From Bright Star to Bridegroom




The aim of this article is to honestly chronicle pertinent aspects of the past year of my life and share what God has been doing in me for His glory.  I hope it would be a testimony to the grace and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is edifying to your soul.

Let me begin by a brief introduction of myself for the reader to understand what is shared later. I am 28 years old and hail from a very aristocratic Hindu family. Since our family belongs to a forward or upper caste of Hinduism, conversion to Christianity is not only a rare thing, but also a shameful thing to do. There are so many nominal conversions in India, where the lower castes in order to get better social status convert to Christianity. Conversion thus has a connotation that it is for those who are socially underprivileged or are untouchables. Thus the gospel was very tightly closed to me. I not only took pride in my Hinduism, but also despised other religions. However when I was 17 years old, owing to my struggles with meaninglessness in life, I started reading a Bible which a stranger gave to my Dad. Through the Bible, I met the Person of Jesus Christ. Thus unknown to any Christian or any Church, I became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. For the next three years, though I sought, I never met a single believer. But the Lord faithfully led and fed me with His word. Though those years were marked with opposition and extreme loneliness, I call it my honeymoon years. Eventually in the providence of God, a believer sister met me in college and led me to the church which has been my home church till today. It has been eleven years since I have come to Christ. I now live with a dream to enter ministry soon, as God has graciously blessed me with a calling to pastoral ministry.  I aspire to engage in urban missions in India.

One thing I want the reader to know is that from my childhood, I have greatly struggled with loneliness. It only became worse after I became a Christian. After being a believer, though I was friendly to my unbeliever friends, I couldn’t do everything they did. Thus pretty soon, they found it boring to be with me. Regarding Christians, sure enough I have a good church and a good number of friends, however I am sorry to say I have very few brethren who take real interest in me. What hurts me most is that I still do not have a father in the Lord. Majority of the places I go, I am the one ministering among my peers. At least that’s what people are expecting. Anyway God has deemed it good for me at present to face much of my life and my struggles in loneliness. At my home, I do not have anyone to fellowship with, as my parents are still staunch Hindus.  Though my elder brother is a believer, he got married and moved out. We share a good relationship and I am thankful for him and my sister in law. I became a believer in my room all alone in the presence of God. I pretty much face everyday similarly: God, me, His word and His Spirit, that’s all. Though it is challenging to live so, it has only been for my good. God has used all of it to bless me with a beautiful, intimate and deep relationship with Him, and not to mention the growth in scriptures.

What happened

In August of 2010, a major change happened in this pattern of my life. Through social media and a mutual friend, I came across an American sister in the Lord, who shall remain anonymous. For the aim of this article is not to point fingers at any. I request the reader to bear in mind that this sister is still one of the saints I respect a lot. She was, is and will be one of the godliest woman I have ever known. Nothing shared here is meant to detract that glory of hers. At the outset itself let me make it also clear that certain details about this sister and my relationship with her are disclosed only because they are relevant to the glory of God’s work in my life. In other words this is not a breach of confidentiality and there is so much that I know of her that no one will ever know and will go with me to the grave.

During those days I was working at the Indian office of a Christian IT firm based in Seattle. I had a series of night shifts and during one of those times, we got to know each other better. She was undergoing very many painful and extremely difficult trials for her faith from her family including house arrest. In my characteristic pastoral heart, I took time to minister to her. It was very easy for me to empathise with her loneliness and pain. Soon we became best friends. Little did I know that for her all this meant something else. Unknown to me she was taking my companionship as me showing romantic interest in her. Thus one day when I exhorted her to trust God and love her oppressive unbelieving relative, she broke down and shared with me her whole life story. Just months before I came to her life, she was contemplating suicide. Abusive childhood, dysfunctional family, seemingly failed dreams of ministry and mission, all made her reach the end of herself.  If not for some theologically solid books that God brought before her which fed her with solid illuminations of our great God, she would have committed suicide. She apologized for considering me as more than a friend and promised that she would never pressurize me to do anything. For me it was not just surprising that my actions were giving her such signals, but that she would even think about a relationship between us, considering our age difference.  This is a cultural issue. Back then I was more Indian than I am now and it was shocking to me to consider marriage to someone who is elder to me. However for her it was not. On the other hand, my heart was filled with compassion for this dear soul that I didn’t want to wash my hands off her. We agreed to be friends and see where God led us.

As days, months and years went by, her family abandoned her, sufferings on her side increased and so did my involvement in her life. Though I was thousands of miles away from her connected only by the internet, I became her closest friend, dearest intercessor and strongest encourager. In return she became all of that for me too. We both found a great companion in the other who made our otherwise lonely lives so wonderful. We found we have the same heart cry regarding missions, ministry and life. The compatibility we enjoyed and the companionship we cherished made both of us think this could be God’s leading of us.  Other than cultural biases, I could not find any biblical reason to not love and marry a woman who happens to be elder than me. I not only found that I can love her but I do love her. I saw what a godly woman she is. How she suffered in a godly manner was the greatest commendation of her beauty to me. Silent, prayerful, restraining all anger, bitterness, retaliation, seeking no man's approval or help but committing it all in prayer, enduring reproach, poverty, trials, pains, sicknesses, ridicule etc. - that was her. She soon became to me a bruised reed to care for. I saw in me a masculine passion arising to protect this woman "rejected by men, yet precious to God". Slowly it dawned on me, I would be a fool to sacrifice her. I became much willing to take up any cross to be there for her, if that is to what God is calling me.  In the language of our favourite poet, John Keats, she very much became my Bright Star.

Despite my sins and shortcomings and they are very man that she had to put up with, I had no plan to ditch her but marry her. I had come to a place where I was fully convinced that if God called me to marriage, then there is only one girl I want to marry. All this while, I was constantly looking to God for His guidance and leading. I was asking Him to show me His will and help me obey it. Though I agreed to be with her, it was clear from my side to her that we need to wait on God and discern His will before a serious decision on marriage is taken. Being a long distance relationship, there was much providential favour needed for this marriage to ever take place. By this time, I had taken a break from my work and decided to pursue a degree in English literature in preparation for my seminary days in US.  The plan was that when I come to US, we would consider marriage seriously.

But then came February of 2013. She had to confront my mental sickness, my shortcomings and my sins yet again. I was attacked with depression and anxiety disorder on two consecutive nights. First night I got victory over it, but the second night I succumbed to it. Under anxiety attack, I was jealous for her and almost planned to check on her faithfulness. The plan involved deceit and I came to my senses half way through planning it. I overcame and dropped it. When I met her that day online, she was willing to believe anything I would say about it. I could have covered it, but since I loved her, I decided to confess the truth. It broke her heart, despite mental illness being the cause of it. Though we initially got over it, she had come to an end of herself by then. Her three year experience of my mental instability and the kind of shortcomings and sins it were producing started scaring her. In a matter of few days, the relationship was all over. We took a weekend to pray and at the end of it, she mailed me a voice mail, calling it off. In it she confessed her lack of peace and security to continue in a relationship with an unreliable man like me. She committed me to the love of Jesus Christ and encouraged me to stick to Him for the healing of my mind. She expressed great faith in the Lord’s power to heal me. She was confident that the Lord would change me and deliver me from every mental illness in my life. She graciously exhorted me to stop looking to people for everything and showed me the path to relentless, intimate clinging on to Jesus. She prayed for me at the end of it, thanking God for all the good He did in her life through me, prayed that He will take care of me, bless me with good spiritual acquaintances and above all that we both will glorify Him with our lives. It was a truly godly and commendable way in which she conducted herself through out that voice mail.

There was no further discussion, in fact no discussion ever happened on that mail. A decision - completely unilateral, calling me to comply. She thus walked out of my life, promising that she would be my good friend and sister. In the days to come, without any explanation, those promises of friendship and sisterhood were also suspended. I was blocked from every potential medium through which I could have contacted her. A month later, I got her last mail to me, saying she is  planning to get married to a brother we both knew. Amazingly it was the same brother, whose relationship with her, I was tempted to check under my anxiety disorder. In two months time, exactly on the first day of my first year literature exams, she got married to him.

What she initiated, she herself ended. I felt used. I was devastated and depressed. It was too much. Rejected, yet again. Here goes another Christian I loved dearly. I have lost so many of my dear ones because they want to reject me and have nothing to do with me. I am after all a pathetic Jacob, good for nothing. Being a victim of multiple molestations in my childhood, my mind does not take rejection well. It is typical of people with an abusive past to have a default mode of feeling worthless, issuing out in inferiority complex, depression, anxiety disorder etc. I suffered from all of this. But this pain hurt the most. For unlike anyone else before, she knew all my problems. The people who ditched or rejected me before do not know anything about my childhood abuses or my mental issues. She did and yet she walked out. That is more painful. Knowing my weaknesses and needs did not stop her from choosing to give me this pain. My mind fed me with the darkest lies - "See, man you are worthless, even she rejected you. What greater proof do you need than she leaving you? If the one who loved you so much and knew you so much can reject you, do you dare to think you are not worthless?"  I had very little help from outside. No friend,  brother or  mentor came and sat beside my bed and preached or counselled me while I was being attacked. What I did to her while she wailed under some trial or suffering - counselling the word and praying with her, I had none to do it in my time of need.

Two nights before her wedding when I was informed of it, I was so attacked by fear and depression that I entered a self-imposed solitary confinement. People have used and abused me so much that faces scared me. As soon as the thought came of meeting someone, I would immediately cover my face with my hand. It was a reflex I couldn’t control. So I stayed confined to my room for around three and a half weeks. It was a pit of loneliness and darkness. I would never want to experience that pain again. I was questioning everything that happened in my life from when I was first molested. Why had God appointed me this abusive lot? Why don't people whom I sacrificially love with forbearance reciprocate the same love and favour to me? Am I truly a worthless good for nothing Jacob of all Jacobs, fit only for rejection? Does anyone love me? If so where are they when I am drowning in this pit? No friend, no pastor and no mentor for me? Other than phone calls in response to my texts, would they even call? would they pursue me? Is God also ditching me? Why did I love those whom no one cared for? I spent sleepless nights for encouraging and praying and counselling them. Would at least one soul do that in return to me?  Is there anyone who loves others like I did, foolishly giving up everything for them? If so would that someone please love me?

The answer to almost all of those questions was a resounding no. No one visited me at my home. No one sat beside my bed and counselled or prayed for me. I have come to see that it is not anyone's mistake. It was so by design, I mean divine design. Only this season of my life, I observed that God gave Job no human comforters. It was so by design, His design. The reason why no man was involved in my life at this juncture was because through it all God wanted me to learn one big lesson : Jesus loves me, like no other.

How healing came

Recently, I met an elder brother who has been suffering some major mental problems for decades. We spoke for quite sometime regarding depression and battling it with the Word. I shared my story and the nature of the pain I had to go through. He looked at me for quite sometime and at the end of the meeting, said this: "Jay, loosing a fiancée itself is a painful thing and if that happens due to mental reasons, it is seriously a very painful thing. But I have to say you look very peaceful and happy in the Lord." I smiled and then thought to myself "What a great God Jesus is! How little I realize the grace He is giving me."  If someone were to ask me today, "Jay, are you really happy in life?" My answer would be "I have never been this happy in all my life. For I have Jesus like never before." How God transformed the second half of last year is what I so want to share with my readers.

Many people wanted to know what I was doing in my self-imposed solitary confinement. Other than breaking down and crying my heart out at times, what I did the most was Bible meditation and memorization. I memorized entire chapters and recited them. I preached loudly to myself the truth of God’s word. I sang. I worshipped, with tears. I lied on the floor with my face drowning in a puddle of tears, repenting of my sins which hurt her and confessing to God, that I never meant to intentionally harm her in anyway. Though romantic feelings were dying, empathy  and concern for her was not willing to die. God showed me verses and passages pertinent to my struggles and I memorized them. Whenever a worry or a particular concern burdened my heart, I recited the specific passage for dealing it.

In the meantime, my inbox was filled with mails from a few friends who were concerned about my solitary confinement. In response I recorded a train of 24 passages (Isa 26:3-4, Ps25 :15-21, Ps16, Ps23, Ps103, Ps40:11-17, Ps142, Ps27:1-6, Lam3:22-33, Isa40:27-31, Isa41:10, Isa64:4-5a, Ps37:34, Ps43:3-5, Ps73:25-26, Phil1:21, 3:7-11, Gal2:20, Rom8:28-38, Rom12:9-21, 1 Cor.13:4-7, Mk10:42-45, 1Cor. 4:10-13, 2Ti 4:16-18) being recited from memory and mailed them. I informed them that this was my anti-depressant which I took three to four times daily. A few days later I got a phone call from the US. It was a dear American brother and pastor. He wanted me to know a testimony. Their church in Kentucky had been trying to minister to an agnostic friend who is fighting against depression and suicidal desires. Around that time he was admitted to the hospital again for having strong suicidal desires. This pastor got my memory verse mp3 in mail around that time. He passed it to this agnostic friend. The friend was so impressed by it that he started looping it in his room. In the phone call, my brother then said these words which I have never forgotten: "Jay, your mp3 is preaching the gospel to an agnostic depressed man, thousands of miles away from you." I was unable to control my tears. I said "If it is for the salvation of this one soul, it is worth going through all the pain I have faced." How God causes ripple effects of simple things we do in His Name! It is too marvellous to me.

Early June, I started keeping an online journal which was visible only for my pastors, intercessors and a few friends. In it I wrote honestly about everything I went through and how God was helping me. It was to keep all people concerned to be informed about my journey of healing. It is a treasure trove of some of the amazing things God taught me through this ordeal. It has chronicled some of the exciting transformations God did this season of my life.  In the last week of June, we had a fasting prayer in our church. The Spirit of the Lord was strongly ministering to all of us. I had one prayer to God: "Give me a joyful, hopeful, humble contentment in You." The Lord did answer that very soon.

July saw more changes in my life. God took me from 2 Corinthians to a book I would not have dared to read at all this season of my life - Song of Songs. Marriage and sex are the last things I want to hear now. However God did and I learned this book is more than marriage and sex. It is primarily about Jesus and His bride. After all it would be entirely inline with Pauline theology to look at a book in the canon dealing with marriage and say, "its a profound mystery but its talking about Christ and the church".  This book has become my most favourite book in the Bible. Though modern scholarship shies away from traditional and historic understanding of this book as mainly about Christ and His bride, I believe there is much exegetical weight in favouring that understanding of this book.

Through it God taught me in a fresh way that my greatest joy in life is loving Jesus with affections awakened by the Spirit through the revelation of His love in the Word. When this ordeal began, many people suggested that my healing would come through another woman walking into my life, who would be God's chosen one for me. However my healing is not another woman. My healing is Jesus and His love. Knowing, enjoying and resting in the love of my Beloved Bridegroom King Jesus has been and will continue to be my healing. It is this what gives me daily strength to be joyful and peaceful in God. It should be this that which the elder brother noted in my face. Many others in my church also confirmed that my face is lit up with signals of hope and joy in my life. All glory to Jesus. I should also testify that in the past six months, I have not had one day where I experienced any of my characteristic mental illnesses like depression or anxiety disorder. I believe God has healed me. 

As July went by, I have to be honest, there was tremendous joy in my life, owing to the acceleration of grace and heightening of intimacy with Jesus. I am not at liberty to share what happened on July 21st night, which was a crucial day in this journey. It is too sacred an experience in the Holy Spirit to be shared in public. Suffice to say, I had one of the richest communion with the Lord through the Spirit that night. Early in August, God added another development in this journey, which also I am not at liberty to share publicly. Suffice to say, God cares for my desires, even the least of them. I was stunned the whole evening and cried a lot in joy, in amazement, overwhelmed by His goodness to this sinner, this Jacob.

I thought 2013 would be the worst and last year of my life. Certainly I do not want to revisit the months from February to May. Those three months were life in the pit. I hate those months, for they only smell blood and death. But after darkness comes the light, after death comes resurrection, after the mourning comes the joy and our God is faithful to do it. If not for my faithful, loving, Bridegroom Jesus, this would have been my last year on earth. Therefore to no human being I belong or pledge my allegiance. My love is for only One, my Bridegroom, my Beloved, my King, my Jesus. "He never abandons me in the pit.. but shows me paths of life. He gives me fullness of gladness with His presence." (Psalm 16:10-11)

What God taught me

This season was woven with Scripture passages that comforted and strengthened me. That’s what God did in my life this season. He opened the Scriptures and blessed me. I am going to list the pertinent ones and briefly expound the lesson God taught me through them.

1.     God alone is the source and essence of all my goodness

The first passage that really spoke to me was Psalm 16. I memorized the whole psalm after reading it the first time this season in March. The revelation that God gave me from this psalm was regarding verse 2. In it the Psalmist says, “Yahweh, you are my Adonai, I have no good apart from you.” As I meditated on it that morning in March, the Lord showed me that this verse does not just mean that God is the source of all my good, but that He is also the essence of all that is good in my life. In other words, when the Psalmist says, I have no good apart from you, it means God is the one who gave me all the good and also the one who made those things feel good to me. If God is not there, no matter what it be, it won't be good to me. So God not only gives me the good, but when I taste them, they feel good to me, because God is the One I tasted through them. The corollary is, if things and people are mere avenues through which I taste His goodness, then He can very well take them and still make me taste His goodness. For goodness is not inherent in good things, it is God who makes good things good to me. Without Him in my life, good things are just things, not good.

This truth convinced me that having her is not a need in my life. For me to taste goodness in life, she or for that matter anything or anyone is evitable. Only Jesus matters.

2.     Being a Jacob might cause me to be rejected by people, but a subject of God’s grace.

It is a staggering thought to me that when fellow human beings who are as sinful as I am in the sight of God, left me quoting my sinfulness, the One who comes down to my pit and sticks with me is the Holy of all holies, God Almighty. The only Person who has every right to point my sins and justly reject me, chooses not to do so and becomes the only one who sticks with me. If that is not grace, then I do not know what else is grace. In the backdrop of other sinful people rejecting me, when I see God sticking with me, though being the Holiest and the Just and the only one who has the legitimate right to banish me, I see what grace means. This is why my God chooses to identify Himself by this name - I Am the God of Jacob, even calling Himself the Portion of Jacob (Jeremiah 10:16). Oh what blessed condescension is this? A God who wants to be called the God of deceiver! Why would He choose to reveal Himself by that name, if not to comfort the Jacobs among His people. (Psalm 146:5, Psalm 20:1, Psalm 46:7,11) Moreover in Isaiah 40:28, one of the things the LORD tells discouraged Israel is that He never gets weary. He is never tired of anything, including His people and their sins. No sin can exhaust God’s grace. There is no sin which can make God quit loving His redeemed people. There might be seasons where He withdraws from us due to our sin and sure enough we must repent to enjoy that love and fellowship. The question here is rather this : is there any sin which will make God call it quits, which will make God say "enough is enough"? The answer is no. He is never weary of His blood-bought people, no matter how many weaknesses and sins beset them. His love is stronger than any sin. There is no sin in me which can exhaust the love of my God. Doesn't that truth make us want to pursue holiness with all our heart? It sure does for me. For who would want to hurt a loving God like this?

This truth helped me overcome all the condemnation flowing from the rejection of people. It gave me confidence to come as I am before my God and repent with hope. I am not proud of who I am. I know very well that I have a long way to go. But this I know that God does not reject me for being a Jacob. Instead its precisely being a Jacob that makes me a subject of His grace. That’s good news.

3.     The apostolic heartbeat in ministry is to be a drink offering poured forth,  a slave of all  and be willing at the end of it to be rejected as a scum of the world.

The passage which illumines me most on Paul's heartbeat in ministry is 1 Corinthians 4:10-13. This passage has become a life passage for me. Whenever I feel that people have taken advantage of me, this is the passage that I recite to myself. In ministry this is all I desire that others should benefit. I am not here for gaining anything for myself. If people are ungrateful or do not appreciate me, I would remind myself that I am just a scum, what honour is due for scum? I am a slave, what right does a slave have? Quoting the language of 2 Timothy, I am a drink offering poured forth for others, wasted for others that they might benefit. So of course others would benefit from me and I will have nothing in return. That’s the way it should be and more, that’s what a true apostolic heart of a pastor would desire. True greatness, according to Jesus, would come to me when I am the slave of all (Mark 10:44).

This truth helped me to have a scriptural perspective to look at all those seemingly foolish wasting of myself away in love for others who in the end rejected me.

4.     Suffering for concealing one’s sins and for confessing one’s sins are not the same
God gave me this insight that I am suffering this pain not because of covering my sins, but for confessing my sins. That is a very important distinction. I could have covered all my Jacob-ness and still be in that relationship. It was my decision to speak the truth that cost me so much. Therefore though I own my responsibility for all my sins and shortcomings, I need not look at this trial as punitive. My love for her was not deceptive and that’s why I confessed when deceit marred some of my actions. Only mercy and forgiveness comes to those who confess their sins (Proverbs 28:13, Psalm 32:5).

This truth helped me to see my suffering as not God punishing me but God pruning and maturing me and thus embrace it with hope.

5.     Passion for Jesus is the best gift I can give my future wife.

After August, God started teaching me many things about marriage and the best lesson I have learned is this that the best gift I could give my future wife is my passion for Jesus. For only if my heart finds my significance, security and satisfaction in the love of Jesus would I be free to love my wife more than myself. Only if I love Jesus more than my wife could I tell her this: because I love God more than you, I love you more than myself. It is when our hearts are not satisfied in Jesus that relationships become selfish, demanding and exploitive. But when Jesus is supremely treasured, relationships are for loving service. In addition to this, Christian marriages have a goal which other marriages do not have. A Christian husband is called to love his wife not only in the manner Christ loved the church, namely sacrificial love, but also for the purpose Christ loved the church, namely to have a holy bride. In other words, as a husband, the reason I would love my wife sacrificially would be so that she would grow in her holiness. So unless I am passionate for Jesus, I would not care for her passion for the Lord. I would only care for her passion for me. But when I am passionate for Jesus more than anything else, all I do as a husband would be to safeguard, feed and foster her relationship with God. Her communion with Jesus would be the number one reality around which all my husbanding would be oriented. She would be most beautiful to me when she loves Jesus the most.

In light of all these truths, I have resolved that if ever God calls me to marriage, the best gift I would give my future wife is my passion for Jesus.

6.     Chastity, the second best gift for my future wife

Though I am 28 years old, excluding this relationship, I have never dated anyone. Even this was entirely virtual. Physically, thus I have never been with a woman in a dating sense. That sounds odd to many, I know. Before this season of trial, I also felt so. However God has changed my perspective regarding singleness. I now look at the intimacy of my heart as a gift I am guarding for my wife. Though much of it got shared in this previous relationship, this new man that I am and my new heart’s intimacy is being kept safe only to be unveiled for the joy of my wife. Chastity is not just sexual purity, but avoiding emotional and mental intimacy with anyone other than your spouse. Even if tomorrow I get to meet my future wife, I would control my intimacy, not just physical but emotional too, till marriage takes place. Today’s dating practice teaches young people to try out relationships. The logic is intimacy first, covenant later. That is dangerous. I believe biblical marriage follows the logic of covenant first, intimacy later.

In light of these truths, I am careful in my dealings with women, whether in ministry or friendship. I guard my intimacy to avoid any misunderstanding to creep into their mind and to avoid my heart taking pleasure in the company of a woman who is not my wife. Though I am yet to marry, I am already loving my wife everyday, by pressing on to guard my heart and my body for her from all the evil in this world.  My chastity is my second best gift for her.

7.     Love of Jesus is better than life and all its pleasures

This is the greatest truth that I have learned this season. The first cry of the Bride in the Song of Songs is for the Bridegroom to awaken her passion, by him expressing his passion to her (1:2). Only the passion of Jesus for His bride can beget passion for Jesus in the bride’s heart. The reason she wants this, she says, is because his love is better than any pleasure of this world. The psalmist goes one step ahead and says “your loving kindness is better than life”. Not only is Jesus’ love better than all life can offer, it is better than life itself. Hence Paul cried, to die is gain, for death would only make being with Jesus more sweet, more close and more deep.

O candle two, ignite this truth
And burn it into every youth:
The love we need is not the kind
That comes to us and tries to find
Some worth or beauty that can keep
The lover true. No, we must sweep
All self-exalting loves away.
One kind of love alone will stay,
And it is not the kind that needs
Our worth or beauty or good deeds,
But intercedes for us and dies
When there is nothing here but lies.
The love that, as we kill, it cries,
“Lord, make these enemies your prize.”
(Paul’s Face, part 2 by John Piper)


In light of this truth, I can boldly say that a worshiper of Jesus has an indomitable spirit which cannot be crushed by any wave of trial or loss or tribulation. Yes because of Him who loved us, who cannot be separated from us, we are more than conquerors in all things, even death.

Epilogue

So what if I lost my Bright Star, I always have my Bridegroom.  This is Jesus, the Bridegroom of grace, who finds His bride among rebels. He turned my pit of despair into a bridal chamber filled with songs of sacred intimacy and joy. All pain of this failed human love story is thus swallowed up in the ocean of joy in this blood-sealed, ever-victorious divine love story of my Bridegroom and His bride.

It is no wonder to me that Spurgeon said,

"And the loving heart, by some deep mystery of which we can offer you no solution, will often have its sweetest rapture of joy in the fellowship of His griefs. So have I found a satisfaction in the wounds of a crucified Jesus, which can only be excelled by the satisfaction I have yet to find in the sparkling eyes of the same Jesus glorified... This same Jesus! my soul coats on the words; my lips are fond of repeating them. This same Jesus!

If in my soul such joy abounds,
While weeping faith explores his wounds,
How glorious will those sears appear,
When perfect bliss forbids a tear!

Think, O my soul, if 'tis so sweet
On earth to sit at Jesus' feet,
What must it be to wear a crown
And sit with him upon his throne?"

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