Brian and I have now been together, uninterupted, for 24 straight days. That’s the longest we’ve had together in four and a half years. People warned me it would be a hard adjustment. I was told there would of course be a time of getting used to being together again, so to give it time while we settled in to life together again. Well, that hasn’t happened. Instead, it’s much more like being on a honeymoon, without all the awkwardness. I think this is partly due to God having provided us with an awesome cell phone plan which allowed us to talk to each other every day, for as long as we wanted, without costing us a dime beyond our monthly fee. It was this constant contact that kept us not just connected to each other, but caused the desire in us to be together to grow and flourish.
One of my first days in Pennsylvania Brian was at the table in our apartment mapping out houses we were going to see that afternoon. As he worked, I went into the kitchen to make lunch. I pulled out a package of pitas, some lunch meat, cheese, veggies and mustard, and started to assemble sandwiches. After slathering on the mustard I picked up a slice of meat, making sure I put it in the pita just right so it would not only taste good, but look nice, as well. Each ingredient was added carefully, being placed just so. I even planned the order in which I would put things in the pita in order to end up with a sandwich that looked as close to perfect as I could get it.
As I continued to build Brian’s sandwich, a feeling began to grow in me. It started as just a twinge of contentment, but soon grew to a feeling of everything being just right. Before I was done with the sandwich I was crying. Not sobbing, but just gentle tears. Gentle tears of peaceful joy. I was a wife again! I was getting to “cook” for my husband, something I haven’t gotten to do much of during the last few years. Even though it was just a sandwich, it felt so awesome to be doing something for him again; to be taking care of his needs and wants again. This was more than a sandwich, it was an offering of love; it was reassurance that I had a place in his life and heart. As I stood there in that tiny kitchen, making a lunch a 7 year-old could have made, I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment, and I was grateful for the opportunity to take care of Brian and be able to show my love for him. That’s about the time it hit me: I felt like a bride.
The next revelation that hit me is that this is what it is to be the Bride of Christ. Or at least, what it should be. It is easy to come to worship or prayer with the attitude that we are doing it because, well, it’s what we do! The reality is, though, that we are coming to our Bridegroom. He doesn’t need what we do. I mean, He won’t wither away without it, and there’s nothing we can do for Him that He couldn’t do for himself. All we can really bring is a heart full of love. A heart that rejoices at the thought of doing something, no matter how small, just because it will bless our Bridegroom. It’s not an intellectual thing, it’s a heart thing.
That day, as I stood there making that sandwich, my heart sang as it had not for a long time. It was full of gratitude and rejoicing. Gratitude that God had brought us together again. Gratitude that Brian still wanted me, even after several years of life without me. Rejoicing that I could once again pour out the love that had built up inside me all this time. Rejoicing that our time of waiting, of unfulfilled longing, was done.
Once again I realized the picture God was drawing in my life. As I was rejoicing over being reunited with my earthly bridegroom, I realized that this is but a shadow of what we will feel on the day we are finally reunited in person, face-to-face with our heavenly Bridegroom. If being reunited with a love from which I’ve been separated for four years feels like this, what will it be like when we are reunited with Jesus, whom we have been waiting for for much longer? I’d love to expound on that for you, but words fail me. I don’t know the words to describe how awesome that will feel, but I’m grateful God has allowed me a small taste of what is waiting for us.
In the meantime, my understanding of waiting for the return of Jesus is changing and growing. I’ve been repenting for not having gotten it before, and am pressing in to a deeper understanding of it in the future. When He comes, I want to have a heart full of love for Him, and a yearning just to be near Him. In this time of waiting I want to find the same joy and fulfillment in serving Him something as simple as a cold sandwich that I did when I got to do it for my earthly bridegroom. Growing a heart of a bride is not a head thing, it’s a heart thing…