Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
THE “SIX-COW BRIDE”
There once was a girl of marriageable age who was rather plain, to be honest.
Now, in her land, the value of a prospective wife was determined in part by the number of cows offered her father for her hand. Because of her unremarkable appearance, however, the girl’s father didn’t expect much for her, should any man even desire her for a wife.
One day, however, a man with some means came forward and offered her father six prime hoofers. Some versions of this story indicate it was ten; nevertheless it was a whopping sum of cattle.
After her father probably gasped (and a few onlookers marveled, “WHAT? Six cows for HER?! Why, he could have had Miss Dairy Queen for THREE!”), the deal was sealed.
The “happily ever after” of this story includes a fast-forward some years to how the plain girl became a beautiful and accomplished woman, in part by knowing how much her husband valued her even back when.
Makes you want to write a poem.
She lift’ her head
and set her eyes
on his fair face
the love felt there–
not her for him,
though that was prized–
but his for her
that bid Arise,
THE BRIDE OF CHRIST
Hearing this story put me in mind of another, real-life incident, this one not as dramatic but as significant, not about the value of an earthly bride but about the value of Bride of Christ.
My pastor, at that time, who was widely recognized for his teaching ability, musical gifts, and published works, died in a freak airplane accident.
Church VIPs from many places notified the church they would be at his Celebration of Life in such numbers the church had to rent the biggest arena on the local fair grounds.
People sang his praises and his songs and remembered him with eloquent words. The preacher who gave the eulogy for this remarkable man said surely legions of angels were gathered in praise the moment he crossed over from earthly to eternal life.
I thought, “Of course they did! This was one very special man who touched countless people in his life span. We should ALL strive for that!”
I felt a sudden sting of inadequacy.
This thought came immediately to mind: “There was rejoicing in heaven because I [Jesus] paid a great price for him.”
I stood corrected.
(Now that’s just like the Holy Spirit [right?] through Whom such a thought could only emanate because H.S. is sent to glorify Jesus.)
It was Jesus who paid Heaven’s entrance for my pastor even as He paid it for all who put their faith and trust in Him as Lord and Savior.
Our worth and value is not measured by the created but by the Creator and the price of His own Son that was paid for each and every one of us, great and small, brilliant and average, talented and not, young and old–good-looking or not so much…
Then came another thought–one for all of us–“I PAID THE SAME PRICE FOR YOU.”
I stand corrected.
Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken at the right time. (Proverbs 25:11)
This is my heart and hope for this post today because if believers have ever needed the reminder of our great worth by the “payment” of God’s Own Son for our redemption, it is right now in 2021.
Because if we think we have been experiencing a little anti-Christian venom here in the U.S., of late, in these unprecedented times that prophecy scholars suggest strongly resemble the prelude to the seven-year Tribution period, “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” as folks say.
Additionally, I’m sure we can’t even imagine the hatred and vitriol perpetrated against our brothers and sisters in other lands, right now, either, that begins with demoralization and if unchecked ends with death as the history of persecution of the Church often reveals.
As Jesus described this enemy:
The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; (John 10:10)
Fortunately, however, Jesus didn’t stop there. The next part of the verse goes like this:
I have come that they [you and me and whosoever else will] may have life, and have it to the full.*
Thus–and here’s my point–the closer we get to God and His Word and His Son and His Spirit and his people, the greater we are fortified and emboldened by His love and His inestimable value of us.
Which also brings to mind the timeless words of a minor character in a book I read a few years ago, another true story, about young people suffering persecution in their land today and coming against many hardships and discouragements on their way to freedom.
The young man said: “Gold is still gold even if it’s buried under dirt.”
The “dirt,” so to speak, being the animosity heaped upon them–and now upon us.
Let me encourage you today with this: as much as is possible, don’t mind the dirt but keep your gaze upon the love for you expressed by the price paid for you at that crossroads of sin and redemption called Calvary. As put here,
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
I’ve heard that for every negative word or action perpetrated against a person it takes 14 to overcome it. Some say more. Thus, here is yet another reason to get your news about YOU from the Good News.
For all other sources are corrupted to one degree or another–and some are relentless in their cruelty.
So let God’s truth about you comfort, lead, strengthen, embolden, and enfold you today.
And let’s each of us take a little time whenever possible, amid the darkness and the din of the world, to gaze into His face to know His love and hear Him say,
Arise, Belov’d, Arise!