In this series which I’ve titled “My Life as the Bride of Christ,” we’re going to look together at a few things that I believe make the marriage relationship unique and how our relationship with Christ is particularly special because we are His bride. You can read parts one and two by clicking here.
All relationships involve some level of intimacy, but the relationship between husband and wife goes the deepest of them all. I fear that this was a great stumbling block for me in seeing God as my husband. For me, marital intimacy was intricately tied to the physical, sexual union between a man and his wife, and because of past sin on my part, I could not see intimacy with God in any other way. Yet, as the Lord has peeled back these layers in the past year, I see now that true, pure intimacy is not dirty or corrupt.
In the beginning of time, when God made a “helper fit for” Adam since it was not good for man to be alone, God created Eve out of Adam’s side. We are told that “the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:25)
Adam and Eve had nothing to hide from one another. They were one flesh, with nothing to separate them.
As a married woman, I should have nothing to fear in bearing my heart and soul to my husband, because he is bound to me in a way that no other relationship is. Other people (maybe even some of you) might grow sick and tired of me, especially as you get to know the “real me” and you might move on to find nicer, easier people to deal with, but not my husband. He can’t. He knows my numerous flaws, and yet, he remains by my side – in spite of them.
A dear friend and fellow church member reminded me in the van on the long trip back from our mission trip to Reynosa, Mexico last month, that our love for our husbands grows all the deeper as they demonstrate faithfulness toward us in a way that new lovers are unable to appreciate. In that way, our love for our spouse is magnified as their commitment to us is proven true through the years and decades.
And yet, for as well as my husband knows me, I can still hide things from him. But, God…. He knows a word before it’s on my lips. I cannot hide anything from Him; I cannot hide any thought, word or action from Him. Even the darkness is as light to Him. I cannot flee from Him.
Mediate on how deeply God knows and loves us according to Psalm 139:1-4, 11-12 “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. … If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”
As the bride of Christ, I have nothing to fear in bearing my heart and soul to Him, because I can have full confidence in his steadfast love and faithfulness. I can cast all of my cares on Him, because I know that He fully cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). It reminds me of Stephanie’s talk yesterday, that we can pour out of cries of lament, knowing that God has given us in the psalms this model of real, genuine, authentic relationship with Him.
In Hosea 6:6, we are told that the Lord desires “steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” God wants our hearts, our souls, our minds – with all of our everything. He wants us to know Him and trust Him deeply and personally. He wants more than just to “be known about” and studied and served. He wants to be known.
SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR US…. How does the fact that The marriage relationship is deeply intimate, close and personal impact our lives?
God wants our time with him to be transparent and real. He is not fooled by any false pretense. God detests hypocrisy and deceit. We can bear our true souls to Him without fear or shame.
I can confess ALL my sin to Him – agreeing with Him about my need for salvation and deliverance. I can cry to Him all day long without worrying that He will grow tired of me. I can share my every joy with Him without fear that He doesn’t care. I can talk to God without ceasing, in everything giving thanks, trusting that this, too, is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus. I don’t have to hide from Him. Ever.
Stay tuned for the final installment “Part Four: The marriage relationship is devoted, and sacrificial.”