Jesus is coming back for His bride but will we be a bride that is running to Him or away from Him? We’ve all seen the movies where the groom is standing at the alter, so handsome in all of his finery, with the sanctuary decked out in glory for his bride. Beautiful flowers and perhaps candles adorn the alter and he eagerly looks down the aisle in anticipation of the moment his bride will walk forward and join herself to him in Holy matrimony. She’s beautiful, dressed in her gorgeous wedding gown, and she’s walking toward him. You can see her conflict. She knows this man is amazing, but she’s having to force her way down the aisle toward him. She’s afraid and it’s written all over her face.
This should be her happily ever after moment, but it’s not. “He loves you,” you want to shout at the screen in front of you. “Don’t break his heart! What are you afraid of!?”
As she turns and runs, all you can do is hurt for this groom. You see her conflict, the fear that’s driving it all, but the groom always breaks our heart. He knew she was a risk, but she was worth the risk. She’s lovely and amazing and he knows he can make her happy. The problem is that her fear of relinquishing control and getting hurt is the very thing that drives her into the arms of further heartache. As we watch this, we gasp – the poor groom. He’s left to sift through the heartache and rejection he feels after his bride to be flees from fully surrendering her heart to him. This is the woman he loves. She’s so amazing, but she can’t even see it, and she can’t see he isn’t a risk at all. She’s running from all that he wants to offer her. She’s running from him. As we watch, we can all almost physically feel his pain.
When I was standing in the little church back in Fairhope, Alabama and I felt His invitation, I can see now that I was that runaway bride. It felt like a choice between my heavenly love and my earthly (God ordained) love but I was so confused, I couldn’t see. What He really wanted was my heart and for me to join myself to Him in intimacy. He wanted my love. He wants our love, and we like that fearful runaway bride run from the love that He is offering us in the arms of safety to the the arm of man (self-sufficiency), because being completely abandoned in this love not knowing where it will take us terrifies us. It’s wild and free and oh so scary at the same time.
No Longer Lost
I, like the bride in the movie, had my time away from my groom where he gave me space. He never left me completely, but I had to get to the place where I could see that I needed Him and couldn’t do my life without the wild, free love He was offering me. I had to see that I need not fear His leading me into the unknown, but could surrender to that leading, no longer lost and wondering. In fact, I could enjoy the unpredictability of the adventure with Him. He was really patient, but He didn’t give up on me either.
My favorite part of the runaway bride movie is when the groom goes back after the bride. He won’t take no for an answer and he opens his heart up to be broken by her again. We all love to see the dashing hero come in and sweep the damsel in distress off of her feet. We’re happy for him. We’re happy for her and all is right with the world. We know in our heart that this is the way it was meant to be. We are so excited to see them get their happily ever after!
The God of Second Chances
I thank God that He is a God of second chances and however many chances it takes. The intimacy of true relationship with God is incredible! No longer do we have to reject our groom. We can come running back to Him with arms wide open and have our wild, adventurous journey together. We were born for His love and were born to be free with Him, not bound up in our cages of religion! Man made torches are no replacement for the true love and intimacy our King can give us. We don’t have to fear being good enough for Him or worry about Him not sticking around either. He’s here to stay. If He will take us back after we abandon Him at the alter, we have to know, He’s in it for the long haul. He’s in it for eternity!
Oh Jesus, we cry out to you to forgive us of the times we have run from you, the lover of our souls. We’ve run after our false lovers (the things of this world) when you, our true love, were waiting for us with your arms open to embrace us. Forgive us for the pain we’ve caused you. We’ve broken your heart time and time again and our hearts are pierced at this knowledge. We don’t deserve such a glorious, patient and forgiving groom, yet you take us as we are. Marry our souls oh glorious groom! We love you and fully surrender to be led by you wherever you will lead us King Jesus!
Scriptures for Meditation
~ Isaiah 50:10-11
10 Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on their God.
11 But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment.
~ Hosea 2:14-20
14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor[a] a door of hope.
There she will respond[b] as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
16 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.[c]’
17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
no longer will their names be invoked.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them
with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land,
so that all may lie down in safety.
19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in[d] righteousness and justice,
in[e] love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in[f] faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.
~ Song of Songs 6:2-4
2 My beloved has gone down to his garden,
to the beds of spices,
to browse in the gardens
and to gather lilies.
3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
he browses among the lilies.
4 You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
as lovely as Jerusalem,
as majestic as troops with banners.
~ Song of Songs 8:5-7
5 Who is this coming up from the wilderness
leaning on her beloved?
Under the apple tree I roused you;
there your mother conceived you,
there she who was in labor gave you birth.
6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy[a] unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.[b]
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it[c] would be utterly scorned.