Monday, April 03, 2006

Waiting for the Wedding

One day, when I was a little girl, I was playing pretend "school" with two girls who lived down the street from me. The girl who played "teacher" handed each of her "students" a slip of paper which she called our "attention span." At one point during the game, much to the dismay of the little teacher, I lost my paper. I ran home, greatly distressed, and announced to my mother that I had "lost my attention span" and did not know where to find it.

While I look back and laugh at my childish ignorance, times have not changed much. I still struggle with losing my real attention span in a much more serious matter; I struggle with keeping my attention on God. Anything and everything can distract my focus from God if I give too much attention to it.
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. - Matthew 25:13
I have been reading Leslie Ludy's book, Authentic Beauty. First and foremost, I recommend this book to every young lady. I would, however, advise mothers to look over before letting their younger daughters read this because there are some topics that Leslie covers that are a bit descriptive.

As I read this book, the way Leslie describes what our relationship with Jesus struck me as odd. Leslie uses the term "Prince" for God. When I think of a prince, I think of Prince Charming of the fairytales. He rides in on a white horses and gallantly rescues the damsel in distress from an evil foe. I wondered How can this possibly be a picture of our relationship with God? The whole idea sounded rather irreverent, but now I see Leslie's point.

When a person is in love, they think constantly of their beloved (or so other people tell me.) They count the minutes until they can see their beloved again. Is our love for Christ to be very different from this? Is He not supposed to be on our minds, in our thoughts, and His law written upon our very hearts? 1 Corinthians 7:34 says that "An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit." The Lord has declared His intentions toward us in return in Hosea 2:16-20,
"In that day, declares the LORD, you will call me my husband; you will no longer call me my master. I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked...I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD."
Imagine that you are engaged to be married. You have met and fallen in love with the one who God has planned you for all along. You can hardly wait for the wedding day, but you have one problem. Your groom promised to bring the entire wedding party to your doorstep, but following old Jewish tradition, has refused to tell you the wedding date. It is a secret possessed only by him and his father. Every morning you wake up and question yourself, 'Is this the day of my marriage?' Each day you must prepare as though the wedding were just about to take place.

This may seem like a surreal situation, but it was reality for Jewish women during the time of Christ. After the initial betrothal, about twelve months would pass. Toward the end of the twelve months or soon after, the groom would arrive at the bride's home with the wedding party and the marriage ceremony could begin. The bride was never sure of the exact time that her husband-to-be was coming; she only knew that it was soon.

Yet this is also reality for us as followers of Christ. We are that bride. Our hearts should be completely turned toward our Savior that He is who we wake up thinking about and that our days are dedicated to the hope of His return.

How are you doing on this?

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Blogger Marie said...

Thanks for the great reminder! It's so neat; often, the things I'm struggling with or learning about in my day-to-day life, one of you girls write a post on!

April 03, 2006 3:03 PM  
Blogger Hannah Beth said...

Its really amazing how God works! I can't tell you how many times when I have been thinking about something that I'll read something about it by "coincidence."
Thanks for your comment!

April 03, 2006 3:14 PM  
Blogger Abigail Snyder said...

Yes! I had just watched a video on this by Focus on the Family -- That the World May Know: Faith Lessons. I thought the whole process was really cool, especially when applied to our relationship to Christ. I had been thinking about writing a post on it, but you beat me to it, and did an excellent job!

Here's another question...related...Is it possible to desire to be with Christ in heaven sooo much that you actually desire death? Its just a thought I had recently, that somewhat applied, so I thought I'd put it out there for people to think about. My personal thoughts are that in our desire for Christ and to be with Him, there will be a balance of love to do His will, which, though it may include dying at one point or another (most likely) also includes a purpose for us here on earth that he will give us a like passion for.

At any rate, keep writing! I always enjoy your posts, as they make me think, and challenge me to have a greater "beauty from the heart"!

April 03, 2006 3:20 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Such good thoughts! Funny... I was just thinking about this very thing over the past week, and talked with my mom about it earlier today :-) I love how you brought out the cultural side of things, with how the bride would have been waiting, not knowing when the bridegroom would come, and the parallel to our lives as Believers!
I love how always-available the Lord is- unlike girls who desire to spend time with their Beloved, but aren't always able to due to each of their schedules or prior commitments, and other such, He is always there, always available, never busy or out of town :-) *happy sigh* Thanks for the reminder! I've been blessed & encorouraged by what you've shared here. Praying for y'all & how the Lord is using you here!

April 03, 2006 4:09 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Oh, and I meant to ask- Where did you read about the cultural aspect of things (the Jewish betrothal & all)? I'm currently studying for a Biblical Exegesis class I'm taking, and that totally caught my attention :-) I'm wanting to find a book where I can read about more of the Biblical settings & customs & practices & such :-)

April 03, 2006 4:33 PM  
Blogger Hannah Beth said...

Wow! You've been watching "That The World May Know", too? My mom borrowed a few of those videos from our church library and I have really loved watching them! I hope to borrow more soon from the library.
As for your question, I think its interesting to think about. I agree with you, that the more we love God, the more we will want to see Him in Heaven, but we will also want to do whatever He wants us to do on Earth.

One of my main sources for my post was actually my mom. :-) She was telling me about someone who held their marriage ceremony following some of the Jewish traditions as far as the bride not knowing when the groom was coming, in order for it to be a picture of our relationship with Christ. I looked up some more research on the specifics of that tradition on the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia.
Abigail mentioned that Focus on the Family has some videos out entitled "That The World May Know," in which Ray Vander Laan (a historian) basically gives a tour of Israel while explaining the cultural context of the Bible. I think that one of the episodes might be about Jewish wedding traditions....(Abigail, do you know??)
It sounds like you'll be doing some interesting research! If you find anything more having to do with this, I'd love to hear about it!

April 03, 2006 4:41 PM  
Blogger T. Suzanne Eller said...

I love this post.

April 03, 2006 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Mary Beth said...

Loved this psot!

April 03, 2006 7:19 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

Absolutely beautiful. You have discerned the pure character of God and our relationship with him.

April 04, 2006 9:28 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

That was fascinating about the wedding practices. It is exactly like our waiting for Jesus' second coming. We know that He is coming soon, but the exact day is known only to Him and His Father. Excellent post!

April 04, 2006 11:36 AM  
Blogger Hannah-Liz said...

Excellent post! I really loved it!

April 05, 2006 7:24 AM  
Blogger David S. MacMillan III said...

There's a guy who liked this post, too!

A beautiful picture of Christ and His Bride. . . .

In Him,

David S. MacMillan III

April 05, 2006 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

That was great! That part about Jewish practices was interesting it reminded me of Jesus second coming.....which i'm sure was the point. :D

May 25, 2006 12:54 PM  
Blogger Carey said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 07, 2006 9:27 PM  
Blogger Carey said...

I reserved the name "Beloved" for Christ only. It is a reminder that He is my first love and needs to have first priority in my heart. Not even my husband gets the title "my Beloved." (But my marriage will most likely be all the better when Christ has preeminence.)

September 10, 2006 1:53 PM  

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