[forthright] Runaway Brides

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Fri, 06 May 2005 14:53:15 -0500
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

Runaway Brides
by Tim Hall

By now most Americans are familiar with the story
of Jennifer Wilbanks, the 32-year-old medical
assistant who was scheduled to be married this
past Saturday. On the Tuesday before the wedding,
she didn't return home from jogging. The story
made national headlines, and disinterested
observers suddenly became interested. Had her
fiancé, John Mason, done something horrible? Where
was Jennifer?

We sighed with relief when it was reported that
she had been found safe in New Mexico. We then
gasped with disbelief when it was revealed she had
lied about being abducted. It seems Ms. Wilbanks
was suffering from a case of cold feet. But how
she dealt with her fears was nothing short of

One more gasp was heard when it was reported that
John Mason was still willing to marry Jennifer.
She would need help with her problems, he
realized. But his desire to marry her had not

Even more astonishing is the depth of Jesus' love
and patience with us, his betrothed. Our Lord's
desire is to make us his heavenly bride:
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also
loved the church and gave himself for her, that he
might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of
water by the word, that he might present her to
himself a glorious church, not having spot or
wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be
holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:25-27,

A "holy" church? We are tempted to laugh at the
idea, for we know just how soiled our white
garments have become by our unbridled urges to
sin. Yet Jesus keeps seeking us, washing us,
forgiving us. He keeps waiting for us to begin our
walk down the aisle, knowing that wonderful
blessings are in store for his bride. We don't see
forgiveness like this among people. John Mason
will forgive only so many times. But Jesus' mercy
is vast. His love is beyond comprehension.

The story will continue for Jennifer and John. The
outcome is yet unknown, and it's beyond our
control. But the end of our story is something we
can control. Jesus has made the proposal. Will we
accept? Or will we run away (again)?

"For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For
I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may
present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2
Corinthians 11:2).

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