From the beginning, I dreamed of you. Your sea green eyes, wild red curls and the freckles you loathe were my vision. I sang your laugh, placed the dimple in your left cheek, and fashioned the fiery spirit that is your blessing and bane.
As I set in motion all things necessary to bring my dream to fruition, I foresaw all that would happen to keep us apart. Sin begets death. I could not bear to lose you, and I would not force you to be mine. Your forefathers' sin ensured you would be born in bondage. I searched the earth from the beginning to the end of time and there was no one righteous; not one who could free you and the rest of my children from enslavement.
Therefore, I came myself. I became a man. I was tempted in every way just as you are, but remained sinless so that I could die in your place. Your emerald eyes swam with tears in my mind as Roman guards spit on me and mocked my pain. I heard you singing my praises as the scourging ripped the skin from my back. My vision of you held me to the cross more firmly than the nails. I would not deny you the opportunity to live. I would not deny myself your love.
At the perfect moment in time, I placed you on earth. I gave you water, air, food and family. I lavished love and care upon you, eagerly awaiting the day you would return it.
It was a mere second, and an eternity. I sought you tirelessly, bringing my children across your path to point you toward me. Spring breezes called your name, birds sang of my love, and every delight was a gift from me to you.
You were a foolish, headstrong child, but I loved you. You made choices that could have cost you all, but for my protection and patience. I turned them into signposts to show you the way.
One day, a beloved friend led you to me, as a father leads his daughter to her groom. You received my love with joy, and agreed to be my bride. Oh, I delighted in you that day. Your ecstasy was but a shadow of my own. There is no greater joy than to love, requited.
For the next several months, we were inseparable. You thought of me continually, pouring your hopes out in prayer. You dreamed of my love, my touch. You lived to know and serve me. You talked about me to all who would listen.
The day you publicly acknowledged I am your Savior shines in eternity. Like a bride, you came before the world and called me Lord and Husband. You died to self, submerged in water, and rose from that water into new life with me.
You grew more beautiful and confident daily in my presence. You were fruitful, serving your family, church, friends and neighbors with joy. When you were weak, I was your strength. When you suffered, I was your comfort. You did more than you ever dreamed possible, because I lived through you. With me, all things are possible.
At times, life's struggles and blessings distracted you, causing you to feel cold and alone. You forgot that I would never leave and cried with longing, while I hovered, equally yearning to satisfy. You are mine. I will not share you with idols.
Gradually, your sun-kissed hair became a garland of silver. Time, fear, and loss etched creases in your skin. I know and cherish them all.
These later years have been most precious to me. As your body became feeble, your spirit grew strong. While you felt most worn and useless, the lonely hours you filled with prayer moved mountains.
Now you are a golden chalice at rest in my hand, always at my service. It is time. As I lift your veil, you will know me fully.
Come home, my bride.
Debbie O'Connor lives just north of New Orleans with her husband, Jim, and their two children. Jesus has been her savior for 18 years. Contact Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.