Monday, June 8, 2009

The Bridegroom

My husband and I attended a marriage conference this weekend. It was our first and it left us grateful and encouraged. The one thing that we have been taught in our marriage, the hard way I would like to add, is that the relationship with the Father must be right for all other things to be right. We have to be centered in Him for the abundance that is required for a healthy, deep relationship. Prior to getting this lesson I lived as a skimmer. I would skim the top of my life. I had just enough resource to touch on each item of my day, including my husband. So, each day, everyone and everything got touched, but nothing got handled. I just didn’t want to live like that…and God IS abundance, so we are guaranteed enough to handle everything. This weekend, this life lesson has been affirmed in a big way.

Yesterday when we were driving to the conference, it was like 80 degrees. We had the top down driving almost an hour; and I had plenty of sunscreen and a hat, of course. My husband made a mixed CD of songs that made him think of me. It was SO romantic. So, there I was, top down, sun and wind, love songs and my husband holding my hand. I started thinking that this is such an amazing prayer to the Father. He made every one of these emotions. He wants for me to feel that depth of satisfaction and longing for Him. I just reveled in it. I thought that I knew everything when I got married (as with many other points in my life), and this moment put me in wonder because the day of my wedding was just a shadow compared to the love that I have for my husband today. The creek is now a river and I look forward to the ocean. Such is the love of my Father.

The word that would explain the feeling that I have for God today is anticipation. That is what we as women long for, right? I desire anticipation for when my husband gets home. Wouldn’t that be an exciting way to live everyday? Guess what? That is completely up to us because that comes from the abundance of God. I anticipate the next special moment of love songs and sunscreen, whatever it looks like. I anticipate seeing what amazing thing God will do in our lives. This morning, I was reading The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, which is the picture of anticipation.

Matthew 25:1-13, NRSV, Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids  took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids  got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

I am convinced that of all of the parables, this one can speak to the heart of a woman. Isn’t it exciting? These are ten bridesmaids, or virgins, whatever translation that you are using. They are going to meet their bridegroom. I remember my wedding day. I was just about tuckered out by the time the whole thing started. I remember thinking, “I will never make it down that aisle without passing out.” I am not a fainter, either. I would have considered that a sad little end for the footage that was being shot, but I was seriously considering it. It was so stressful and we had taken pictures all day in my very beautiful and very heavy dress. By the time I was arm and arm with my dad, I was desperate. I turned to him and said, “Is there anything that you can think of to say?” He said, “Nope”…not helpful.

So, I was weary and defeated…no help in sight. Then my dad and I started to walk on cue, we rounded the bend and over the bridge, and there he was. My handsome fiancĂ© was waiting for me on the front of the aisle. Talk about anticipation. I remember thinking, “If I just keep my eyes on him, I will make it”. I stayed on my feet only to get to his arms. I am still glad for those wedding pictures. The only thing that I remember is hanging on to the presence of my bridegroom. I don’t remember a single other thing.

So when I read about these ten ladies, I am there with those girls who remembered their oil. They trimmed their lamps and remembered their lipstick so that they could refresh before Mr. Bridegroom showed up. When you get that far…when you are about to walk down the aisle for the moment that you have been waiting for your entire life, and some girls says, “Hold up, I am not ready, I forgot my lipstick, can I borrow yours?” You don’t even bat an eye…you leave her. There would be no second thoughts, am I right? Goodbye, and have a nice time in the gift shop finding the right shade. Then you run off to the wedding feast, and your bridegroom is going to shut the door and celebrate your anticipation. He will fulfill it. Amen, sisters.

My husband made this a living picture for me this weekend. When I celebrated him, he just kept pointing me to our Father. What a gift! I can think of nothing more sacred than the ground of my marriage. This parable is no mistake. We are to look forward to the coming of Jesus like we would our wedding day. That is how this life will end, before the throne of our bridegroom. We need to be making the right investments before we go into the wedding feast.

Some of you are lucky to anticipate finally waking up today. We can start small, though. Anticipate those few moments of prayer with Him. Anticipate reading His word, even if you just reread the parable. Think of Him as the ultimate bridegroom when you enter into your solitude with Him. He desires to fill us completely, never failing. That is pretty stinkin’ romantic.

Father, thank you for the heart that you created so specifically for a woman. Thank you for letting us appreciate the moment of your arrival to us today. Come to us and speak to our hearts, in gentleness and tenderness.

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