The Divine Love Story - God's Quest for an Eternal Companion
Love in the Trinity in Eternity Past
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.John 1:1-2
... for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.John 17:24Before the first light illumined the dark, before the morning stars sang together and the angels shouted for joy (Job 38:7), before the creation of all that ever existed, in a time and place untold, outside the boundaries of creation itself, He loved. God, three in one, perfect in unity, the Trinity of ultimate, purest love overflowing from one to another.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - wholly in love with each other. The Father cherishing His one and only Son with the boundless passion He has for Him. The Son’s heart determined to please His Father with all that He is - loving Him unrestrainedly with all His heart, soul, mind and strength. And the Holy Spirit, the wind of God, blowing on the flames of the eternal infernal of affection within the God-head.
God is love (1 John 4:8). He has always been. Fire. Passion. All-consuming. Unchanging. The perfect fellowship of the Trinity. Complete, blameless, abounding in love and joy. Out of this overflow, utterly uninspired by any notion of lack or need, but driven by love's desire to give itself to another, the Holy One determined that the time had come to fulfill a dream they had from eternity past.
The Father's Desire to Give His Son a Wife
... so that to Christ I might present ... a pure virgin.2 Corinthians 11:2In His endless love for His Son and infinite generosity towards Him, the Giver of every good and perfect gift wanted to endow His Son with a companion. A Bride for His Beloved, and children unto Himself. Someone to share into and enjoy the love and fellowship of the Trinity, someone who would delight in His Son as He delighted in Him. Someone who would feel what they feel for each other, who sees what they see in each other, someone to know them as intimately as they know each other. Not just to observe like the angels, but to partake and receive. Someone else they could lavish their love upon. A fourth among the Three. Not out of need - as if there were any lack in the perfection of the Almighty -, but out of desire. Not someone who would serve them, but someone they could serve, someone they could give themselves away for - because this is what love desires, to wholly give itself away.
The Making of the Bride
Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.'Genesis 1:26
For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts.Isaiah 54:5And so within a garden, the Potter fashioned a being the like of which had never existed before. A human. Created in His own image. A being with a free will, with emotions,with the capacity to love, and the ability to choose. An equal. A companion fit for His Son. He Himself made the ones He would then get to woo, pursue and love through it all. Till they fall in love with His Son, and choose Him voluntarily. The Creator of all things, apart from whom nothing came into being (John 1:3), He made His Own eternal companion, His Own Bride. He formed her inward parts, He wove her (Ps 139:13). She was fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14), and He saw that it was good (Gen 1:31).
And there they were, the Bride and the heavenly Bridegroom, enjoying each other's company as they walked side by side through the garden in the cool of the day. His design was flawless, all that He ever wanted, His perfect match, the bride of His dreams, everything excellently laid out for her to be His partner forever, a receptor of His love, and a sharer into His affections, destined to love, destined to rule, destined to be forever by His side.
His Bride, created as man and woman becoming one flesh in the holy covenant of marriage as a picture for the intimate union with God that they were ultimately made for (Eph 5:31-32), so that humanity would never forget what all of life comes down to. The purpose of life engraved into our very makeup: To be loved and to love in return. To be loved by the Son, and to love Him back (Mt 22:37).
The Forsaken Bridegroom
As a woman treacherously departs from her lover, so you have dealt treacherously with Me.Jeremiah 3:20Everything was perfectly laid out. The conditions were ideal for love to blossom and never wither. Nowhere else would affection grow more easily and blessing flow more readily than in the vicinity of the Beloved.
And yet the Bride ran away, deserted her Lover, forsook the One who is love Himself to turn to other, lesser lovers. She left the fountain of living waters to hew for herself broken cisterns that hold no water (Jer 2:13). Humanity, God’s desired Bride, despised her Maker and Lover, and ran off.
It’s the great paradox: It takes courage to let yourself be loved unconditionally - to be loved for no reason. It takes bravery to grant yourself that which you long for most. It takes strength to receive what you don’t deserve, and to accept what you didn’t earn.
But though His heart broke with the relationship, He didn’t falter. He knew it would happen all along, it didn't take Him off-guard. Instead of puppets of His will, voluntary love is what He wanted all along. And voluntary love demands the right and ability to say no, to decide against Him. She had to know that she really had the choice, not just in theory but in practice, otherwise she would never understand that she was free. And in order for love to be real, she had to choose Him herself. For love isn't real until chosen.
Her choice against Him was no defeat for Him. He saw the end from the beginning, and He knew that this was not the last page of the story. On the contrary, it set up the scene for His great plans and would ultimately serve His greater purposes: The patient, merciful and relentless love of the Bridegroom would shine even brighter.
The Bridegroom Gives It All
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life...John 15:13He had every right to be angry, disappointed, vindictive. He had every right to forget us, to move on, even to punish us. But that’s never been what He was like, and never who He will be. He is holy, utterly other than. And He did the unthinkable: He kept a tender heart, He forgave. The Son, the holy God, clothed Himself in flesh and blood in order to become her equal. God became man, and then He came after her. True to the faithfulness as part of His very nature, He stayed faithful to the unfaithful. And instead of bitterness, He chose to love.
He didn’t just keep His arms wide open, willing to receive her back if she wanted to. No, driven by love's desire to pour itself out for another, in utter vulnerability He gave His life for her by the shedding of His blood. By breathing His last on her behalf, He died to His rights. His mercy triumphed over judgment (Js 2:13), anger, pride and disappointment. He chose to love. He loved her still. She was His choice from the beginning. And in the unlikeliest of places, suddenly His love shone the brightest.
The Cross wasn’t plan B. The Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). He knew from the start that His Bride would cost Him His everything. It was the price agreed upon with the Father. The sacrificial system - that sin demanded the shedding of blood - was His idea in the first place. It was He who came up with it. And by doing so He set up the arena in which once and for all He would prove how dear she is to Him, and how far He is willing to go for the sake of love: He gave His own life to show her that He regards hers just as highly (Isa 43:4). He did it to show us our worth in His eyes, to tell the universe what real love looks like, and to model the love with which He desires to be loved with in return.
The Cross was an expression of the Son’s jealous love for His Bride (Gal 2:20), of the Son’s love to the Father (Phil 2:6-8), and of the Father’s love for His children (John 3:16). It was a love song within the Trinity just as much as it was the ultimate love song to us. It wasn't love pushed to its limits, it was love expressed in its truest form: Laying down one’s life for the sake of another - the very inferno of love that has always resided within Him, the most fundamental meaning and very essence of love.
Overcome By His Love
I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.Jeremiah 31:3
We love because He first loved us.1 John 4:19And there she was. In her depravity, uncleanliness, and shame. Used and then dumped by the false “lovers” she once pursued. Deserving nothing but the darkness she chose, and the rightful punishment on top of it all, as she had so readily thrown herself away. She had no right or courage to ever return to her first love even if she wanted to.
But there He was. Standing right in front of the runaway. His tender mercies written in His eyes that made her know that He had long forgiven her, that He had not forsaken her, that He had not given up on her. In her unfaithfulness, He proved His faithfulness. In her spiritual adultery, He upheld His covenant. When she ran away, His mercy chased her down. When she didn’t choose Him, He chose her (John 15:16). When she became His enemy, He died for her (Rom 5:10). He gave everything where she gave nothing.
No longer loved for no reason. But now loved in spite of a thousand. In her darkness, His love shone the brightest. This love didn’t just prepare a way, it drew her in (John 6:44; 12:32). Wounded by the price He paid and the love He showed, how could we not respond? How could our heart remain unmoved? And so we love. Because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). With His kind of love - the flame of Yahweh, stronger than the grave, fiercer than death, an inferno that floods cannot drown, that storms cannot extinguish. Divine love whose tie isn’t easily broken. Love that is here to stay (Rom 5:5). A love that cannot be overcome (Rom 8:38-39). It was love’s ultimate pursuit. And He had won.
Betrothed to Him Forever
Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love. ... So I swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine, declares the Lord God.Ezekiel 16:8
I will betroth you to Me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord.Hosea 2:19-20Finally, the time for love had come. For now love was true. She had made her choice, and it was Him. She said yes to the One who had loved her from the beginning of the world. He wanted all of her, but how much more had she lost by refusing His gentle request for her hand in marriage? Never again would she want to deny Him herself. He had won her heart. He had won her love. He had chosen her just the same, and now she chose Him back.
And so the Bride is made ready for her Bridegroom. Being washed with water, the unfaithful harlot is again called a virgin on the day of her betrothal - for betrothals in the ancient middle-east were reserved for untouched maidens. He did the impossible: He didn’t just forgive, He restored her to full purity, disregarded her past and made her stand before her as if she had never run away. He didn’t just cleanse, He eradicated her misery completely. He made her new. White, pure, spotless, blameless. Once a harlot, now an untouched Bride - reserved for her Beloved, and only Him.
Vows exchanged once more: “I am Yours and You are mine”. The two promised to each other for good. For in the ancient days it was already at the betrothal that the bond between man and woman became official and permanent, although it wasn’t fully consummated until the wedding day. She became rightfully and irrevocably the Son’s Bride. His Father now also her Father, and the Spirit now with her. Once and for all part of the Divine family, the fellowship of the Trinity.
Longing For His Return
If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.John 14:3
Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am.John 17:24Suddenly He was gone and could nowhere be found. What had happened? Hadn’t He told her, “I long to be with you forever.” Hadn’t He promised Himself to her completely? Hadn’t He spoken to her about His desire to be near her? Why would He leave her then? But He had vanished from her eyes, nowhere to be seen.
She remembered what He had told her. That He is not withholding Himself from her. That He isn’t doing it to tease her. That He isn’t really leaving her but will be with her every moment even when she cannot see Him. That she has His heart for good, and how He tenderly asked her to trust Him. She remembered Him telling her that all of it was about preparing a place for them to live together forever, and that He wants her to know that what He is doing is for them and not against them, and that although it’s going to be hard, it will be worth it in the end, even better than if He had stayed.
And so the time of waiting began, the mourning for the Bridegroom (Mt 9:15), the yearning for the day of their reunion. For having tasted of His love and the joy of His nearness, things will never be okay again without Him.
Knowing He is with her but anticipating a greater reality yet to come, there she is. Waiting expectantly. Searching the horizon patiently. Loving the One she cannot see. Trusting Him as He is trusting her in this brief moment of separation. Making herself ready for the day of His return, their grand moment, the day when He would finally come to marry her. Refusing to let her love grow cold and the lamp of her affection to lose its flame. Waging war against other lovers that are pulling on her heart, trying to win her attention and have her forsake the One she loves. Eagerly watching and waiting and anticipating. Employing all of her strength to store up within her heart affection that she can lavish upon Him when they finally meet again face to face. But until that day the Spirit and the Bride cry, “Come!” (Rev 22:17).
And there He is. As He is preparing His and her final dwelling place, He is waiting with greater longing and anticipating than she can even conceive. Thinking of and praying for her incessantly (Heb 7:25). “Father, I desire that she would be with Me where I am” (John 17:24). Deeply yearning for the day of their reunion, the day of the gladness of His heart (Song 3:11). From the beginning of time, He had been longing to be with the companion He created for Himself - His Bride, the joy set before Him (Heb 12:2), His great delight (Isa 62:4). He knows what it feels like to wait. So with gentle whispers He lets her know, “I'm on my way. I won’t delay. It's just a little while longer. I want to be with you more than you know. I can’t wait either!” (Rev 22:20).
The Wedding of the Lamb
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.Revelation 19:7Once more the morning stars will sing and the angels shout for joy. When He splits the sky, and riding on a white horse He returns for His dearly beloved. When the mourning of waiting will finally have an end. When at last longing finds it fulfillment, and her eyes meet His gaze. When even the last ounce of separation finds its end in a final and everlasting reconciliation of the destined Lovers. He will receive her to Himself once and for all. Finally they will be together, never to be separated again. On that grand moment in the timeline of the universe, the culmination of history of creation, the day of the gladness of His heart, the day when the deepest longings and sweetest desires of earth and heaven finally become reality: The wedding of the Lamb - the conclusion of life as we know it, and the beginning of life as we want it.
The Lamb. Jesus. The Jewish man from Nazareth, fairer than the sons of man, matchless in beauty, love, gentleness and faithfulness. The unrivaled Lover of her soul, the Desire of the Ages now seen by her very eyes, the One called Faithful and True who loved her till the end, who came after her when she didn’t deserve it, who held her when she gave Him up, who surrendered His life and poured Himself out for her, unreservedly.
The Bride. Ready and prepared. Beautiful, blameless, radiant, worthy of her Bridegroom. Wholehearted in her devotion, having learned the love language of her Beloved, equally yoked and utterly given to Him with heart, soul, mind and body. In a twinkling of an eye becoming flesh of His flesh, bone of His bone. His equal. His eternal companion.
And the two finally and irrevocably becoming one, bound together forever, the fourth among the three, the Divine family complete at last, united along with heaven and earth in the New Jerusalem: The prepared dwelling place for the Father, the Son and His bride. No longer apart. Finally together. No longer strangers. Finally home. Her Bridegroom, the purpose of her existence and every single day, the center of her heart, her final destination. Home. It’s been Him all along.
Oh, the grandeur of that day! What a crescendo! What a bridal couple! What a celebration! What a wedding! Attended by all of heaven and earth, celebrated by all of creation. What joy for the newlyweds!
Love Without EndAnd there she is, His Bride, His eternal companion - you and me. Clothed in immortality, we will live with Him forever - with the Son, the Father, the Spirit. Perfect fellowship, intimate union, holy love. Our heart rid of the boundaries and limitations that once painfully restrained our affection for Him who alone is worthy of our all. At last we will love with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. No more hindrances, no more obstacles, no more reservations, no more walls. No more striving to keep the first love ablaze. Just like in the garden, love will flow freely and abundantly again. Holy affection that now is perfected through maturity.
In the age of darkness, His love had overcome us. When other lovers fought for our affection, He became our choice. In the only time frame in the history of creation where love is costly, He poured it all out, and overcome by this love of His, we followed His example. Forever we will tell Him how much His sacrifice meant to us. Forever He will remind us how precious our love response was to Him. Forever He and His bride will live with hearts ablaze for each other, and an ever deepening relationship as millennium after millennium is filled with new experiences together.
He bound Himself to us when He became a human being like you and me forever, the Man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5). He bound Himself to us for good when He decided not to bring us to heaven, but to bring heaven down to earth. He bound Himself to us when He decided to leave heaven once and for all to make earth His dwelling place. Forever He will be God Incarnate, forever He will be the Son of Man, the Jewish Man, the Carpenter of Nazareth, fully God, fully man. Forever He will be our Bridegroom, our eternal companion. Forever we will be His Bride, cherished, enjoyed, precious in His eyes, loved more than we know.
In His endless creativity, our Maker will always find new ways to play the strings of our hearts. Forever we will burn with passion over Him and find new ways, new words to say and things to do to crown Him with our love. This romance will never get boring, will never be drowned by the mundaneness of life. For this is what everything has always been about: Everlasting excitement, infinite exuberance, an unparalleled love story with the Trinity. This is what we signed up for. This is why the universe was brought into existence. The scenery for the greatest love story ever, written by the great Story Teller Himself.
A happily ever after that makes fairytales pale in comparison. A happily ever after that is utterly other than everything we have ever heard. For this is not the end of the story. It’s the beginning of forever.