We love because he first loved us (I John 4:19).
Years ago I attended a women’s retreat where a Jewish wedding canopy (chuppah) was set up in one area. A bridal veil was provided, and we were invited to take communion as we felt ready. For me, it became a profound encounter with Jesus as I wept and worshiped him as my bridegroom.
I believe that one reason why Jesus described himself as a bridegroom was to offer hope as a special kindness to women. Girlhood dreams of being loved and treasured often end like crushed roses trampled underfoot.
In contrast, our Heavenly Suitor offers a noble love where he gives up everything, even his life. He offers perfect fidelity, attuned support, and passionate devotion. How can we women resist the romance of being loved and cherished like that forever?
Though I related to the bridegroom metaphor, for years I John 4:18 distressed me. “…The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I was ashamed of my imperfect love for the Lord because I worried about not being able to please him.
My fear, though, showed how little I knew the Lord’s heart, his true intentions towards me, his warm and tender thoughts about me, and his eagerness to help in all my weaknesses. It’s all about HIS perfect love, not mine! I can rest, trusting his character.
Not surprisingly, the more secure I feel as his Beloved, the safer I feel to love others deeply from the heart.
Prayer of response: Lord, thank you for your beautiful, initiating love. Open our eyes more and more to the height and depth and breadth of this love, and let it overflow to everyone around us.
Questions to ponder:
- In what ways do you relate or not relate to the metaphor of Jesus as your bridegroom?
- Is a negative fear of God an issue for you? Identify specifically what it is that makes you shrink back from him.
- Growing in our knowledge of God’s love helps overcome fear. What are some things you can do to increase your understanding of God’s love?
Recommended reading: “Gentle and Lowly,” by Dane C. Ortlund
Published with Lifesprings International 5/24/22.