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Jesus the Bridegroom

“Mabuti pa ang Roma may bagong Papa, AKO WALA!!! (Rome has just gotten a new pope, but why on earth am I still single?)” screamed my gorgeous and gregarious friend Noreen.

I chuckled at the amusing way she phrased her lament, but I must admit that her candor got me to thinking, “Yeah, why are we still unattached at this age?” When I was in my teens, I told myself that I would get married at 29, late by other people’s standards, because I want to be able to pursue my dreams before settling down. Well, I am turning 31 in a few weeks and I am still as single as ever. I’ve been around the world and back, pursued my goals until I outran and eventually outgrew many of them, but I am still alone.

Like Noreen, I long to be part of a couple. But that has obviously not happened yet. And there’s no telling when it will happen. Most of time, I am okay with it. Thanks to God, my family and, of course, my fantastic friends. Yet, there are moments when I wish I can just buy me and my single gal pals our husbands of choice from the nearest Sari-sari store. If only life were that simple. And if only I were that rich.I started praying for my future mate at the age of 12. Two years later, I kidded God, “Don’t tell me you’re going to have me wait for 10 years.” This, if you care to know, is my 19th year of waiting and praying. I am glad God keeps the secret things to Himself. Getting a little exasperated, I told Him in 2001, “God, I have been waiting for 16 years.” Not really expecting an answer, I heard God whisper in my spirit, “I have been waiting since the beginning of time!” That stopped me from grumbling. I realized that God had just unveiled before me a spiritual truth. He was revealing to me the deep cry of His heart.

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Photo: Dream Gown (02-23-05)

It is interesting to note that the Bible begins and ends with a wedding. It starts with Adam and Eve’s garden wedding in Eden and climaxes with the wedding feast of the Lamb in heaven. Author and prophet Derek Prince also pointed out in one of his books that Jesus’ first ever recorded miracle was performed at a wedding—the wedding in Cana where He turned water into wine. All this tells me that I serve a loving and passionate God—a God who authored romance. And He doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with His single children (this writer included!) who dream of one day getting hitched to the right man or woman.

After all, the story of creation is a love story—the story of a God who longed so much to love that He created a whole world of people to whom He could shower His affections. When His world erred, He devised a way to woo her back, in the most chivalrous way He could think of—by leaving the glory of heaven behind, taking the form of a man through Jesus Christ, dying a most gruesome and degrading death on the cross and rising from the dead just so He could take her to Himself. The Bible, in fact, calls us His church, the bride of Christ. And even now, He is at work, trying to get our attention and patiently pursuing us so that we could start a love relationship with Him.

Yes, Jesus has been waiting since the beginning of time for His bride. When it hit me what this meant to God, I told Him that I would commit my life to making His bride ready for Him, a pure and radiant bride that would be deserving of His love. And in this journey, I feel so fortunate to have met men and women who share the same passion. I am especially touched to have met some valiant women who left everything to serve the Bridegroom.

In China, I met Cece. At 23, Cece was living the American Dream. Promoted as manager of a thriving tourist company in Las Vegas, she enjoyed the perks that came along with title—a new car, a luxurious apartment, a fancy office. Then, late one night, she had a dream. “I dreamt of three Chinese kids. They were poor and very dirty and had little clothes and they were crying,” says the soft-spoken Cece, “Although I put their images at the back of my mind, I couldn’t forget them.” At that time, she did not know anything about Asia or the Chinese culture and “didn’t even like eating rice.”

After that epiphany, the career and the perks just didn’t satisfy Cece anymore. She left everything behind and relocated in Beijing, where she met street children who looked very much like the three kids in her dream. Cece single-handedly took care of 35 children in her small home. She had had to deal not just with culture shock, child care duties and disciplinary problems, she also had to play cat-and-mouse with syndicates who used to manipulate these children. Thankfully, the Chinese government intervened. Cece is now managing Wisdom Springs Technical School in the outskirts of Beijing. Her school houses 40 children who are learning about the love of Jesus, while taking English, Math and Computer lessons.

In Camarines Sur, I met Lalaine. At 21, the diminuitive Lalaine started serving the Bridegroom by establishing churches in the remotest areas of Bicol. This she did with another female team partner, until that person went ahead with her life and got married. Undaunted, Lalaine pursued her mission alone, often times taking 3-to-5-hour mountain treks just to reach her wards, sometimes crying all the way. When she reached a town, she would befriend the natives, counsel them, tell them about the of love God and even teach them some practical skills.

When the desires of her heart conflicted with her vocation, she didn’t have a hard time choosing. Two years ago, Lalaine gave up a relationship because the person she was engaged to didn’t share the same vision. At 32, it seemed to be the most absurd choice at that time, considering it might be her last chance of getting married. It was a very painful decision but she found solace in God and in the church. Today there’s no telling how many lives Lalaine has touched because she stuck with that decision. The last time we talked she was teaching values to the local police, was mentoring around 120 soldiers from the army, and ministering to the needs of at least two whole baranggays, which also includes members of the NPA, by the way.

And oh, I am very happy to tell you that 34-year-old Lalaine is getting married this year! God sent Mr. Right a few months after she broke up with her ex-fiancé. Thirty-five-year-old Cece, on the other hand, is happily single in the company of her 40 adopted children, plus Mocha, Butterscotch, and Cream—her Siamese cats. The lives of these two great women speak to me about the limitless power of God, made available to those who are completely yielded to Him.

And so, even as we make the most of our every waking moment, Jesus and I wait on—He for His Bride and I for my future groom. Who knows what will happen next? For now, I rest in the thought that God knows how I feel. Yes, there is a point to all this waiting. If God has been this patient, I’m sure I can be, too. Cheer up, Noreen!

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One Comment

  1. all the waiting is for great purpose…i’m sure your future wedding and marriage will cause every single lonely moment to fade away 😉

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