Runaway Brides

By now most Americans are familiar with the story of Jennifer Wilbanks, the 32-year-old medical assistant who was scheduled to be married this past Saturday. On the Tuesday before the wedding, she didn’t return home from jogging. The story made national headlines, and disinterested observers suddenly became interested. Had her fianc?, John Mason, done something horrible? Where was Jennifer?
We sighed with relief when it was reported that she had been found safe in New Mexico. We then gasped with disbelief when it was revealed she had lied about being abducted. It seems Ms. Wilbanks was suffering from a case of cold feet. But how she dealt with her fears was nothing short of scandalous.
One more gasp was heard when it was reported that John Mason was still willing to marry Jennifer. She would need help with her problems, he realized. But his desire to marry her had not changed.
Even more astonishing is the depth of Jesus’ love and patience with us, his betrothed. Our Lord’s desire is to make us his heavenly bride: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her, that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that he might present her to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27, NKJV).
A “holy” church? We are tempted to laugh at the idea, for we know just how soiled our white garments have become by our unbridled urges to sin. Yet Jesus keeps seeking us, washing us, forgiving us. He keeps waiting for us to begin our walk down the aisle, knowing that wonderful blessings are in store for his bride. We don’t see forgiveness like this among people. John Mason will forgive only so many times. But Jesus’ mercy is vast. His love is beyond comprehension.
The story will continue for Jennifer and John. The outcome is yet unknown, and it’s beyond our control. But the end of our story is something we can control. Jesus has made the proposal. Will we accept? Or will we run away (again)?
“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2).

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Tim Hall

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One thought on “Runaway Brides

  1. Excellent article – it makes you think about just how great God’s grace and mercy really are.

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