Paul declares that marriage is the “beautiful design of the Almighty, a great and sacred mystery—meant to be a vivid example of Christ and his Church” (Eph 5:32, The Passion). Marriage is meant to be a picture of the Messiah’s love for His bride, and in this article, I will draw on my own love story with my wife to speak about the longing, the promise and the hope of our Messiah’s return.
A Romance 14 Years in the Making
It all started back in 2004 when I visited an evening Church service in Box Hill, Melbourne. As the service was drawing to an end, I asked the Holy Spirit to speak to me – and was surprised by what I heard! I felt His gentle voice say to me – ‘are you ready for marriage?’. Being only 20 years old at the time, I replied ‘Lord, prepare me!’.
In my mind, I thought preparation wouldn’t take long – and immediately and expectantly began to keep my eyes out for that special someone. Little did I know the journey that would lie ahead! I didn’t meet that special someone that week, nor the next week, nor the next month or even the month after that. As the years slowly went by, I kept looking for the right one, only to have my hopes dashed again and again. At times I got so despondent, that I even had to put aside the vision of marriage!
In November 2011 – after seven years of this journey – I wrote down a prayer about my future wife which I began to pray regularly.
The years continued to go by, and God’s promise of marriage seemed as far away as ever.
Little did I know that during this very time – November 2011 – God was at work on the heart of a young lady named Sarah on the Gold Coast. She had just lost her Dad to cancer, and when she visited Church on the day of his death, she asked God for a new vision to sustain her for the time ahead. To her surprise, she felt God speak to her about getting married. “You’re not really saying marriage are you Lord?”, she asked. The next day, a friend of hers – not knowing the situation – came visiting and told Sarah “I feel to give you this”. It was her wedding veil from her own wedding more than 20 years earlier.
Being assured of God’s promise, Sarah too had a journey of waiting, hoping and believing – intertwined with moments of despair and frustration as she waited for the promise. The years seemed to go by for her as well, and her hopes of various guys along the way also came crashing down. However, ultimately, the hope Sarah had in her heart sustained her through the journey. It even caused her to buy a wedding dress – 5 years before we met!
Finally – on the 9th of March, 2018 – Sarah and I met and hit it off quite quickly. As I learned of Sarah’s journey, I realised that from the very time I began to pray in Melbourne, God had been at work answering that prayer. It was only now – 6 years later – that I could see the answer to prayer sitting right in front of me! God is truly faithful to answer prayer and keep His promises! We ended up getting married on the 11th of November – 7 years to the month since I had first begun praying and since God had begun speaking to Sarah.
Waiting for the Promise
Many of us have been waiting for God’s promises to come to pass in our personal lives. Perhaps we have been praying for our loved ones for years, with seemingly little or no change. As the months and years have passed, the promises have seemed further away than ever.
May our story encourage you today that our God will keep His Word! Although the promise may seem afar off, don’t despair and don’t lose hope. Truly He will bring about His Word in its season – and when it comes to pass, you too will be able to look back and see how God has been at work all along to fulfil His Word and answer your prayers.
The Promised Heavenly Wedding
The Church has a tremendous promise from Jesus – that He will one day return for us – for His beloved bride. As the years have gone by, we too have got our hopes up at times. For example, back in the 80’s, a book was written called ’88 Reasons Why Jesus will Return in 1988’. After He failed to return in ’88, a new book was written with 89 reasons why He would return in 1989!
Unfortunately, the church’s expectancy of His return on those dates, only led to disappointment and discouragement. Just as I at times put aside the vision of marriage, so much of the Church has put aside her expectancy of the Lord’s soon return.
I believe Jesus has given us His promised return for a reason – not that we should put it aside, but that we should embrace the hope. Hope sustained Sarah and I during our difficult moments and during the long journey of waiting. I am convinced that the hope of the Lord’s return for us – His chosen Bride – is likewise crucial to sustain the Church in the dark days that lie ahead.
Hope causes us to live differently. Hope gives us a sense of expectation and excitement. Just as hope caused Sarah to buy a wedding dress 5 years ahead of time, so the hope of the soon return of the lover of our souls causes us get ready with the excitement of an expecting bride.
I believe it is time for the Church to hope again. Time to hope that God has heard our prayers and will fulfil His promises to us on a personal level. Time to hope again that He will indeed return soon for His Beloved Bride. And time to look forward with the riveting excitement of a bride – to that great Heavenly wedding which is to come.
For a fuller version of this story on DVD, go to https://shalomisrael.com.au/ps-enoch-and-sarah-lavender-the-jewish-wedding
Enoch Lavender was born in Australia, raised in Norway, spent time living in China and is now based in Melbourne, Australia. He has been studying Hebrew and the Jewish roots of our faith for the past decade, and has a keen interest in the Middle East from a Bible prophecy perspective.