Day 17

Celebration in Heaven

from the Revelation reading plan


Revelation 19:1-21, Revelation 20:1-15, Isaiah 25:6-9, Isaiah 54:5-7, Ephesians 5:25-27

BY Guest Writer

As most brides do, I had high hopes (and perhaps delusions) that my wedding day would be perfect. For me, it almost was. Almost.

On a steamy Saturday in May 2001, Chad and I were preparing for our big day. My bridesmaids and I drove to the church and went to the make-shift bridal suite to start getting ready. I don’t remember how long we there before one of my bridesmaids came in and said, “Whit, you need to get upstairs because there’s a massive storm headed our way. If we don’t get you into the sanctuary now, you may have to walk in the rain.”

The church where we were getting married had two separate buildings. And there wasn’t a way for me to get from where I was to the vestibule, where I would walk down the aisle, unless I went outside. This was our window to avoid the storm, and we needed to go now.

We gathered up all our stuff and made the trek up to the sanctuary. The gorgeous blue sky that had welcomed us earlier when we first arrived was now hidden by ominous, dark clouds. Yes, a storm was imminent. Happy wedding day to us.

We piled into the foyer, but quickly realized that it wouldn’t do for the bride to be standing there greeting all the guests when they arrived. The only option we had was to file into the ladies’ restroom. It was like a bad joke: “How do you fit a bride and ten bridesmaids into a bathroom the size of a mid-size sedan?” As it turns out, not easily.

I spent my last hour of single life stuffed into a church bathroom. But through it all though, my bridesmaids— my best friends dressed in sea-foam green (bless them!)—were so kind, faithful, funny, and selfless. Missi, my college roommate, had me laughing. Meredith, my soon- to-be sister-in-law, kept refilling my water. Lori and Ashley were loyal lookouts, reporting back to me who had just arrived. It’s now one of the sweetest memories of my wedding day, each of my friends making sure in her own way that I was wedding-day ready—the most beautiful, confident version of myself I could be.

The Church, the global and eternal collection of God’s people, is Christ’s Bride, and her wedding day is fast approaching. Despite the gathering clouds of external opposition and internal grumbling, all who are made alive in Christ—single, married, divorced, or widowed—need to be doing our part to make Her wedding-day ready.

It is theologically true that we, the Church, are the Bride of Christ, beautiful and beloved by Jesus Christ, our Bridegroom (Revelation 21:2). And one day, our wedding and reception, called the marriage supper of the Lamb, will be the most perfect, extravagant party you can imagine (19:6–10).

However, I think in some ways we serve another wedding day role: that of bridesmaids. Part of our job is to make sure that the Bride is as lovely and wedding-day ready as she can be. Our goal is for the Bride to look radiant. We are partly responsible for what those outside the Christian faith think of the Bride.

That might sound good, but maybe you haven’t seen much of the resplendent Bride. Perhaps you’ve been bulldozed by a bit of a Bridezilla instead. And to that, I can relate all too well; I know the pain the Church can inflict. I truly, truly do. But while she may be messy, she is also redeemed.

Even when our hurts are legitimately and deeply wounded, our challenge is to remember that Jesus loves His Bride. He doesn’t ignore her flaws or shortcomings, and He never, ever condones abuse of any kind—but make no mistake, Christ loves the Church He died to save.

Today, we are standing in the vestibule of human history. We can’t know for sure when the doors will swing open and we’ll see Jesus coming for us. Between now and then, let’s do all we can to be ready for our Bridegroom.

Whitney Capps is a national speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her first book, Sick of Me (B&H Publishers) and bible study, We Over Me (LifeWay) both release in March 2019. Whitney is the founder of Simple Seminary, a place for the everyday gal to learn theology. She and her husband, Chad, are raising their four boys just outside Atlanta, Ga. You can connect with her at whitneycapps.com or on Instagram, @whitneycapps.

Post Comments (23)

23 thoughts on "Celebration in Heaven"

  1. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    Oh Angie. Thank God. I pray for you, and your family. And I, like you, Thank God, that our groom will soon be coming, that all of this that we go through here is just fleeting compared to eternity with Him. Stay strong my sweet Sister. Stay strong!❤️

  2. Janet C says:

    Whitney, I love your comparisons of this scripture. The comments are also just so uplifting. When I think of my part of the wedding party in preparation for the bridegroom it encourages me to look at the church differently. I, too, get so discouraged with church. Our pastor is doing a series on the Holy Spirit. What I came away with this week is that I am responsible for me, my journey my walk. So many times I want to say, “I hope these people are listening to thus”, but now I am telling myself..,YOU need to listen to this. As I go through my life journey may I look to how I am preparing myself for the Bridegroom. How am I encouraging others to prepare.I want to say Yes, to the dress!

  3. Angie says:

    Some people do the SRT only online but, there is also a book to go with each study. Sometimes the books will have extra charts, recipes, etc. with them. (They do not have the devotionals, those are only online.) In this book there is a chart that compares the woman on the scarlet beast and Babylon the great to the Bride of Christ and the New Jerusalem in Revelation 17 & 18. I wish I could send a snapshot of it to you. While Babylon is a place of power and riches for a short time, it is also a home for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, bird, or despicable beast, it is full of sin, plagues, death, grief and famine, fire and deception. While in comparison The Bride of Christ and the New Jerusalem is clothed in fine linen, bright and pure, holy, from heaven, nothing unclean will ever enter it, righteousness abides, there will be no more grief, crying, pain, tears, or death, it will be a place of glory, and healing.

    I go next to today’s readings, Revelation 19 and 20. Hallelujah! Praise our God. Can you imagine a vast multitude, like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder praising God together united in worship? Imagine it, yes…ache for it.

    Then I get to read about the rider called Faithful and True, Jesus, the Word of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords arriving on his white horse. There is a battle between evil and good, and yet it is no contest. God wins. The thousand year reign and the White Throne judgement.

    Add Isaiah’s verses to the mix and I am brought to tears with thankfulness.

    You see, yesterday I was angry. I am not angry very often. God, faithfully reminded me all day of his love. He faithfully reminded me all day that he’s got this. But, I am very tired, exhausted probably, and I struggled all day to rest in Him. My mother-in-law continues to battle this cancer. She is months past the time the doctors said she would last. Hospice has twice said, it will be this weekend, and it hasn’t been. She has seen the glories of heaven several times and yet not been set free of this human body. She is so ready to go home. It is hard to see her like this and, very selfishly I admit that I’m overwhelmed with the care and the time it takes. I’m thankful that I can sit and hold her hand. I cherish the singing of worship songs (to a captive audience whose feet move with me). If she could have danced, or flown, she would have to I’ll Fly Away. But even in these blessed times, the rest of the world keeps turning. Obligations still need to be met. Stuff still needs to get done, sometimes. Plus I’m a grandma, and yesterday my son needed help with my precious grandsons and new grand daughter. Spending time with them is my favorite thing in the world. Yet I felt guilty for being away from Mary. Then, when a heartache to deep to even share plops on top…I felt like it was too much. I know it is not – God is watching over us and promises He will not give us more than we can handle. The stuff of Babylon the great, not the New Jerusalem. I know, trust, and love God completely in my head and heart but, my human-growly body was weary and angry.

    You ladies have been so faithful and supportive. You have prayed for my family and me, and I am very thankful. It is not that I am asking for more, I don’t even want this to be about me. I share this because “we” love Jesus. He is good and we trust… but it is not always easy. I share because even when I struggle with anger, restlessness, frustration, feeling overwhelmed…He still loves us, me…even in my weakness – especially in my weakness. When my heart is breaking and my eyes are like floodgates of tears, He is Faithful and True. He. Has. This. “On that day it will be said, Look, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he has saved us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him. Let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

    Thank God.

  4. Kristin Dickerson says:

    I think my word to reflect on today is “purity”. Christ is coming for his pure Bride clothed in white. It is our duty, sisters, to hold fast to the doctrine given and God-breathed. It’s just so easy to let all the other little things slip into a church. This is something I am going to personally spend time meditating on today. Is my heart pure? Because that’s the start of a pure church and a pure Bride.

  5. Churchmouse says:

    At both of our daughters’ weddings, right before the ceremony started, our pastor reminded us to be sure to look at the groom’s face as the bride starts down the aisle. Everyone tends to stand and turn to watch the bride make her entrance but it’s that first look on her bridegroom’s face that is so worth seeing. That look of love, tears in his eyes, is imprinted in my mind forever.

    One day our Bridegroom will greet His Bride, the Church. He will look on her with great love even as He has always loved her. She will be radiant but every eye will be focused on the Groom. He planned this day, this moment, this future for His Beloved Bride. Let heaven and nature sing!

  6. Shawn Parks says:

    I love a wedding, I love all things wedding-related. I have seen say Yes to the Dress countless times and even stopped in Kleinfelds in New York just weeks after my oldest daughter got engaged to get a peek at the white lace and sparkly, shiny, bead-studded splendor that brides select for their special day. Consultants ask 3 relevant questions at the wedding dress appointment. “What do you want to look like on your wedding day.” “What is your budget.” And “Tell me about your groom?” Reading this message today, I find myself asking the same question of the bride of Christ. What do we as the church want to look like when we are called to our groom? I dream of being adorned with faithfulness, flowing with righteousness and wrapped in compassion and wearing a veil of purity. I can’t wait to see our groom’s reaction when he sees the church in its bridal splendor take its first steps toward the wedding altar. How much is the church willing to pay for this bridal look? We should be willing to stand against the tide of the times, societal pressure and feel-good theology. That is a high price but so worth the cost to achieve the look we want before our groom. After all, our groom is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is the Truth and the embodiment of love. He is the Bread of Life and the Way. He is the Messiah, the Son the the living God, and the savior of the world. He is the Lamb that was slain for the sins of the world. He is my Lord, my redeemer, and my friend. As the church let us shout “Yes to the dress!” And spend our time now preparing to meet our groom at the end of this long wedding aisle to be wed for eternity.

    1. Erica Chiarelli says:

      Amen! Such a beautiful reminder! And I don’t often watch the show, I love it! Hah

    2. Janet C says:

      Say yes to the dress! I love that comparison. Beautiful

    3. Nicole Cope says:

      Love this, Shawn!

  7. Searching says:

    Powerful devo today and powerful testimony, Tina. You are a blessing to this community!

  8. Tina says:

    I had a baby when I was 17, a child myself… although I was with the father, we were not married.. and that worried me because I knew the name they called children whose surname didn’t tally with the father, let alone borne out of wedlock..
    So we got married.
    I had never felt so lonely..
    My father wasn’t in the country
    so no dad to give me away.
    Nothing wrong with a registry office wedding but it would not have been my choice.
    There was just a handful of people who attended..

    I don’t actually like to remember it ket alone talk about it, but today…40 odd years later, this deeply buried thing/moment of time came to mind as I read the devo..

    I tell you this not because I want you to feel sad for me, or anything else.. this is my story, my journey.. but I tell you because I now know, (comes with age and God given wisdom), that I was in no way prepared or ready.. it was, I believe for the right reasons, in that I wanted the best for my child.. for her to fit in at school, for her not to be judged on my mistakes or things I’d done.. or perhaps not done in the right way.

    But God..

    I know this is about the church.. but I’ve taken it personally.. I’m claiming this love that is so very very strong and out of this world that looks beyond things we did or didn’t do. Flaws and shortcomings.
    This love, Christ my Savior, my HOPE, my heart, my life, my healer.. He love me beyond measure.. to infinity and beyond, beyond.., He gave me hope when there was none to see in the mess of that life.. and He redeemed me, and He still wants me for His own..
    I raise an Hallelujah to the One who came to save and show me a love that I never believed possible..

    Lamp burning and readying..

    I love you Lord..

    Happy Wednesday my sister’s.. xxx

    1. Diana Degnan says:

      Wow Tina. We have hope in Him. There is nothing that compares. Thanks for sharing ❤️

    2. Sue Dalos says:

      Thank you Tina, for sharing your story. Blessings to all.❤️

    3. Tess S says:

      Beautiful testimony, praise God ✨

    4. Caroline Kugler says:

      Praise the lord Tina. Thank you for sharing

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