Friday, 8 July 2011
The Warrior Bride
God has something to say.
God has been talking to and with people for years. Communion with Him has been the topic of scores of books, sermons, conferences, songs and devotionals. All saying the same thing – God still has something to say. His method has not changed; His voice is the same. St. Luke heard it audibly through Jesus’ own voice. St. Francis of Assisi heard it in the cathedral of his heart, and Billy Graham still hears it today. The voice of God. Its tonality is peace, its declaration is victory, and its shout is the thunder.
The eternity of this voice shocks us, shakes us and keeps us up at night. It robs us of our sleep, reminds us of our promises and redeems our safety as a whisper in the dark. Like a candle dispelling the blackness around us, His voice wraps us up and carries us to the brightness of His glory.
Embracing and obeying the voice of our Lord comes at a price. The more we embrace, the higher the price. There is nothing sweeter, nothing purer and nothing harder than hearing that call to bear our cross. Sometimes we feel that our service alone constitutes our cross. More often our service for Him is just that – service. The cross comes as a ‘follower’ – someone who does service – becomes a ‘disciple’ – someone who owns a cross. It is how we hear the voice that distinguishes the two. Service measures our love in a quantitative outpouring of devotion and love, it is measurable. Lots of service, in our minds, means lots of love. This is a fair assumption as the outpouring of love in service is certainly a distinguishing factor of our love. The cross we bear however is an immeasurable love that only the one directing our steps with the Cross can determine.
There are distant light barely visible along the horizon. They are the reminders that the time of our redemption is drawing nigh. Our Beloved waits astride His white horse to come and collect His Bride. It is not long before we behold what has been our wanting for an eternity. We must become people of vision and faith rather than a group of reactionaries, responding to our humanity instead of our Beloved’s passion. We need to offer ourselves to be tested in the crucible of our intimacy. Our Bridegroom is waiting for a Bride who is sure of her faith, love and hope. She is one who knows where her faith lies, one who doesn’t have to search for her love and one who doesn’t need circumstance to guide her hope. Our faith needs to be strong and sure. It is something that needs to be counted on no matter what may come.
Contrary to the popular belief, our Bridegroom is not really all that concerned with the Marriage Supper. Oh, He’s anxious and wants us to be there, but His desire is for what follows the Wedding Feast. We are being designed and fashioned to reign with Him, to judge with Him. As a King would lean an ear to His confidante, the Queen, before rendering judgments and decisions, so too our Beloved wants to trust us with His ear. He is not so concerned with the dawning of eternity as much as the eternity itself. The wisdom, trust and faith we have exhibited here will enable us to have our Bridegroom’s confidence later.
I would submit that His pride in us is not in the perfection of our trying, but in our attempt of the trying. Once we engage in Boot Camp or preparations for intimacy, it becomes clearer and clearer that we are frail. Our attempts at becoming the reflection of Him, who we love, falter greatly. The blessed hope is that once we realize we need the Bridegroom to show us the way, the less we depend and rely on our own efforts.
A personal, private affair is this love. This love can be heard in the sweet whisper of the still night just before death. This love can be heard in the song sung over a soul redeemed and reborn at the expense of years of prayer and tears.
The Voice that is the object of our passion continues to call for surrender. His message has remained unchangeable throughout the annals of history. Paul declares it best –“For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain”. The call to press on from the finish lines of our faith moves us if we allow it past our wills, past our minds and into our hearts.The place it finds us matters little, as some are in great service for our God, but remain unchanged by the renewing passion of the Voice of our God.