Just had the privilege to see a mighty man of God going to visit his beloved in the hospital. He had just been buzzed in the door to ICU, and was headed to see his bride. In his eyes and voice were two undeniable emotions. The love for his sweet bride was piercing, even in just a few brief moments. His heartache over her illness and desire to see her restored to health was just as transparent.
God immediately showed me a picture of Himself and His love and concern for HIS bride, the church. His love for her is undeniable. Who else would die for the bride but someone who was enamored with her and is willing to sacrifice whatever necessary for her to be His, to thrive, and to survive? He is passionate about her. He knows what is in her best interest. He tarries and hovers and cares for her. He protects and guards her.
He is heart broken over her illnesses. When she hurts he hurts. What illnesses you ask? Apathy. Prayerlessness. Shut-ins. Low blood flow. Legalistic. Callousness. Lack of Biblical knowledge. Lack of forgiveness. The list goes on and on. There are many illnesses the Bride of Christ is exposed and at risk of contracting. His desire is to be her first love, and to have her so engrossed in His presence there is no room for illness to set in.
The picture of the husband having to ask permission to get in the door to be present with his wife is a stark warning for us. What has the Bride of Christ set up as deterrents for the Bridegroom being present in Her life? We have limited His freedom to enter in. We have set policies, procedures, and programs ahead of His presence. We have legalism instead of liberty. We cling to what we can see and what we can measure instead of what only He can do by being free to move about the body as He sees fit. The Groom should not have to ask permission to be in the room with His Bride.
I think this picture was so vivid to me for a few of reasons. One, I missed being able to worship with my church family this week. I love that I missed it. I love that it is a priority. I love most that I missed that special time with Him. Personal worship is a priority, but there is just something special about the Bride coming together. Secondly, I also admire this man I saw today greatly. I love his heart. It reminds me of Christ's heart for His people. Not a far leap for God to use that picture as a reminder of His heart which loves on an infinitely deeper level than we can fathom, even in Godly men. And lastly, just life. Sometimes God just needs to remind us of His heart for us, and His desire to be present. What do I add to my congregation or the Bride as a whole? Do I allow God to use me as a clean heart to enter into His presence or am I putting up roadblocks? Am I allowing Him to move freely or limiting His access? Do I fully understand and convey to others His love, care and concern for His people or do I just spit out easy cut and dry rote with no passion for who they are in His eyes and His heart?
Lord, let me be a part of the Bride of Christ who desperately desires Your presence above all else. Allow me to see the potential for illness. Not for the sake of blame or negativity, but rather for alert, warning, and passionately seeking You in truth. Let me be a part of the health of the body. Help me also not add to roadblocks for Your presence. Thank You for Your picture of love today through the life of one of Your servants. Bless he and his bride as well. Be present Lord! Let Your Bride function in health, truth, and beauty. Love us, cover us, and protect us as we pursue You passionately. Amen.