"Where Is The Bride?" (April 2009)
I had no idea that I was going to share another dream with you this month. I have sought the Lord for the last week waiting upon Him to tell me what He wants to say to us through the newsletter. Today He quicken me to share another dream. I had this dream several weeks before I had the one that I shared with you last month. This dream deals more with the Body of Christ. Please bear with me as I tell it to you- there are many details that must be brought out.
The whole dream centers around the church I attend but it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily about our church- I believe it’s symbolic of the church as a whole. I dreamed that I went to the church to check things out for an upcoming wedding that I was going to help with. I pulled up in the parking lot and got out. The wedding was not going to be for several days but there were people already there preparing for it. One of the first things I saw was a van that was bringing the flowers. I remember thinking that it was too early to start bringing flowers but the lady was busy taking them out of the van and putting them in the church. I then saw one of my former pastors and his wife. She was busy trying to get the flowers in place. I went up to my former pastor to speak to him and show him my grand baby, who was with me, and catch up on what has been happening in each of our lives. He seemed preoccupied and uninterested. At that point one of our teenage girls came up and he turned his attention to her and began to talk with her leaving me standing there. I then went into the fellowship hall to see what I could do in there since I was not needed outside. When I got inside the fellowship hall I set my grand baby down and left her for a few minutes. The fellowship hall was unfamiliar, it was totally rearranged. There was activity in there also. The cake was already made and sitting on a very low table, barely knee high. There were tables and chairs set up in rows. The sound equipment was set up and one of the deacons was working on the sound speakers. Everyone was so busy getting things prepared, and everyone was doing something. As I looked around at the tables and chairs that were set up in rows. I saw a lot of empty chairs and a few chairs that were occupied. I remember seeing some older people, some little boys and a couple of cute little Oriental little girls sitting at the table. All of a sudden I wondered, “Where was my grand baby?”, hoping she had not wondered off. As I looked for her, I saw her sitting in a chair at the very end of the table. You could barely see the top of her little head because she was so small, but she was there. I decided that my presence was not needed. There was nothing for me to do, everything was taken care of. It seemed as if I did not have a part in that wedding so I decided to leave. I picked up Lexi (my grand baby) so we could go and noticed that she was wet-- her diaper had leaked and got her little clothes wet. As I carried her to the truck to leave, thinking that I would change her when we got home, I decided that I was not going to let that baby stay wet that long. With diaper bag in hand I made my way into the church. It was our old church building-- the Lord has blessed us with a new building now. I entered the front doors. It was so dark. I walked down the hall to the right in the direction of where the pastor’s office used to be. I was hoping to find a room with a bed so I could lay Lexi on and change her diaper. I saw three doors. I knocked on one door before going in. A voice said, “Come in.” I opened the door and there was the bride. Let me describe the scene. The bride was laying on a bed in a room that was dimly lit. There was a night stand with a small lamp burning on it and a chair to the side. Across from the bed was some sort of bench. The bride herself looked to be a girl in her late teens. She had on her wedding gown, it was very lovely but not gaudily ornate. She wasn’t made up and her hair was not fixed, it was just combed. She was pretty but not beautiful. She had been laying on her back on the bed with her dress spread out so as to not wrinkle it.
She got up to welcome me into the room. She seems so glad to see me, or at least someone. I wondered why she was in there alone away from anyone else and all the other activity that was going on in preparation for the wedding. I also wondered why she was there at all with her wedding dress on- as I said earlier, the wedding was still several days off. I told her that I needed to change the baby. She tried to help and offered me a box of tissues to clean the baby with. I told her thank you but I have some wipes in the diaper bag. I sat down in the chair so I could look through the diaper bag. As I was sitting there searching for a diaper, she was standing before me and made the oddest statement directed toward me. She said, “I wonder if this will work?” She was talking about her upcoming wedding. I gave her some reassurance but the dream ended before I could talk in length to her.
I hope I haven’t bored you with too many details but each one is significant. I believe that this dream represents the Bride of Christ/His church. The interpretation that He has given me deals with where His church is “spiritually” speaking at this time. Through the dream the Lord showed me that the church is more interested in their positions and doing their “works” than they are on the things that are most important-- like preparing a bride for Christ. Christ is the bridegroom and He is returning (soon) for His church. Then there will be a marriage feast that takes place between Him and His bride, the church.
In the dream as I started to leave, I was sadden because there was nothing for me to do, everything was taken care of by somebody. As I went into the church to find a place to change Lexi I was surprised to find the bride in there. The bride, in our culture, is the most important figure in the wedding. More important than music, cake, flowers, attendants. You can have a wedding without a cake but not without a bride.
(Let me preface everything that I am going to say by saying that there are faithful members of the body of Christ, not everyone is included in this, but as a whole this is where we are.) How does this young bride-to-be represent where the church is today? First, she was laying down on a bed being still so she would not wrinkle her dress. The church is suppose to keep her wedding garments spotless, but that is not our only calling. We are a living “organism”, and whatever is alive is moving. We are not to sit down and just wait for His return and make sure that we will make it. It reminds me of the parable that Jesus taught of the talents. “Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.” (Matthew 25:24,25) This man did nothing extra, he wanted to make sure that when the lord returned he would be able to give back to him what he left him with- he didn’t want to risk losing it and having nothing. Many Christians don’t want to take the “risk” and go into the world and compel others to come to Christ for fear of getting too close to the world and getting their garments dirty. So they sit back and do nothing but wait and work at keeping themselves clean. By the way, the lord called that servant “wicked and slothful”. “His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant.” (verse 26a)
Secondly, why was she laying down? There is preparation for the wedding ceremony and feast that needed to be going on. There were invitations to send out. There was plenty for her to do besides lay there and wait. The church is laying down on the job. We are relaxing on comfortable beds while the world is going to hell, while there are lost people who need to be told about Jesus, while there are hurting people who are looking for hope and help. We may make up the bride but we still have a commission to fulfill. Just because the bride is the bride doesn’t mean she can lay back and do nothing, neither can we. Before the wedding is not the time to relax, it’s the time to work to get everything in order. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4) “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.” (Matthew 22:9) “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
This young bride had on her wedding dress but she did not have on any makeup, her hair was not fixed, she had on no adornments- jewels, tiara, veil. Where is the “beauty of Christ” in the church? Are we dressed in righteousness, holiness, meekness, joy, peace, humility, praise? Are we adorned with love and devotion for our Savior? Is there something that is seen in us that separates us from others and identifies us as the bride?
The bride was alone. Why is that? Where were her attendants? Where were those who would help her prepare? When I got married, my mother was there for me- fixing my hair, helping me with my veil, pointing out any flaws, making sure everything was perfect. I did the same for my daughter, plus we had a house full of friends helping her with every detail. Where are those who are helping the bride make herself ready? Where are the teachers training her, the pastors preparing her, fellow brothers and sisters encouraging her? Where are our fathers and mothers in the faith? Sadly, most of the body of Christ is left on their own to “fin for themselves”. Where is the unity? Where is the edifying of one another? Do we bear each other’s burdens? Are we lifting up the hands that hang down? Are we weeping and rejoicing with one another? Lone sheep are easy prey for wolves. When you are alone, laying down on a bed of comfort just waiting, that is a perfect opportunity for the enemy to come against your mind and try to plant his thoughts and lies. As in the dream. When she got up off of the bed and came around to where I was, she made a statement in a question form, “I wonder if this will work?” She was sincere in her question. She had hope in her voice, it wasn’t said in fear but not in assurance either.
The church has listened to the lies of the enemy for so long. We have lost our ability to discern what is truth and what is not. We have lost our faith. We have hope, but faith gives substance to what is hoped for. We are filled with unbelief- our lifestyles testify to that. Have we lost our first love, is that why we question? Is that why we are unsure? Are we insecure in whether the Lord truly loves us or not because we don’t have an intimate relationship with Him like we should? What we have has it’s roots in religion, in works, in deeds, in church attendance, but does it have them in love. Or have we lost our first love and therefore we question because we know how we feel so maybe He feels the same way- lost His love for us?
She was laying in a dimly lit room. All the light that was shining was from a small lamp on the bed table. Is this where the church is- sitting in the dark? Are we aware of what is taking place around us? Are we aware of the lateness of the hour? Are we disconnected from the events of the outside world because our “spiritual eyes” have become accustomed to the dim light? The world sits in darkness but He has called us out of darkness into the light. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) And He has not only called us to the light, but to be light. Do our lives reflect that little lamp on the bed table- barely shining hid under a lampshade? “Ye are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14a,16) “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15)
There was one thing I didn’t notice in the room- a clock. She had no concept of time. She didn’t know if it was time for the wedding to begin or not. If I had been someone who was going in there to tell the bride that the ceremony has started, she would have been caught unaware and unprepared. Jesus gave us a story about ten virgins- five were prepared for when the time came and five weren’t. If we aren’t preparing, just asleep and waiting, will we be caught unaware like the five foolish and miss entering in when the cry is given, “The bridegroom cometh”? “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” (Matthew 25:5-8)
When I first went in the room, and told her why I was there-- I needed to change the baby’s diaper-- she offered me a box of tissue to help clean her up with. I told her, “No, thank you, I have her diaper bag with her wipes.” She offered tissue to dry the baby with because that was all she had and all she knew to give me. She wanted to help but she was immature and unprepared. Is the church immature? Are we using fleshly methods to respond to the needs? Are we spiritually or carnally minded? Are we prepared to meet the needs as they arise- and they will arise? What solutions are we offering those who pass our way and are in need? Are we falling short of giving them what they truly need? Are we trying to find something to make due with? “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
When I went into the room where she was, she was genuinely glad to see me, she made me feel very welcomed, she was truly concerned about why I was there and sincerely wanted to help. The church has so much to offer- the compassion and love of Christ, peace in a world of turmoil and confusion, hope in dark times. We are a reflection of the character and nature of Christ, who is love-- the world needs that. But we are not using what we have been given. There was a contrast in that room. It was between the bride and me. We both saw a need- baby with a wet diaper. We both wanted to meet the need. We both had compassion for the baby. We both were willing to take care of her. The difference was that I had the right things to do it with. I was prepared, I had the diaper bag with all the implements that were needed to change the baby. When I used them, her need was met, she was no longer wet, she was comfortable now, she was happy again. The Lord has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through Christ Jesus, He has equipped us with everything we need to be fruitful in every good work. He’s given us His word, delegated authority to speak in His name, His Holy Spirit to lead us, guide us and empower us to be witnesses, armor to protect us, His presence to go with us. But we have to use the gifts He has made available to us.
The end result if we do? Let’s go back to the fellowship hall in my dream. Remember I told you that I saw tables and chairs set up and that there were people sitting around them? That is the end result. The souls of men and women, boys and girls, the old and the young, people from every kindred, tongue, tribe and nation, the great and the small. My Lexi was there- she was the smallest one at the table, but no one is left out. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9,10) “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)
This is not a message of condemnation. It’s a message of hope, revealing God’s love and mercy toward us. He is coming and He is coming soon. He has bid us all to come to the marriage feast. He is not willing that any should perish. He desires to give a bride to His Son. He is letting us know that we aren’t prepared for that day but He wants us to be. Heed His word and take it to heart and prepare yourselves. The bridegroom is on His way and He has prepared a glorious home for us with Him forever in heaven. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7)