December 6, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Bride in the Box
Sharon Jaynes - Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author, speaker
"David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets" (2 Samuel 16:14-15 NIV).
Every little girl dreams of the day when she becomes a beautiful bride. At four years old, I was no exception. It wasn't the dream of becoming a wife that captured my imagination, but merely the dream of the wedding day itself. I had visions of gliding down the red-carpeted aisle of my hometown church, adorned in a white flowing satin and chiffon wedding gown, studded with a million tiny pearls. My twelve-foot lace veil would fill the aisle from side to side just like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music and on my feet would be tiny satin sippers. In my hands, I would carry a large bouquet of white roses mingled with a spray of delicate baby's breath. Who the groom would be was of very little consequence. This was clearly to be my show. On rainy days, I would wrap a towel around my head, a sheet around my small frame, and practice the wedding march down the long hallway of my parents' home. I could almost hear the trumpets and organ blast with my processional.
Apparently, one of my uncles understood the secret longings of four-year-old little girls and presented me with a two-foot tall doll dressed in full bridal regalia. This was clearly the most beautiful doll I had ever seen. Along with her white wedding gown and veil, she had short cropped curly brown hair that felt as real as my own, soft plump pink skin, and movable eye lids lined with thick black lashes. Her eyes opened and closed with her changing positions so that when she lay down in her box, she resembled "Sleeping Beauty." Her perfectly shaped lips were small and dainty and her crystal blue eyes appeared strangely real.
However, there was one problem with this delightful gift. Because she was so expensive, my mother wouldn't allow me to play with her.
"You'll have to wait until you are older," she stated. "She's too nice of a doll, and you might tear her gown. We'll just keep her in the box until you're big enough to know how to take care of her."
The bride doll remained in her box, safely stowed away in the bottom drawer of my dresser. Day after day, I would slowly open the drawer and stare at the doll as she lay sleeping inside the dark drawer like a treasure in a safety deposit box. Sometimes I would remove the box lid and gently stroke her soft pink skin, but I knew "woe is me" if I ever took her out of the box and played with her.
Now that I am an adult, my thoughts have gone back to that special gift. After a time, I forgot about the bride in the dresser drawer, and today I don't even remember what became of her. As a child, my relationship with the Lord was much like my relationship with the doll. God was Someone who was to be revered and feared, but certainly not Someone to be touched and enjoyed. I had the impression that God, like the doll, was to be kept in a box: a big brick building with a large steeple on top, that was only to be opened on Sunday and special holidays. But He was certainly not someone who would talk to you, or even wanted to.
The Shorter Catechism, written by the Westminster Assembly in 1647, states, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Enjoy Him! That was such a blinding revelation to me when I heard it for the first time. It took me years to understand what it means or how to go about the business of "enjoying" the Lord. David understood it meant to enjoy the Lord. He wrote, "In Thy presence is fullness of joy. In Thy Right Hand, there are pleasures forevermore. I delight in your decrees. I will not neglect your word. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. I delight in your commands because I love them" (Psalms 119:16, 35, 47). He even danced before the LORD.
First Timothy 6:17 says "God richly supplies us with all things to enjoy." Webster defines "enjoy" as "to take pleasure or delight in, to have the use, the benefit or advantage of." Even though the bride doll was a precious gift to me, I didn't enjoy her, delight in her, or have the pleasure of interacting with her. Likewise, if I keep God's Word at bay, keep it in a box, or leave it on a shelf, I miss the enjoyment and the delight of entering into a relationship with Him and listening to His voice in the pages of Scripture.
After reflecting on the bride doll, I decided to no longer keep God or His Word in a box for safekeeping. I will sing with Him, talk with Him, take walks with Him, and yes, even dance with Him. And I don't have to wait until I am big enough to take care of Him because He is big enough to take care of me!
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, I just plain love You today! I rejoice and dance before You! I lift my hands and my voice to praise You! I am so glad that You aren't sitting up there in heaven giving big red check marks or big red X marks. Thank You for creating us to enjoy You and be enjoyed by You! The chief end of "me" is to glorify You and enjoy You forever! In Jesus' name, Amen.
If you've never danced before the Lord like King David, consider going in your room, shutting the door, and giving it a try.
Write down the last time you really had a good time with God. If you can't think of a time, purpose in your heart to do so!
What does it mean to you to put God in a box?
What are some ways you can enjoy the Lord?
What are some ways you enjoy your children (or if you are not a mother, what are some ways you enjoy your friends)?
How do you think God enjoys you, His child?
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." (Ephesians 1:4-6 NIV)
"And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away." (Nehemiah 12:43 NIV)
"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn - shout for joy before the LORD, the King." (Psalm 98:4-6 NIV)
"In Thy presence is fullness of joy. In Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore. I delight in your decrees. I will not neglect your word. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. I delight in your commands because I love them." (Psalms 119:16, 35, 47)
The Dreams of a Woman by Sharon Jaynes
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
P31 Woman Magazine
Originally published Monday, 06 December 2004.