I love the fact that God calls the Church his Bride. This shows the beautiful level of commitment God has to the people who are trying to follow him. It shows the level of intimacy that he desires with them. It shows the love that a husband is supposed to have for his wife, one that could even get himself killed. God makes a bold statement when he calls us his bride.
I am not a married man (I have had a few girlfriends, and, a few serious ones). And, I also have some really good friends. Good relationships are not for the weak of heart. My best relationships exists when I can call out those I am engaged with. I can share the way they’re being tools. I am also allowed to express my doubts with this person. I can ask questions “Where is this going?” “Do you see this working out?” In the moments of these relationships, these have been the most intimate and growing experiences in my life. I am able to ask for what I need, rather, than staying silent and making sure things are staying, nice, neat and orderly. These are the relationships I am truly engaged with. I am invested in these relationships.
I think it’s a slap in the face to God when we convert to Christianity to get into heaven. We are doing it only because we are afraid to go to hell and we don’t really love God. I imagine this is like marrying a girl because she has nice boobs, but, I didn’t really want to be friends, help raise a family, or, care about who she was, I just wanted to have sex with her. I get something pleasurable without sacrificing much. But, if I wanted to be a good husband, I’d be engaged on her behalf. I’d fight for her. I’d do things for her when she is sick and tired. I’d defend her glory, when others have marred it. I’d fight with her against things that she was passionate about, things that she believed would make our lives better. Things that would make the world better. I’d fight against her, when she was clearly wrong. When she was struggling with a bad habit or sin. In all of this, I’d express my doubts in all of this.
I think God wants this type of relationship with his church. God wants us to be engaged with him. God wants us to express our personal and theological doubts about who he is, rather than suppressing them because “that’s what a good Christian doesn’t have doubts.” God wants us to fight him. God didn’t have a problem with Job when he did it, nor, the other cases in the Bible. God actually delights in it because I am bringing who I am to him, I am trusting him with my personal and spiritual frustrations. God is a God full of wisdom and grace, God is a God who wants to provide, so God will give to us what we need. And, while there is angst, like there are in all of our best relationships, these are the moments of greatest trust and intimacy.
Ideologically, as Saint Augustine puts it “If we can comprehend it, it’s not God.”
Relationally, all great things are worth fighting for. Struggle creates endurance, strength, wisdom and trust.
So be engaged with this God. Be engaged with the God who loves you. Who cares about you. Who cares about your struggles. Who cares about what you care about. Who cares about your questions even more than your answers because your answers can’t fully contain him. Be engaged with this God of beauty, who wants to enrich your life, even when it feels dark and ambiguous.