I was recently reading in Proverbs 31, which praises the virtuous woman—both a picture of the perfect wife and a symbol of the bride of Jesus—and the Lord revealed to me that I am called to be more than just a virtuous bride: I am also meant to be a warring one.
The Hebrew word used to describe the bride in these verses (chayil) is most often used in connection with military prowess and depicts a wife who is a force of might, power, ability, efficiency, and righteousness; full of substance and integrity—with the strength of an army. The same word is used over 200 times throughout the Old Testament and depicts valor, or great courage in battle. It is frequently used to describe men and soldiers; however, in Proverbs, it is used to describe the bride. The church.
It only took one sentence to break my heart. I don’t mean that it just made me incredibly sad, or that it hurt for a few minutes—I mean that it literally shattered my heart. It made me stop and re-evaluate all of the things I was taking for granted in my own life.
I work for a Christian international relief organization, and some of the work we do is in countries that are closed to the Gospel. In several of these countries, Christians aren’t allowed to gather, they’re not allowed to own Bibles, and they’re not allowed to speak the name of Jesus. We had a guest visiting from one of these countries, and for the first time he was invited to church. After the service, he had tears streaming down his face as he said, “This must be what Heaven is like.”
This is a challenging topic to write about because it is so personal, but that’s also what makes it so important. Sometimes the church hurts us, and that pain can directly affect the way we see religion, relationship, and God Himself. Depending on the situation, “the church” could represent a physical place, or it could mean the church as a body of believers.