Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Master Plan

A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 
and the two shall be one flesh.This is a great mystery, 
but I speak concerning Christ and the church
Ephesians 5:31-32; NKJV

My husband and I met in High School after my next-door neighbor Karen and I picked him out of the annual to be the best candidate to be my date to Winter Festival Dance.  We got all the way to the “B’s” when her finger stopped over Mike Bahr’s picture.  Karen was adamant that I consider him as a serious option.  Studying Mike’s picture, I was surprised that we didn’t know each other.  My friends were all dating friends of his; we ran in the same circle.  He was taller, and bigger than I was,..hmm a good prerequisite…and into sports like me.  As soon as my friend reported  “He would treat you like a queen”, the search was officially over.  I closed the annual shut, and the strategizing began.  (Mike still says he feels like a cheap piece of meat when I tell this story)

I pursued Mike over the next two weeks prior to the dance.  I stood next to his locker after lunch and noted he was the first one back from the cafeteria every day (something about an ability to eat large of amounts of food quickly, I was told).  The two of us stood in the hall with plenty of opportunity, but all I could manage to say was “Hi” and he a polite “Hi” back.  Things looked dismal, until his best friend’s dad found out I was interested in “Tootsie”.  After his basketball game one night, 6’3” Tootsie and Mr. Teaford stood by the drinking fountain in the school gym when I “happened” to walk by.  Mr. Teaford took one look at me and said, “Mike, can’t you see this young lady is trying to get your attention?  Don’t be stupid, son.  You two are going to the next dance!”

I was mortified, but elated when Mike agreed. We went to the dance and Mike did treat me like a queen. Even to this day, he is thoughtful, tender hearted, and generous. My friend Karen had made a great selection.

Dec 12, 1980 was our first date.  It is an anniversary we still celebrate because it marks the beginning of our relationship that eventually led to marriage on March 2, 1985.  During the 5 years in between a lot of drama happened.  We attended different colleges after High School and broke up for a couple years.  Shortly after we got back together, Mike took his first police job in another city.  For the next year, we traveled 2½ hours each way to see each other on the weekends.  What a relief when we finally were together as husband and wife!!  

Every married couple has a story to tell with key dates and events…and usually some drama!   An old girlfriend surfaced, a break up occurred, family interfered, or separations took place.    One of the revelations I had recently is that my relationship with Jesus is like that of a couple that eventually marries.  This relationship also has a story with key dates and events…and yes, a lot of drama!!  

This revelation and corresponding study has deepened my relationship with Jesus.  Like a vein of gold, some spiritual truths are easily noticed on the surface of God’s Word, but much of the richer ore is found as we dig deeper and mine it out in Bible Study.  The bridal symbolism woven throughout scripture requires some digging and mining to understand.  But the richness revealed is so worth it. 

The first nugget I found when digging into the bridal paradigm was that God is planning a traditional Jewish Wedding for Jesus and his Church.   We read about this future wedding in the Book of Revelation.  Jesus, the bridegroom, returns for His church and together they begin a new life, ruling and reigning over God’s Kingdom. 

So, if you like being treated like a queen, Sistah, it’s coming!  But before we sit on the throne, there are some key events that need to take place.  Ancient Jewish wedding customs are very different than American ones.  Jewish marriages were arranged by the Father of the groom.  Once a bride was found some key events took place before the bride and bridegroom were joined together as man and wife.  These key Jewish events were the Betrothal, the Separation, the Abduction, and finally the Wedding Feast and Celebration. 

Another nugget of truth I found is that in scripture, these key Jewish bridal events are experienced as annual celebrations called Jewish Festivals.  There are 7 Festivals in the Old Testament:  Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles.  Each one of these Festivals celebrates an anniversary of a key date in our relationship with Jesus. 

I know this is a lot to digest, but I’m just giving you a taste of what is to come.  We’ll be taking these Jewish Wedding customs, connecting them to the Jewish Festivals, and then applying them to our relationship with Jesus.  You will be blown away how this fits together into one big Master Plan that God made for Jesus’ Wedding.   A plan has been in place before the foundations of the world. 

This week, I had some family drama….some days Sistahs, it’s just so easy to get discouraged.  But as I write this blog, I am reminded again that God’s Master plan includes a happy ending:  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”  (Rev 21:3-5; NIV)   

-- Laurel Bahr

Video Accompaniment: Kenney's Master Plan for Andrea- The Proposal.

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