By Morgann Burres
“Can I ask you something?”
The other day I was with a sweet friend when she looked at me and posed the above question. Before I could respond, she asked, “How did you know that Nathan (my husband) was the one?”
Oh boy. The question of all questions.
I took a deep breath and began, “Well, I kinda need to start from the beginning. How much time do you have?”
Fifteen minutes later, I had answered her question. I’m going to attempt to do the same for you in fewer words and a lot less time.
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The one. The idea that we have created that there is one person out of 7.1 billion people that we somehow have to find and fall in love with. Any of the others won’t do. So we hope and pray that while we are searching for the one, he is searching for the one, too. And somehow, in some moment of realization, we will just know.
Does that sound familiar to anyone else?
Now here’s the thing: I believe that God is sovereign. I believe that he does know who we are going to marry. I believe that he is in control of all things and over all people. And I think you do, too.
So, if we truly believe that, then why are we constantly on the lookout for the one?
In college, I bought into the lie that if I didn’t find my husband by the time I graduated, then I was doomed forever and would end up as a crazy cat lady. (Not really, but you get the idea). By my junior year I was on the hunt. Every time I walked into a room full of people, I would be scanning for the guys I had never met and wondering if any of them were the one I had been waiting for my whole life. I grew more and more disappointed and restless with each (lack of) encounter and began to doubt the character of God.
One night during the summer before my final semester of college, June 19th, to be exact, God decided not to let me sleep. I had been involved with high school girls’ ministry for a few years, and whenever we would talk about dating or they would ask me for advice, I would encourage them to pray for their future husband before they ever met him. I would counsel them to search Scripture for the characteristics in a husband that the Lord would have for them – the things that are “non-negotiables”. They would write these things down somewhere and tuck them away for when a man came into their life. Then, they could go back to the list and compare each potential “love interest” to what God’s Word says of a man with godly character.
Well, I needed to take my own advice. On June 19th, God just kept me up, reminding me of the fact that I had never done what I had been telling girls to do for years. As I realized that “in the morning” was not a good enough timeline for the Lord, I got out of bed, turned on my light and opened up my journal and my Bible.
Here’s the list that the Lord had me write:
Lord, I am giving my hopes and dreams to you! These are the things I am committing to you in prayer:
My future husband MUST
1. Love the LORD with his whole heart (Deut. 6:5).
2. Love people (Matthew 22:37)
3. Love children (Psalm 127:3)
4. Love to serve (Deut. 10:12)
5. Have a passion for sharing the Gospel (Matt. 28:18)
6. Be compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient
7. Love the Word (Psalm 119:111)
8. Lead me in prayer and Bible study (Eph. 5:23)
9. Respect my family, especially my Dad (Eph. 6:2)
10. Must not love money (Matt. 6:24)
11. Be financially wise (Prov. 10:1)
Fast forward a week. June 24th, 2012. I met Nathan – we were both serving at a community outreach together. Over the course of the week, I got to know him and he got to know me as we served alongside each other. By the end of the week, I knew that he was the one.
But how? Isn’t that ridiculous? Well, yes, kind of. I knew that he was the one because he was so clearly an answer to prayer. It was so clear. Either God had answered my prayer with Nathan OR he was a God of trickery. And I knew that the latter didn’t align with God’s character.
I don’t mean to say that if you just follow this formula, then God will bring you your husband a week later. For me it had less to do with the timing and more to do with the state of my heart. June 19th was the first time in my life that I had come a place of complete surrender, willing to wait on God’s timing no matter what. That was a really hard thing for me.
God calls us to trust him (Proverbs 3:5-6).
God calls us to pray to him (Philippians 4:6-7).
God calls us to let him know the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4).
Patience is accepting a challenging situation without giving God a timeline to remove it.
For many girls (myself included) it is natural to desire a relationship with a guy. For me, it became idolatry. It was an all-consuming pursuit of my husband, whom I had never met. It was exhausting, frustrating and depressing because I had placed my worth in a person that may or may not have existed.
Hear me, ladies: Your worth is not found in a man or a dream or a plan. Your worth is found in Christ. You are secure and strong in Him alone.
If you find yourself waiting for the one, stop. It’s an endless pursuit.
Patiently wait on the Lord. And in your waiting, praise him. And in your waiting, serve him. And in your waiting, pray. And in your waiting, love others. And in your waiting, be thankful.
Isaiah promises that waiting on God results in renewed strength. Couldn’t we all use more of that?
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Lord, You are so good. You are faithful. You are sufficient. You are love. You are infinite in wisdom and sovereignty. You know everything about me and yet you still love me more than I could ever know. God, you know the deepest desires of my heart and you delight in them. I pray that you would convict me of my sin and remove the idols of my heart. I trust you with my future, with my husband and with my life. In your time and in your plan, may you be glorified in me. Teach me who I am in you and help me to rest in that. I love you, Father.
[Image courtesy of photostock at freedigitalphotos.net]