Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bride

written in 2010

She is arrayed in exuberant, delicate foldings of pure white. Her dainty veil tenderly kisses her cheeks and cascades down her back. Perfect pearls and intricate, shimmery embroidering dance upon her gown, creating glimmering rays of light softly emanating from her presence. These shimmers harmonize with the romantic blush that increasingly plays upon her smiling cheeks. As she walks down the aisle, her joyful eyes are ever upon the one who heroically captivated and tenderly holds her heart. He stands at the end of the end of the aisle, his strong form patiently confident and tall. Yet, tears softly glisten in his ever-focused eyes- tears, not of sorrow, but of unfailing sacrificial love. He beholds and anticipates the one his heart chose and pursued- his radiant bride.   
 I too am a bride. I once was abhorred and cast away, naked and bare. I had nothing to offer- nothing on me, nor in me; my hands clasped only filth. Yet, in my destitution and defilement, One compassionately beheld me. He proclaimed to me, “Live!” and gathered my wretched form to his affectionate breast. He cleansed me with water, removing all of my stains. He wrapped me in exquisite clothing of fine linen and silk, glorious garments of glittering snow. He adorned me with magnificent ornaments and lavished upon me countless jewels that glittered brighter than the stars on the black night sky. He made my beauty perfect through the splendor He bestowed upon me! He chose my foul, loathsome form (Ezek. 16:1-14 English Standard Version). Alluring me and whispering tenderly to me, He captivated my heart and betrothed me to Himself in steadfast love and faithfulness (Hos. 2:14, 19-20) He betrothed me to Himself forever, and I became His. I became Christ’s bride.   
 Just as a bride must do with her earthly bridegroom, I must fervently guard my relationship with my heavenly Bridegroom from harmful distractions and spend time in intimate communication with Him so that our blossoming relationship is able to effloresce.   
 Daily, my relationship with my Love is endangered by my tendency to become distracted by the flashy, empty attractions of this world. By allowing my gaze to drift to these lures, I become captured by their glamor and fervently chase after them. Though they may alleviate my thirsty soul for a time, their beauty rapidly proves fading, and their promises, weightless. I am reminded that only my Love is infinitely lovely and able to quench the powerful yearnings of my parched soul. When I focus my eyes on Who He is, my heart is enthralled by His incomprehensible beauty and worth, and I am not persuaded by the vain glimmers of the enticements surrounding me. However, the allurements of the world are not the only thing that my heart lusts after. In my stupidity, I stubbornly turn from the overflowing table of my Bridegroom’s abundant goodness and blessings. I depart from His cascading “river of delights” (Ps. 36:8) and return to my former state. Sitting in the dust, my hands clasping grime, I hold fast to what is abhorred by my Groom. However, He is forgiving! For when I humbly release my prized refuse and run back to Him, His strong arms enfold me once more. Once all distractions, from this present world and my past, are removed, our relationship is able to flourish.  
In order for this to take place, our communication must be mutual. I must pour my heart out to Him and allow Him to speak to me through His Word. When I talk to Him, I need to tell Him how worthy He is of everything I am. I should praise Him for His faithfulness and unfailing love toward me and extol Him because He is transcendent and completely separate from all the earth that encompasses me. I should also recount to Him how undeserving I am of His grace, thanking Him for His abounding goodness and favor and for His wondrous works toward me. I must unfold my innermost heart and reveal to my trustworthy Bridegroom all of my longings, hopes, burdens, cares, and fears; for I know that He cares for me (1 Pet. 5:7) Then, I must still my heart, lay at His feet, and fix my gaze upon His gentle face as I listen to Him speak His Words to me. They are always what I need. Sometimes, they are gentle streams of comfort. Other times, they are stern, piercing reproofs followed by correction, but they are always enveloped in His boundless love. This fellowship between my Bridegroom and me should occur at every moment of the day- as the sun’s rays softly glisten through my window, wave goodnight to me from behind a hill, or play hide-and-seek behind the moon in the middle of the night.   
 As the heart of a hopeful young bride, I never want my love for heavenly Bridegroom to become monotonous or dutiful. I want to long for Him as the weary fawn thirsts after the whispering water brook (Ps. 42:1-2). I want to honestly proclaim with the Psalmist that one day spent in His Presence is better than a thousand spent elsewhere! (Ps. 84:10) I desire to tenderly nourish and cultivate our love so that it blossoms into a beautiful flower that spreads fragrance and beauty to a hopeless world. This gardening will only occur as I fervently guard our love from the pernicious weeds of distraction and provide it with the essential water and sunlight of precious communion.

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