God is our Father. His love is the love of a father and a mother for his own child. Perhaps he cannot help but love us, as a mother cannot but love her own child. We came from him. He gave us life – his own life – for we are made in his image. The spittin’ image of our Daddy. But of course the image is severely marred. We have rebelled against our parent, sought our own way in life, despised the wisdom of our elder. Yet in all of this, our Father has not despised us. As the prodigal father waited for his dead son to return, so our Father waits. And when we return to him, all is forgotten for joy of the reunion.
Our Father’s delight is to watch us grow up to be like him. We bear his name and we look like him. Chips off the old block. Our Father shares his business with us. We are his heirs. All the Kingdom is ours and there is no greater destiny than as faithful princes and princesses, we make known the virtues of our Father the King throughout his realm. Yes, we do that by telling, but more vitally, by being like our Father.
Jesus is our bridegroom. His love is the love of a husband for the one who has captured his heart. Perhaps he cannot help but love us, as a man loves a woman. This is a great mystery, for we have not been the loveliest of ladies. But his eyes see what he has made us to be, transformed by his love, to be lovable and lovely. We can’t always see that yet.
In many ways, this love is like the Father’s love. Our Lord, our Husband, longs to see us become whole, become all that he has created us to be. To be free. He protects and defends us, even before the one who accuses. He gave his life for us. There are many stories of heroes who died to save the ladies they loved, but only one story of a hero who died to win the lady. This hero is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lover.
A child understands the Father’s love, but this other love requires maturity to comprehend. For one thing, the bridegroom’s love is for his whole bride. We are not individually brides, as we are individually children. Our marriage is not to be polygamous. We will not compete with other brides, rather we complete the one true bride. We only truly know the yearning of the bride for her husband when we discern the rest of the Lord’s body, embrace our unity and long for him together. Father can speak to us alone when we have tussles with our siblings, but the bridegroom does not know us except as one body.
Together, we are his pearl of great price, the treasure he has found in the field. He has given everything to have us, and he will have all of us. Together with him, we shall become one, united in love.
Do we grow up and leave behind our Daddy’s love to embrace the Husband’s love? Certainly not. These two loves of God are ours forever. We must remain as children, even as we mature to be his beautiful bride. So our hearts are completely satisfied, every desire and every need fulfilled as only he can fulfill.