It’s the age-old love story: the doting couple, inseparable on their life-long honeymoon unwilling to live separated by death for more than a few months. The woman who was cherished as a bride all of her married life following into eternity the beloved husband who preceded her two months before. Close your eyes and you can hear the swell of stringed-music and picture them dancing on a beach somewhere in the Milky Way. Triumphant love. Death cheated.
But that isn’t reality.
Reality is better.
There is another Bridegroom in this picture, One who loved her better and far longer. With the passing of days into years, the joy in His heart grew, His eyes fixed on February 20 and what it would mean for them. Her homecoming. The day when all barriers between them fell to ashes as weak flesh transformed into glorified immortality and entered the throne room of her Bridegroom King. This is the real love story, for which the deep love of an earthly husband–even at its purest and sweetest–was only ever a shadowy archetype.
An old song by the group Anointed states, “Life is a dream, and Heaven’s reality and if we just hold on then we will wake up to the face of God.” It takes tenacious love to join in eternity the One who is love defined. The good news is simply that we were created for this love. It doesn’t always make sense; actually, it rarely ever makes sense, any more than the confusing jumble of our dreams make sense at the dawning of day. Our task is simply to love through the pain until we see clearly, face to face. The truth is that God is, Jesus died, He is good, and He loves. The reality of this truth does not alter with the ever-shifting nature of our circumstance. We love through circumstance, making pain a means of progress as we seek to love like Him. At the end of this chapter, when we step into the spirit and leave behind the body, no dearer words are those than the approval-laced, burning-with-love “Well done!” of Jesus. It is worth every broken place.
What happens at death is best shown in the love story of Isaac and Rebekah. An emissary comes with an invitation you cannot refuse. At the moment of salvation, you join the convoy and start your journey to the home of your Betrothed, at times peppering your Gide–the Holy Spirit–with questions. What’s He like? How does He look? What pleases Him? Some, He answers. He is light and in Him there is no darkness. His face shines like the sun, and His eyes burn with living passion. He loves it when you love Him back. As the journey approaches its destination, you soon see the Bridegroom coming out to meet you, too eager to wait at home for your arrival. One look in His burning eyes is assurance that every secret motive of the heart is examined and understood. This Man knows you completely, loves you unconditionally, and made provision for every broken place when you accepted His proposal.
This is the love that makes life worth it and gives the strength to keep running back to Him when the journey leaves us battered and weary. Forever is real. Join the procession.