The Runaway Bride
May 03 05
This past week, we saw a woman run away from her upcoming wedding. She faked her own abduction and ended up over a thousand miles from home. Jennifer Wilbanks said she just needed some time to be alone and think it over. The idea of marrying her fiancé was more than she could handle. The idea of making a commitment in front of hundreds of people brought upon her an incredible fear. Her solution was to run away.
Wilbanks went jogging in Georgia and never came back. She left her fiancé behind, took a bus to Las Vegas, called authorities from a pay phone saying that she had been abducted, then went on to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Once in Albuquerque, she confessed to making up the whole thing. She also contacted her fiancé, John Mason.
It appears that she had planned running away, buying a bus ticket ahead of time and saving some cash aside. Wilbanks knew what was coming, didn't want to face it, found a way out of it, and executed her plan. Some may wonder, "Wouldn't it have been better to just admit up front that you're scared and want to postpone the wedding?" Ah, but she couldn't. She couldn't let anyone know who she really is.
Wilbanks is now back in Georgia and Mason says he forgives her; he still wants to marry her. He now knows a bit more about her and he still wants to go through with the wedding. It's amazing, though, that Wilbanks' entire family, her closest friends, and Mason himself all said when this ordeal began that there was no way that Wilbanks would run away; they all said that she was looking forward to the wedding. They all thought they knew her.
If you're a Christian, you know that God knows you even if no one else does. You know, too, that it is best to not run away from God, but be honest with Him at all times. Running away from your fears or trials in this life accomplishes nothing. In fact, running away just makes everything worse. As a believer, you want to always live each moment knowing that you are in Christ, and living in such a way that your life reflects the fact that you are in Christ.
But if you are like Jennifer Wilbanks, perhaps you think you are ready for the return of Christ. Perhaps you have everyone fooled, including yourself. You go to church, you serve at church, you look spiritual. You look like you belong to Christ on the outside, but something is lacking on the inside. To your family and friends, you would seem to be anticipating your meeting with Christ upon His return. None of them could imagine you running away. But who are you, really?
Of course, the parable of the ten virgins in the Bible (Matthew 25:1-13) is a little bit different in that it concerns the Jews, but it is illustrative here. In that scenario, we are told that all ten of the virgins wanted to enter the wedding. When the Bridegroom came, all ten virgins wanted to go, but only five were allowed in. The other five desperately sought inclusion, but were denied. All ten looked the same on the outside, but inside they were completely different.
Jennifer Wilbanks has another chance. She ran away but now she is back. She has a fiancé who still wants to marry her. If you have been running from God, maybe it's not too late to come back. But you first have to recognize that you are running from God. Don't be like the five virgins who thought that they were good to go. They had no relationship with God and so could not enter the wedding. In fact, the Bridegroom tells them, "I do not know you." How tragic it is to go through life fooling everyone, including yourself. You can't fool God. He knows your heart. You can fool people by putting on a show, doing on the outside what looks good, but God knows your heart. He knows if you are truly His. If you are feeling anxious about your eternal future, maybe God is working on your heart.