The Bride Makes Herself Ready
This past July 31, 2015, we had a wedding in our family. You know, there is nothing quite like the anticipation of a wedding. A certain sense of expectation and excitement fills the air from the moment the couple becomes engaged right up to the event itself. For some reason, that awareness and the accompanying excitement are never far from your thinking.
It begins with the big items like selecting the venue. Will it be large enough to hold all the family and friends who will be on the invitation list? Once that decision is made there is the important question of who will officiate, will he be willing and available? What will he require in terms of pre-marital counseling of the bride and groom? This is a time to consider strongly the requirements of marriage and the things God has to say about marriage.
Of course there are thoughts about the brides chosen colors, picking the flowers that will be carried and will adorn the venue, filling it with the color, fragrance and beauty of the day.
But I'm sure that everyone would agree that the ultimate focus is on The Bride, and how she is adorned and how she has prepared herself for this most special day of her life.
Several months before the wedding, the bride, the bride’s mother and soon to be mother-in-law, both grandmothers, as well as the bridesmaids had a fun day together in Seattle watching the betrothed try on wedding dress after wedding dress. Can you imagine the excitement when she walked out in a dress that caused us all to exclaim, "That's the one!" She knew it and so did we. All of a sudden she wore the "glow" that comes to a young woman who is in love and is preparing for the most wonderful moment of her life. The moment when she will stand before the one she adores and give herself to him for the rest of her life. We all saw it. We all knew that Olivia had found the one dress that would enhance her look and the feeling of love for her groom on her wedding day.
As the months and days draw near to the date chosen for the marriage to take place, there is a flurry of luncheons, bridal showers, special dinners, and gift selections. It's as though all her family and friends are drawn into this special moment of Dustin's and Olivia's. A great support system surrounds them like a great cloud of witnesses, happily cheering them onward.
And then the day arrives with its own incredible burst of activity. Hair, make-up, dresses, guys standing around in tuxes looking handsome, while girls are a twitter with the demands of the day leading up to "the moment."
The music begins and something that no one can be prepared for is signaled from the Heavenlies. A marriage is about to take place - the joining of a man and a woman in Holy Matrimony, His Holy plan from the beginning of time.
The strains of the music swell as it calls the bride and her father to step forward in all of their glory. Slowly she begins to walk forward on the arm of her father. For me, this is the moment that is closest to what we might feel as we walk towards our Heavenly Bridegroom, who has stood waiting for us, down through eternity. He has waited with His love and tenderness. He has waited with His offer of everlasting commitment and covenant. I can almost hear Him say, "The Bride Has made herself ready!" I can never hold the tears back. My heart pounds even thinking of that glorious moment, yet to come.
In Hosea, God speaks of His renewed covenant with Israel in the form of wedding vows. He promises a relationship characterized by permanence, right standards, fair treatment, love unfailing, and tenderness.
Hear His words of commitment in Hosea 2:19-20.
"I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice,
In loving kindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know The Lord." (NKJV)
In today's world you often hear that young men are afraid of commitment. Yet, as we read, it was the beginning point and underlying foundation of God's invitation of betrothal to His people. What would follow the commitment would be love, kindness and mercy. What an invitation!
That invitation is open to all. His love and His undying love is being offered to us. The strains of heavenly music are beckoning us all to be prepared. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb has come.
*This is the precious moment when Olivia and Dustin took communion and prayed together as they began their life as Mr. and Mrs.
O Love that will not let me go.
I rest my weary soul in Thee,
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thin ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.