It happened on March 5th during one of our morning services. I was asked for my hand in marriage! And it was not Linda who asked me; it was Jesus!
Dwayne was leading us in worship. We were about to sing “I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)” but he stopped us and asked us to stand in Jesus’ presence; just stand there—in Jesus’ presence. And those timeless words of hope by Charles Gabriel ripped my heart wide open:
I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Saviour’s love for me!
That’s when it happened: I had this keen sensation that Jesus was kneeling in front of me. I thought, “He is getting ready to wash my feet.” And I was overwhelmed that He would do that. I should be washing His feet. But, instead, He looked me in the eye, and my spirit heard Him ask, “Dale, will you marry me?”
My heart reeled. I know the Scriptures teach that the church is the Bride of Christ who will present herself at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9; 21:2, 9; 22:17). But for Jesus to ask for my hand in marriage—now it was real. All the mystical words about the Bride and the Lamb took on new life. I cannot put it into words, but that Sunday morning Jesus meant more to me than ever before.
When I married Linda I pledged to her, and her Dad, that she would be safe with me. That was more than saying that I would not hurt her. I was saying that, because I was her husband, I would take care of her emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I would love her as dearly as I love myself. Just as Christ loved the church, warts and all, and gave Himself up for her (see Ephesians 5:25), I would do anything for her her well-being; no sacrifice would be too great. She would be safe with me. That’s what a husband does.
“You will be safe with me, Dale.”
But, Lord, why do You want to marry me?
“Because I love you and I want to spend Forever with you.”
But there is so much about me that is unlovely.
“I know. And I know that most people would squash you like a bug if they knew you like I know you. But I will not give up on you (see Hosea 11:8). I will transform you into My image. My glory will rub off on you (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).”
How can You say that? You have watched my struggles over the years. You know the Devil has my number.
“I know. But I have his number. And I will not allow him to destroy you.”
Will you really do that for me?
“I died for you; do you think I will not fight for you? That’s My job as your Husband. You are my treasure. So… will you marry Me?”
My name has changed. It is no longer Dale the Failure. I am now Dale, the Bride of Christ Who is the Son of the Living God. What a Family! Talk about marrying up!