This morning I woke up thinking of the week before this glorious gift that was to be part of God’s great goodness and mercy in my life. We are one week away from celebrating our 50th golden anniversary.
I remember the only thing I could pray and think about was, “please Lord, may the rapture of your Bride not be this year. So much was being taught and written; Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey was at the forefront. I was one of the summer evangelists for Baylor University the previous year. In every revival meeting, I preached on the rapture and second coming. I could not wait for the sound of the trumpet and the shout of heaven.
Suddenly, one week before receiving this beautiful woman as my wife, I changed my tune.
The only focus of importance was to make it to the altar on January 13, 1973 at the Evangelistic Temple in Houston Texas. I prayed, “Lord Jesus, you have waited almost 2,000 years for your glorious bride, please wait at least another year so Betsy and I can be husband and wife, covenanted in marriage.”
I realized how much our bridegroom has been waiting for His Bride to make herself ready.
For four months, night and day, Betsy and her mother prepared for the wedding day to come. The invitations to be created, printed, and sent. A dress to be found, caterers to be hired, wedding cake, groom’s cake, menu to be chosen, flowers, music, dresses for bridesmaids, tuxes to be rented, ministers, musicians, wedding gift list, showers, luncheons, honeymoon, etc. etc. I am sure I am missing more.
The bridegroom waits as the preparation for the glorious day approaches. Of course, I was included and asked how I liked various things, but the preparation in readying for this day was the bride’s. As I write this post, seeing what goes into the ceremony, how much more preparation is going on by the Holy Ghost preparing the Bride of Christ for such a Bridegroom—our Lord Jesus.
John the Baptist said, “the one who has the Bride is the Bridegroom.” My own anticipation and expectation pales in comparison to the great love, sacrifice, and patience of Jesus as He intercedes for His beloved Bride.
The Holy Ghost being sent into the world, after Jesus made a way for His Bride to be covenanted to Him, is a great mystery. Marriage, Paul says, is a great mystery. But he was speaking in reference to Christ and the Bride, the true Church. As I remember the wife of my youth, in this week to come, the mystery to me is how God brought such favor to love me faithfully and to show me what love is.
Thank you Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for our marriage covenant in you.