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For your Maker is your husband — the Lord Almighty is his name . . . (Isa 54:6)

I promised you as a bride to one husband, to Christ . . . (2 Cor 11:2)

Reflections on Isaiah 35:

For a long time, I lived in a spiritual desert; all growth was stunted. I was like a bride who walked down the aisle and said her vows, but didn’t fully consummate the relationship. I had all the rights and privileges of marriage, but I didn’t exercise them often.

My husband wanted to come and live with me, but promised he would wait until I invited him to. He offered me a home with every kind of appliance I’d ever need, comfort in my every need, and more love than I could ever imagine. Instead, I chose to live alone in a hut in the desert, without power or running water. He was eager to come to me even there, but I hardly ever asked him to.

Because I so seldom invited him or talked with him, I didn’t get to know him very well. I heard good things about him from others, but I still didn’t want to give up my independence. Part of me wanted to be a good wife, but I was afraid if I got too close to him, he might ask me to do something I didn’t want to — like change. Life was hard enough; I didn’t want him making demands on me, and I was afraid he might.

I told myself that my “together but separate” marriage was fine, but it was hard getting much accomplished on my own — especially without water or power. I expended a lot of effort trying to earn enough money, not realizing I had free access to my husband’s unlimited resources. I invested a lot of time looking for approval, unaware that my husband had given me the only approval that counts. I looked for love everywhere, except from the one who loved me most.

One day as I sat in my hut and looked out on the parched landscape, the yearning I had shut down for so long came bubbling up. For the first time, I realized that everything I needed had always been there; I just had to reach out and take hold of it. My longings had been for my husband, yet I had pushed him away in my efforts to do it myself.

Then I called out to him, and before the last syllable was on my lips, I was in his embrace. With extraordinary patience, he had waited for this moment. I asked him to forgive me for all the things I had done to hurt him, and he did so gladly. I thought my heart would burst with the joy and relief that flooded me.

What was happening to me inside was mirrored by what I saw around me. Where the wasteland had been, spring flowers now burst forth in glorious splendor. Great cedars stood like sentinels, their fragrance suffusing the clear air. Water gushed in crystal cascades, flowing and pooling and bubbling over the thirsty ground.

And like a stream, strength pulsed through me; a vitality that was new and strange and wonderful. I knew then that no matter what happened, I could face it with him and not be afraid. We were together as we were always meant to be, and never again would anything or anyone be able to separate us.