My Identity: The Bride of Christ
It was Saturday, April 27, 2013, and two more of my friends were getting married. Yet here I was, 27 years old and still single. The night before the weddings, I cried myself to sleep because of the loneliness in my heart. I am Alone. Forsaken. Abandoned. Even though I knew it wasn’t true, the words flooded into my heart and broke it.
The next morning I was ready to go to the weddings with bitterness in my heart. I saw no other way than letting the day be an ongoing reminder of my singleness. When I have attended weddings in the past, it’s true that I enjoyed dressing up to celebrate the momentous day for whatever friends were getting married. But in the back of my mind, I was always hoping that someone would notice me. Maybe if I looked pretty enough, I would stand out enough to be loved. This particular morning, however, I had no motivation even to care about what I looked like. I am Alone. Forsaken. Abandoned.
In discouragement I sat down to meditate on the character of God, which was my Bible reading focus at that time. Though it seemed meaningless, I told myself that the Lord is my Husband – my Protector and Provider, my constant Companion. Gradually, my eyes and heart were opened to joy as I discovered precious treasures in the 62nd chapter of Isaiah.
1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.
2 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.
3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
Forsaken. The same word I had used to describe myself. The truth of the words sank in. I am no longer Forsaken. The Lord has given me a new name. As I read and reread the words, a picture began to form in my mind. I was not a lonely, forsaken girl on the sidelines of the wedding. I was the bride – the precious bride of Christ – walking down the aisle to Him! I am a crown of beauty, a royal diadem in His hand. Anxious, fearful, sinful ME. He has made me beautiful.
The end of verse 5 wrapped my heart in joy. “As the bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” I suddenly became excited to dress up, but not because I was hoping for a person to notice me. Now, I wanted to dress up because of who I already am – the bride of Christ. I was filled with joy because the Lord takes joy in me. It turned out to be a blessing seeing two physical examples of this that day – to see how both grooms looked at their brides on their wedding day – and knowing that MY Bridegroom rejoices over ME!
At the weddings I was able to talk with many friends who are struggling with contentment. One married friend even told me that she is lonely, which surprised me. I realized something so very important in hearing that: I have been believing Satan’s lie that the thing I don’t have (a husband) is what will satisfy me. I realized that Satan is telling others that same lie about their situation. I realized that God is who I’m really desiring and the only One who can truly satisfy me. I have been placing the idea of a husband on the throne of my heart, feeling pitiful for myself because of what I am “lacking” in not being married.
But something changed in my heart that day. The next morning at church I was bursting at the seams – in fellowship, in study, in worship, in teaching children’s church… It didn’t seem to matter what I was doing – I had JOY inside. As I sat in Sunday school, I started to notice that I was surrounded by married couples. I was at first tempted to turn my eyes toward myself again. My automatic response was to disconnect myself from the body of Christ because I am not married. But I reminded myself that this is what God wants for me right now, and then I started to see the situation differently. I am a sinner, who is saved, sanctified, and blessed to minister in the body of Christ – the people around me are sinners, who are saved, sanctified, and blessed to minister in the body of Christ. It didn’t matter anymore that they are married and I am not – we are the same in the body of Christ. I felt so full inside.
I am now 29 years old, and I consider my singleness to be one of the greatest gifts God has given me. This is not how I would have planned my life. But God’s sovereign plans are so much better than my own. Yes, it is still sometimes hard to see most of my friends married and having kids, and I don’t know what the future hold in this area of my life… but I can embrace the goodness of God today. I am loved more deeply than I could ever imagine, my Heavenly Father provides for my every need, and He is using me for His glory in more ways that I could have imagined.