Are You Ready To Say “I do”? (It’s time to prepare)
Marriage on earth is a tiny glimpse of what our Lord intends to do with us, His Body, His Bride. Sure it’s going to have heartaches, misunderstandings, and the occasional (!!) struggle with the in-laws; but all in all, it is a picture of God’s real glorious intention for us.
He has called us to “grow” into our relationship with Him for the Oneness He desires with us. This far exceeds anything we can replicate on earth.
We quote today from Anna Rountree’s book – The Priestly Bride (2001), pp.20-23. She was given a visionary glimpse of this Heavenly Marriage process with our Lord. We join her in the
(For those who have read the book, may this refresh your memory.)
Suddenly I heard someone clearing His throat in order to call attention to His presence. I looked up. Jesus was sitting in the large, apricot tree. “My Lord,” I said in amazement, “what are You doing up there?”
“I am up a tree, Anna,” He said.
I laughed. “What are You doing up a tree?”
“You want Me up here,” He replied.
“I want You up there?” I laughed, for I thought He was joking.
“Yes,” He answered. “I am localized, and you know where I am. You can come to the base of the tree and ask Me questions, and then go about your life. I am in a portion of your heart, but I do not have free access to the whole garden.”
I was cut to the quick. I swallowed hard. “Come down, my Lord,” I said. “Forgive me. These mysteries are so exciting…well, forgive me that…”
“…that you have begun to use Me?” He asked, jumping down from the tree.
“The very thing I have hated, I am doing,” I said.
He walked over to me. “What do you want of Me, Anna? Information? There is a vast supply. Is that what you want?”
“No, of course not,” I replied. “These mysteries are so…”
“…titillating?” He asked.
“Well, they are…”
“…seductive?” He added.
“Yes,” I affirmed.
“But they are part of Me –and you have been given all of Me. It seems a poor exchange.”
“Oh, my Friend,” I continued, “forgive me. I love You and want to be with You. I want You to have access to the entire garden.”
“You are called to know mysteries, Anna, but not to use Me,” He said.
TO STILL THE SOUL
I was speechless. When years before I had decided to pursue the Lord earnestly, I withdrew my senses from the overstimulation of worldly input. I felt that I needed to still my soul if I wanted Him to come knocking at my heart.
The withdrawal from keeping myself entertained with the world was exceedingly painful. But now the Lord was saying I had replaced the worldly with spiritual entertainment –desiring more and more spiritual knowledge –a subtler and less objectionable substitute, but still a substitute for Him. I did not know what to say. I was stunned.
He took me by the arm and guided me gently to the rim of the fountain. “Sit down,” He said quietly. He sat beside me. I looked into His face. The beauty and clearness of those eyes were beyond compare. He took my hand and held it.
A TRUE FRIEND
“My Anna,” He said, “be a true friend to Me, as I am to you. I want you to desire My company. I am a King, but I desire to be with you, as any lover would long to be with the one he loves. I do not command your love; I humbly ask for it. I do not dictate that you be with Me. I long for you to seek Me. Therefore I wait for you, Anna.”
I dropped my head. “Lord,” I said, “I am selfish. I am using You for my own pleasure.”
EVEN A KING
He lifted my chin. “Anna, look at Me,” He said. “Even a King wishes to be loved for Himself, not for the gifts He bestows.”
He smiled at me. “If you do not enjoy being with Me now, why do you believe you will enjoy My company for eternity?”
He looked down at my hand. “The pursuer wants to be pursued also,” He said gently.
He looked up and then over the gate. “Have you ever thought of standing at the entrance to the garden with the gate opened, waiting for Me?”
“No,” I replied.
“You have expected Me to travel the entire distance to you. Do you not think I would be pleased to have you waiting, with part of the distance covered so that we might see each other sooner?”
“Yes,” I said quietly.
He smiled at me. “Come, My love, let us walk.” He helped me to rise and put His arm around my waist. We began to walk the path that circles the garden. “I have called you to Myself,” He said looking down at me. “Few understand what this means. Would you like to know, Anna?”
“Yes,” I said tentatively. “I say this in fear and trembling because I fear not getting something I want.”
He laughed. “I know this. What does that say about our relationship?”
“It sounds like I do not trust You,” I said.
“That is what it sounds like,” He agreed.
“Is it true?”
“Yes,” He replied.
“Well, Lord, help me!” I pleaded. “I want to trust You.”
“My wonderful girl,” He said, “My love. Do you not understand? My desire is for you. My passions burn with eternal fires. No mere tear can quench them. It would take tears from eternity, and still the fire of My passion for you would not be quenched. Why would you not trust the One who loves you as I love?”
I could not answer. I did not know why I did not abandon myself to God. I shook my head. “Who am I to deserve such love?”
“You are chosen for Me by My Father,” He said earnestly. “With wisdom that is beyond wisdom, He has chosen you.”
“Then increase my desire to be with You,” I said, “to desire You more than an anointing or spiritual knowledge or…” I could not think fast enough to enumerate. I shook my head in frustration and then blurted out: “I love You.” I clung to Him, burying my face in His chest. “You are the dearest Friend I have…I love You!”
He placed His arms around me lovingly. “My own,” He said. He dropped His head back and laughed as in pain mixed with joy. Then bringing His head to mine, He spoke softly, “Anna, Anna.” There was great pain in His voice. “Please do not do this again.” He held me trembling. “Anna, do not do this again.”
I had hurt Him deeply by treating Him presumptuously, casually –like someone with whom I had to deal in order to receive that which was my primary interest. But He loved me. He wanted my company and wanted me to desire His. That which is the deepest desire of every human heart was mine, and I was seeking secondary rewards.
My heart began to break. The pain was excruciating. The garden responded also. The smell of myrrh flooded the area. I glanced at the myrrh tree. Red tears of the aromatic gum were slipping from the heart of the wood.
I pulled back, holding Him at arm’s length, looking into His eyes. “My God, my God,” I said. “I am not worthy of You. I cannot even respond correctly to the depth of Your love. Ishi, if You do not give me a love that matches Yours in intensity…” The pain in my heart was so severe that I could not finish the sentence. With all that was in me I pushed past the extreme pain to cry out, “Oh, please help me to love You as You love me. I am willing, Lord, but I cannot do this myself. You must do this through me! Please!”
He looked at me intently. Then He took my right hand into His, turned it over and tenderly kissed the center of it. “Receive,” He said. Immediately, I could feel the Spirit surging through me. “There is no greater closeness than to share one life,” He said.
Is “covering the distance” the same as our “meeting the Lord in the air”; His Body ascending into Him and He likewise descending, meeting us half-way, so that we become one in Him? “Seeing Him as He is” sooner, because He so desires us to never be separated from Him again?
Is this what the “Rapture”, “Catching Away”, “1st Resurrection”, “Great Escape” (??) really is?
Remember Ps 91:15-16: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
What life is “longer” than Eternal Life? Our Lord knows we shall be in trouble (Great Tribulation?), but He has promised to be WITH US in it and then deliver us from it. The “honour” is the body of glory we receive at His appearing.
He shews us HIS salvation: becoming like Him –Our Consummation! Then the feasting begins!
Hallelujah!! -- T