MY BEAUTIFUL BRIDE
(A revelation of the future glory of THE Church - THE Bride of Christ)
Jesus Did It!
By: Norm Rasmussen
I want to share a spiritual experience I had on my wedding day, which I believe sheds some light on a portion of scripture from God's Word.
In Revelation 21:9-11, it reads: Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
First off, allow me to be totally honest about something. I WAS your typical mountain boy when it came to much refinement and appreciation for the finer things in life, before I married my sweetheart, Kathleen. A wedding was something you hurry up and get over with so you can get out of your 'monkey suit and tie,' and start enjoying your honeymoon.
Our wedding date was June 19, 1982. Kathleen and I had both wanted an outdoor wedding. Carol King, Kathleen's sister, and her husband, Neal, had given us permission to have the wedding at their house, in Holland, Michigan. They had a beautiful back yard, which made the setting ideal. The only problem with having an outdoor wedding at that time of the year is the high possibility of rain.
As fate would have it, rain clouds moved in a few days before the scheduled wedding date, and the Friday evening before the wedding, we rehearsed INSIDE the house while it poured buckets of rain outside. The weather forecast for the next day was 'MORE rain in heavy amounts.'
Everyone in the wedding party were Christians, yet my little bride-to-be stood alone in her faith, saying that we WERE going to have an OUTDOOR wedding, because she had prayed and was trusting the Lord to clear the skies overhead by the time the wedding got underway. Most of us kind of snickered inside, believing she was doing a lot of wishful thinking, expecting the skies to clear when the weather forecaster was certain it would be raining torrents for the next several days.
Saturday came and sure enough the weather forecaster was right, which we all knew he would be . . . with one exception. Kathleen was confident we were going to have blue skies and warm temperatures to enjoy her special wedding day. I KNEW the wedding would be held inside, but I kept silent, letting her learn 'the hard way.'
By noon the rain stopped over Neal and Carol's house. By wedding time, which was 2:00 PM that Saturday afternoon, the clouds had parted overhead and there was nothing above us but pure blue skies and a temperature in the low 70's! What was so amazing was that all around us there were dark rain clouds, but directly overhead, the sky was clear. To say the least, everyone present began to raise some eyebrows at each other . . . wondering WHERE Kathleen had gotten so much faith to believe God for the sudden change in weather. I guess the moral of this portion of the story is to never underestimate what God will do for a special lady on her wedding day when she gets serious in her faith with God, right?
Moving on . . . as Kathleen was inside the house getting ready for the wedding, I needed to go inside the house as well to use the restroom. (Nervousness does make a person need to heed the call of nature more often than usual if you know what I mean.) But my bride protested! She did NOT want me to see her in her wedding gown until the wedding started, and she ordered her attendants to NOT let me into the house. I could use the neighbor's restroom, or go out back in the bushes.
Now you've got to know, nature was calling BAD. I mean, real bad. When a man needs to fulfill that nature call, seeing his bride's wedding gown before its time is no big deal! 'A wedding gown is a wedding gown -- what's the big deal. If you've seen one, you've seen them ALL,' I thought to myself. Honestly, I was a bit perturbed by her being so 'locked into tradition' about a man not being able to see his bride until that moment when she steps out from behind the door, and there she stands . . . in all her beauty and radiance.
I don't recall now where I located that much needed restroom, yet nevertheless, I still thought it was a bit overdone not letting me use the most convenient one -- the one she was using to get herself ready.
It was 2 o'clock. The musicians were playing and singing. Friends were seated, waiting for the wedding to begin. Everyone was in place, including myself, standing up front, waiting for Kathleen to exit the house and 'get the show on the road.'
THEN it happened. She stepped out the sliding patio door, and stood there, allowing me to gaze at her. I wonder what was going through her mind at that moment? Was she in semi-shock, hardly able to believe that this day had REALLY arrived for her after trusting God for so long for a husband? I couldn't know what she was thinking, but I will never forget that moment in time in which the Holy Spirit made a move on me that caught me so totally off guard.
"Take a GOOD look at her, Norm," the Holy Spirit suddenly spoke powerfully to my inner being. "Look how beautiful she REALLY is in that gown."
Somehow God supernaturally removed some scales from my mountain boy eyes at that moment, and I was NOT just looking at a mere human being, no matter how beautiful of a human being she WAS and IS. I was looking at THE Church, THE Bride of Christ, THE holy City, THE holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God (I hope you catch this!) . . . God was enabling me to peer into the future -- to get a glimpse of what His Son Jesus was going to SEE and FEEL when God the Father reveals the fullness of HIS gorgeous, spotless Bride to Him.
I got choked up beyond what words could possibly describe. A flood of emotion and tears built up inside me. HOW could you have been so insensitive, I demanded to know of myself?! HOW could you have been so callous, so selfish, so hardened to something so precious . . . so meaningful . . . so glorious? Here you were so concerned about going to the restroom and you ALMOST missed a moment in time that could NEVER be experienced or duplicated the way I was being allowed to experience it at that moment.
I began to tremble inside. I didn't think I was going to be able to recite my words to her. I just wanted to burst out bawling like a big, overgrown baby.
"God, please help me get my composure. Please don't let me start bawling like everything inside me WANTS to, please?"
She began slowly walking towards me. Every eye was on her. 'God - she is SO beautiful. I don't deserve ANYONE that beautiful - that PURE.'
"That's YOU, Norm," the Holy Spirit spoke to my inner being. "That's YOU when you didn't believe I existed. That's YOU . . . when you were living in sin and rebellion. That's EVERY sinner who has been washed in the blood of Jesus. That's how PURE and RADIANT and GLORIOUS and BEAUTIFUL every sinner who has repented will look like on that day when My Son will gaze at his HEAVENLY BRIDE.
That's what He DIED for. That's what He gave EVERYTHING for. That's what He's patiently been waiting for all this time . . . to be able to see His beautiful bride that has been so tattered and torn. He took the ugliest there was. He took the whores and the derelicts. He took the drug addicts and the hate mongers. He took the murderers and the rapists. He took the God haters and the Satan lovers. He took the worst of humanity and gave them to Me to make Him a beautiful bride. You think He'll be HAPPY with the Bride I've fashioned for Him?"
I couldn't take anymore. The tears burst forth and my body shook. This was such a priceless moment . . . such a PRICELESS encounter I was having with God, and I had been so insensitive, so callous. 'Oh God, I love you so much . . . Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this moment with me. I know you didn't HAVE to. Please forgive me . . . please NEVER let me forget this moment - ever.'
Kathleen my Bride moved ever closer. Was SHE experiencing what I was experiencing, I wondered? I couldn't wait to get alone with her and compare notes. I couldn't wait to share with her what was going on inside of me -- what God was doing. Yet I had no choice but to wait. I didn't dare disrupt the wedding ceremony.
She approached and stood proudly at the side of this callous mountain boy. The two of us turned and faced Pastor Ron Hirdes. The ceremony was underway. Jesus and His bride were about to become officially ONE, in a strange, unexplainable sort of way. No - I didn't think of myself as Jesus, and Kathleen, the Bride of Christ . . . and yet I found myself sort of transfixed into that futuristic moment in time when the Bride of Christ will gaze upon Her Husband - Jesus, and His eyes will be glittering with joy and delight in what He sees . . . the MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN FOR ALL TIME AND ETERNITY.
In the beginning, she was the ugliest (I'm speaking of you and I here, we the Church.) She was the LAST woman any man would pick for a wife. NOW she is the most DESIRABLE. She was the most despicable whore ever to sell her body to any other . . . but NOW she is the most PURE. She was a murderer of babies and a murderer of innocent adult victims . . . but she NOW couldn't harm a fly without feeling remorse.
As I attempted to concentrate fully on the words Pastor Ron was sharing yet found myself having a hard time doing, I could see in my mind's-eye Jesus looking over at His Father and giving Him the biggest smile a Son could ever give His Dad. In that smile came the silent words, 'Dad, you sure know how to PICK 'EM!'
The wedding proceeded. When that moment came for me to slip that glittering diamond on Kathleen's ring finger, the spiritual encounter continued:
'The ring Jesus will put on the finger of HIS bride will be made of blood. His shed blood on the cross of Calvary. The GOWN she will be wearing? That TOO will be fashioned by His shed blood. Her BEAUTY? That's WHY she will be so beautiful. I will take His shed blood and make Him a wife so beautiful and pure and loving that He will marvel for ETERNITY at her. I will be as proud of her as He will be as proud of her. And she will be forever - for eternity - be humbled at her own stunning beauty . . . wondering why SHE was chosen to be the most beautiful of all . . . when she was the most LEAST DESERVING.'
Later that evening when Kathleen and I were alone together, I shared with her my encounter with God. She had no idea what had been going on all the while it had been happening. She had merely been enjoying each moment as it unfolded, which could only be expected.
The last thing I said to her that night, before falling asleep, was this: "Honey, thank you SO MUCH for sticking to your guns and NOT letting me see you in your beautiful wedding dress before I was supposed to. Please forgive me for being so insensitive?"
She did forgive me because she knew she wasn't marrying anything close to a Jesus. Just a plain old callous mountain boy that needed a lot of help, and a merciful patient Savior who was going to have to give her a lot of help on the new journey she was about to begin.
For those of you out there who might be going through hard times; for those of you who may not be gifted with natural beauty; for those of you who feel so bad about yourselves inside, who have little or no self-worth . . . REMEMBER . . . you are the most gorgeous human being God ever fashioned if you have purposed in your heart to marry Jesus Christ, the Son of God. No matter how you see yourself now, it's NOT the way God the Father sees you. He sees you ALREADY COMPLETE, seated with Him in heavenly places, enjoying the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Perhaps NOW you can understand a little bit more about what He is talking about in this portion of scripture:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7 NAS)
To gain even greater insight into this mystery known as "The marriage supper of the Lamb," I would encourage you to read this writing: The Breastplate Of Righteousness
If you would like to read Norm's born again testimony, you can click on this link: http://precious-testimonies.com/BornAgain/L-N/Norm.htm
If you would like to read Kathleen's born again testimony, you can click on this link: http://precious-testimonies.com/BornAgain/h-k/kathleen.htm
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