His Beautiful Bride — An Allegory of The Church
“This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church.”
(Eph. 5:32 — ESV)
The Bride stood before the mirror. Seeing her brokenness in the reflection brought back a flood of memories — the events that took her right arm, severing it at the shoulder. Though physical pain lingered, the emotional scars were greater. Deeper. Phantom pains, too, haunted her often — sometimes causing her to reach out in fitful sleep with her remaining left hand to offer comfort, only to wake and find her fingers grasping dampened bed clothes.
The hour of her wedding, when she anticipated finally seeing the Bridegroom face to face, drew near, and she carefully checked each detail — her hair, her makeup, the placement of the jewelry which adorned her neck and dangled from each ear, gifts from her Beloved. Still, her eyes continued to drift back to the empty space where her limb had once been, its absence mocking her as she allowed her flesh to momentarily overtake her faith. Her remaining hand — with its manicured pink tips — stroked the shoulder where her gown had been carefully tailored to fit an amputee. She gently fingered the tiny glass beads, hand-stitched lovingly by her mother to create something beautiful despite brokenness. But brokenness void of beauty was all the Bride could see in that moment, and an incriminating voice sneered, “How could He love you? What does He see in you? You’re ugly. Broken.”
Tears began to build, despite her desire to hold them back. One’s wedding day wasn’t for crying tears of sadness but only joy. Still grief spilled over, leaving little furrows upon her cheeks. She let them come, no longer able to control the emotions that flooded her heart with each lie of the enemy — his desire to rob her on this day of, if not of the Promised Union, her contentment, peace and joy.
Lifting her face, the Bride looked again at her reflection, distorted by sorrow. Yet, in that moment she sensed a Presence and saw movement beyond. Her Bridegroom was at the door. He drew near and rested His hand, which bared deep scar, upon her right shoulder — a reminder of all He’d endured and the grave injury He’d suffered to save her. Once again, He was rescuing her. Feeling His warmth, their eyes locked in the reflection, and she heard His gentle, affirming voice. “I love you. Despite brokenness, My Bride, you are beautiful.”
In that instant, all lies dispelled, she knew. He called her beautiful. And she was.
“For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim [blurred] reflection, but then we shall see in reality and face to face…” (I Cor. 13:12a — The Amplified Bible)