Monday, August 03, 2015

What Does a Bride Want?


The church longs . . . but

What are we longing for?


The day of His appearing
The New Jerusalem
An end to all pain

… yes. But why is the church that longs described as the bride?  What does a bride long for?  True, she wants to be taken care of, be healthy, be provided for.  And true, she wants to be rescued from evil, if she is being abused.  So keeping our words on spiritual plains, we say the church longs for the end of persecution, the end of wickedness, the end of sorrow, the end of pain, the fulfillment of promises. And yes, these are all part of the longing.

But a true bride longs for something much simpler . . .

. . . and it’s right for us to identify this basic reason that God calls the church a bride. He’s a physical God, and He uses practical imagery. There are other words that describe what marriage means, so when He says bride, He’s actually saying something and it’s not as complicated as we think.  (We get all philosophical talking about covenant imagery and blood and Nascar – sorry, just threw that in to see if you were paying attention! Grin!).

Our culture is bleary-eyed with sex, and it messes with our understanding of the church as bride. People think “sex” when they think of weddings and receptions, when they think of love and relationships. Christians are occasionally more guilty of this than the world, for it’s more likely they haven’t been prematurely reveling in the sexual benefits of marriage. Though a healthy woman definitely desires sexual intimacy with the groom, the true core of her desire is altogether more eternal and transcendent.

A bride longs for unending communion and companionship with an OTHER who adores, and who she adores. 

That is what she wants.

So when God’s description of the church (men and women both) is bride, He is actually saying something deep about Himself, about our hearts, about our future relationship with Him, and about what our ultimate driving force truly is … to know and be known — it’s a two-sided exploration, a two-sided delight.

I stood at the women’s side of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, watching the sincerity and grief as ladies of every age leaned gently from their hips, pressing against the air toward the wall as if rocking, hiding their eyes in the pages of worn prayer books. Before them stood immovable, impenetrable, ton-sized stone, hewn several millennia ago, separating them from the Temple Mount where the presence of God had rested. And they cried, seeking God there, up against the rock.  But the Lord whispered to me, breaking and opening my heart at the same time,

“I want them inside.”

He desired their presence on the inside of that realm called kingdom and the heart of God. ...their presence with Him in the room where the Throne sits, not outside at the Wall. He desired them as individuals, as women, as His people, as heirs of His promises.

How they wept on the outside; how He desired they be on the inside. And between these two parties was the rock — impenetrable rock — made of something so simple and dissolvable it shocks: unbelief. 

The answer to the heaviest, most effective barrier of the world — the barrier actually between death and life — is like the answers to most of the barriers we encounter in life. The answer is light, simple, easy.

Believe.

The most wounded woman or withdrawn man can be whole with as little effort as those women could have passed through the rock, into the Presence of God. Believe My love. The hardest things are the simplest.

What keeps us from that two-sided exploration of each other, that two-sided delight of bride and God?  (And by trickle-down effect, the possibility of two-sided delight in other men and women, for once a heart is opened by God’s love, it is open to others as well.) 

Believe His Love.


He calls us bride.  It’s not a positional word, it’s a relational one.  Long for Him freely – He wouldn’t use the word if He didn’t mean for us to be it.