No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the Lord will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.
(from Isaiah chapter 62, New International Version)
Last night’s sermon at church was about several passages from the Bible that speak about how much God delights in each one of us, and the congregation were asked to comment on what this might mean….our vicar Andrew was almost in tears as he spoke about how his youngest daughter Millie adores her older brother and sister, and ran to the Arrivals lounge to greet him eagerly on his return from abroad!
Another image was that of Jesus delighting in each one of us as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride. There were several couples present who had certainly been a living illustration of this verse, but I commented in a whisper that this had sadly not been my own experience at my wedding in 1981 or since! I had no personal human experience as a grid for this wonderful divine promise – just as adults who had an abusive or absent father in the natural find it hard to imagine God as a perfect Father….
I have not found any “quick fixes” to get that head-knowledge of God’s bridegroom-love or father-love those long 18 inches from head to heart, but the Holy Spirit is bringing the words of the Bible alive to me step by step. One night I did have a dream where I was tangibly feeling the love of God through two church leaders I valued: the motherly side of His love through Carol Arnott from Catch the Fire in Toronto, and the fatherly side through Jack Frost (who has now been promoted to Glory, as the Salvation Army put it) who was well known in the late 1990s and early years of this century as a teacher on the Father heart of God – having been at one time such a broken man that his friends and family referred to him as “Captain Bligh”.
I have yet to have more revelation of the Bridegroom love of God…..I also appreciate this can be a difficult image for many people, including men! But then one could say that women may struggle to see themselves as “Sons of God” through Christ. May the Holy Spirit work in my heart and yours, to see yourself as your Maker sees you – with delight in His eyes!