to pay the penalty for her offenses. You know that I cannot make her ours unless my righteous laws and judgments have been carried out.”
The father stopped and looked lovingly into his son’s eyes. “Would you bear the judgment that she deserves? Would you uphold our holy reputation and love this one I have chosen for you? Would you love her so much that you would be willing to be emptied and become like her, a slave, and then even be humbled to the point of a shameful death in her place? Will you carry out all my decrees and laws perfectly and still be punished as an evildoer? Will you love my name and our future joy with her this much?”
“How wonderful are all your ways, dear father!” the son exclaimed. “Yes, it will be my joy to know that I am pleasing you in this way. When the time is right, I will delight in this, your will.”
“Then I will engrave upon your palms the name of your beloved queen for all time. And although your sacrifice will be great, the joy that we’ll have, when your bride joins us here in our home, will make this, your ultimate sacrifice, worthwhile.”
(Used by permission from Elyse Fitzpatrick, Helper by Design, Chicago, Illinois, Moody Publishers, 2003, ch. 8.)
(Photo credit 1: Paul Mayne)
(Photo credit 2: Waiting For The Word)