Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
On cue from the first chords of music, the audience rose to their feet. Brilliance filled the doorway as every head turned to see the bride, alone, adorned in white and radiating joy. She paused in the entrance, looking toward her groom who waited for her at the end of the long aisle. He smiled broadly at her, drinking in her beauty.
And then he ran . . .
. . . From the front of the church to the back where she waited, he ran to her.
She slipped her arm into his, and he escorted her through the crowd of tear-soaked faces to the place where they would publically declare their love for each other and their commitment to be united forever.
Every time I tell that story (or even think about it!), tears fill my eyes at the earthly vision of our heavenly bridegroom. My friends Tommy and Elise traveled a difficult road to arrive at their wedding day. Struggles and deep pain, intermixed with moments of happiness and encouragement, refined their relationship with God and with each other over the months before. “With my father painfully out of the picture, it was important to me that I didn’t just choose a stand in to fill his shoes,” shares Elise. “A few great men offered, but none of them were going to erase the rejection or fill the ginormous void in my heart. Until, that is, my sweet husband said he would come for me. My pause at the end of the aisle was not in hesitation, but in expectation. I am my beloved’s, and he is mine. Those who know the love of Christ understand what it means to be claimed unconditionally by him. I love being the bride. God gave me great comfort when he gave me Tommy that day. An even greater hope we have in Christ’s coming.”
After such a challenging, but growth-filled road, Tommy and Elise wanted to use their marriage celebration to paint a clear picture of the love of Christ. “It was a secret (what was to happen) between Elise and I, and I looked forward to it for two months,” explained Tommy. “It wasn’t intended to be a dramatic element for the ceremony, but an expression between Elise and I of Christ and His church– and a view toward our final redemption.”
Tommy and Elise left an indelible mark on my heart about the way Jesus feels about me. My time on earth is preparation for the day when I will be eternally reunited with him. All of my joys and sorrows, pains and pleasures, are refining me and my relationship with him.
And on that day, he will run to meet me.
In fact, I’m grateful he pursues me on a daily basis.
Photo: (Rings, June 2009) It’s wedding sesason! Here is a recent shot of the rings that I took.