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She is as old as history and as young as today. She is eternal. She is perfection with a sinful past. She is hopeless and hopeful in one enigmatic package. We can read about her throughout history though she is never named. We live with her every day and know her not. She rarely recognizes herself. She is one and at the same time myriad. And she waits.
She looks toward the East longing for someone whose eyes she has never seen. In a curiously and wonderfully arranged marriage, she will join him for eternity. During her long wait which often seemed like a deep sleep, she has known sin and righteousness, persecution and joy, barrenness and multiplication. She marches steadily on, sometimes hanging on by the slimmest of faithful threads. And then, with a suddenness that leaves her breathless, she revives. These brief bursts of life have come with infinite manifestations and while seemingly short lived, always leave more hope than she had known before. And she waits.
In times past, this Bride of Christ-to-be was seduced by the worst representatives of evil known to mankind, abused by the cruelest suitors, scattered and torn. It was a cruel deception even from the beginning. After all, how better to ravage a man than to seduce his wife? How could she have been such a fool? She had everything and carelessly tossed everything aside for the empty promises from a beautiful but deadly enemy. Now she was condemned by her own actions to a life of sorrow that would reach into the generations issuing from her loins. And yet she knew that just before she was completely done in, she would be rescued by the ever-present strength of her knight on a white horse. And so she stands tall, cleans herself off, adorns herself in fresh garments and continues to look for Him. Though she has, at times, let it grow dim, she keeps a light burning in the window of her heart. And she waits.
Many have even denied that the glorious wedding she awaits will actually take place. They said there was no bridegroom. And even if he did exist, they doubted that he would return. Or they said he was not whom she knew him to be. They said he told her lies dripping with sweetness yet cunningly false. They scorned her and mocked him. They tried to soil her wedding garments. But, though she occasionally wavered, there was a remnant of certainty, held preciously tight within her. And if she ever spoke the words, “What if it is all just a fable?” She soon heard the words, “What if it’s all true?” And she waits.
She has a set of wedding vows that the bridegroom’s father wrote for her. They are extensive, but complete. She tries to consume them, but grows weary in the effort. There have been those rare moments when the vows were like gold to her and she was loath to put them down. Every page was honey. Every word was life. Every jot and tittle was a reason to rejoice. The vows were said to be very old and there was much arguing among some quarters concerning their validity, accuracy and power. But, there were those who were barbarously murdered because they loved the vows more than their lives. Some were beheaded, or boiled in oil. Some were shot, or hung, or imprisoned simply because they told others what was written in the vows. Even so, the vows were still read in every corner where there were ears to hear. And while these things came to pass, she waited.
And as she waits for the dawn, a small smile brushes her face. She sings a song that only she knows, for it comes from within. When the gladness bubbles to where it might overflow she sometimes dances as her heart takes flight. She knows joy comes in the morning. Perhaps tomorrow He will ride through the gate — and so she waits.