Sunday Rewind: Happily Ever After Part 1

How do we prepare for our BIG Day?

She said, “I will.”  Perfectly timed and perfectly said, those two words changed my heart!  Sometimes the written word doesn’t do justice to the importance of tone, body language, and inflection.  When the church doors swung open and I saw my bride dressed in spectacular beauty, I began to sob.  I tried my best to maintain composure, but I had never seen anything so beautiful.  As she walked down the aisle towards me, her beauty only grew in magnitude.  Tears welled in my eyes.  She held my hand.  She was here, dressed like that, for me!

As the pastor officiating our wedding asked me if I would take Kerri to be my wife, my voice failed and my emotions got the best of me.  I fumbled out through choked tears, “I will.”  At that moment, and for the rest of my life, I wanted nothing more.  Inside, I began to fear I wouldn’t make it through the rest of the service.  Could I compose myself?  There would be lots more I needed to say if this wedding was to be official!  This stunning bride was about to cause me to wreck our wedding!  Then it was her turn to speak.

The pastor asked her if she would take me to be her lawfully wedded husband.  Would she love me and honor me, through sickness or health, whether rich or poor, until death do us part?  My emotions had charged the room, causing an evident heaviness in the congregation.  We all waited anxiously.  Then my bride spoke.  With eagerness and enthusiasm, dripping with deep southern charm, she boldly proclaimed, “I will!”  It was loud.  It was proud.  And it changed everything.  Joy and laughter filled the room.  My heart instantly calmed.  I was a new man with her by my side.  Her two simple yet profound words ushered us into our happily ever after!

Our wedding day will forever stand out in my heart and mind as one of the very best moments of my life.  I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful woman to stand beside me.  Yet she did so much more than simply show up on that day.  Kerri worked hard to plan and prepare for our wedding day.  Every flower, every guest, every attendant, every moment had her stamp upon it.  She wanted nothing more than to make our union the very best she possibly could.  Sure, I had my part.  But it was her effort that filled my heart to overflowing.  It was her determination to be her very best for me that assured me this woman would be my best partner until death does cause us to part.  She wanted me as her husband and she wanted to be my wife.

In John 14:1-3, Jesus shares words that have become such incredible comfort for Christ-followers.  “I go to prepare a place for you.”  Yes, Jesus ascended to the Father in Heaven.  We can’t tangibly touch him, audibly hear him, or sit next to him right now.  We find hope and comfort because he promises to return.  His first-century listeners heard something more than simple comfort in those words.  This was wedding engagement/betrothal.  In the first century, a wedding was arranged and then groom would return to his father’s house to build a room onto the home for the bride and groom occupy.  The wedding couldn’t take place until this task was down.  When complete, the groom would return to claim his bride.  The town would celebrate.  And then the two would be united and become one.  (See Matthew 25:1-13 for a picture of the grooms return.)  First century listeners heard Jesus words as a pledge and promise that a wedding would take place when he returned.

We wait and hope for our “Happily Ever After.”  Our BIG day, our wedding day with the very Son of the living God, will come when he returns for us.  Until then, what do we do?  We prepare!  We wedding plan.  We ready ourselves.  We demonstrate our love for our groom through our willingness to become everything our groom (Jesus) desires for and from his bride (the Church).   Here are some basic wedding planning tips to help us prepare for that BIG Day:

  1. Choose Your Bridal Party – Who are the people closest to you who can help you ready yourself for Jesus?  A Maid-of-honor or a Best-man help make certain details happen.  They hold the bride or groom accountable.  Who have you invited to hold you accountable to become the best bride you can be for Jesus Christ?
  2. Invite Guests – Are you so excited about Jesus that you want others to know?  We invite guests because we want them to share in our moment.  We put announcements in the paper and all over Facebook.  Are you excited and proud to be married to Jesus?  Share the Good News.
  3. Get Fitted for the Dress – Through the Holy Spirit, we are clothed in righteousness.  Nothing better or more beautiful than that.  But will we fit in the dress?  Get in shape, both physically and spiritually.  Ready yourself for that BIG day so that you will look your very best.  Don’t just show up…prepare so that your groom (Jesus) will be proud to call you his.
  4. Learn from Counsel – Take time to gain wisdom from those more knowledgable and experienced than you.  Pre-marital Counseling is an essential part to planning for a great wedding and marriage.  Who is training you?  Are you an eager student wanting to be the best eternal partner for Jesus?

Our Happily Ever After could come at any moment.  Jesus promised to return.  Upon that return, we, The Church, will become eternally and fully one with Jesus.  Heaven isn’t dream fulfillment.  Heaven isn’t harps and clouds.  Heaven is marital bliss with Jesus Christ.  And if marriage to Jesus doesn’t sound like something you desire, then I have a fair warning:  Heaven will be hell.  If you’ve ever been in a undesirable marriage, you know what I mean.  Jesus will be the perfect eternal spouse.  He has sacrificed his life for his bride.  He has clothed her in his righteousness.  If thats not what you want for eternity…then you will be greatly disappointed.  But if you come to know Jesus’ love, and you desire Him forever, than Happily Ever After is right around the corner.

May we prepare our selves for that BIG day.  May we ready ourselves to be the best and most beautiful bride the Universe has ever witnessed.  May we hear Jesus’ words, “Well done!” as we prepare ourselves through accountability, invitation, disciplined effort, and eager learning.  May our “I will” to Jesus fill his heart as he has filled ours.  Then it truly will be Happily Ever After!

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