Once upon a time, a handsome prince went out on a date (put-put golfing) with a beautiful princess. They met through the Kingdom of Christian Mingle, and this was their first time seeing one another in person. They laughed, had fun, went to dinner, and talked for hours. In fact, the beautiful princess was so taken by the prince that she laid it all out on the table. She told him of her devotion to the One True King, and alas, he was also a follower of the Prince of Peace! They spoke of priorities and morals, and they determined that should this blossom into much more than one date, they would take their time before joining their separate castles into one.
Two weeks later, they were engaged. Six weeks later, they were married. Now how did THAT happen?!
Believe it or not, this is one time in my life where radical obedience to God came into play. It was a time when I had to step out of my own way, give God my complete trust, and do what He was calling me to do – even though it seemed absolutely crazy.
My (now) husband earnestly and persistently pursued my heart. We had each been hurt in the past by ex-spouses and the mistakes of lives lived apart from Jesus. In fact, one of the first things I told him was that I had built up a pretty high wall around my heart after having it broken. He smiled and let me know that it was his goal to tear that wall down, brick by brick.
That’s all romantic and junk, but I needed more than wonderful words and attention. I needed to know what GOD was saying in the midst of this new found love! Was it love? I had been so deceived in the past by the father of lies, mistaking lust for love until it was too late. This was a relationship where from the start, God was the center. I knew my heart was opening; I could feel a different kind of love blossoming. Yet I wanted to know, without a doubt, that this was God’s will.
In my room one night, I prayed. And then I prayed some more. I’m not one for “putting out the fleece” to test God, but I asked Him to please show me something specific in His Word to let me know where to go in this relationship. I opened up to Hosea 2:16. (We’ll forget for a minute that this is a story about Hosea and his harlot wife, and how that relationship reflected God’s dealings with Israel at the time!) The verse reads “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’” (vs 2:16a, NIV). My jaw dropped. I nervously laughed and asked God for further clarification. I opened to another passage, this time in First Samuel. “So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him’” (vs 1:20, NIV). My husband has a son named Samuel. Tears flowed from my eyes, even as I looked up at the ceiling and said, “Really?!” (Or in other words … SAY WHAT?)
I allowed God to lead my heart, and He was so, so right. Often times we are impatient with God’s timing; I was concerned at how quickly my heart and life were changing. When my husband asked me to marry him just two weeks and one day after we met, I said, “Yes.” (Surprisingly enough, I had very few friends who questioned the timing!) Less than one month later, we said, “I do.” Although I trusted God to lead our marriage, I still wondered why … why so soon? I had no doubt this was God’s will, no matter how insane it seemed to my practical, sensible side. I simply wondered.
Within the next year, our family went through much heartache. Doctors questioned my granddaughter’s lack of weight gain and threw the word “leukemia” out there, scaring us terribly. (She is now two years old and does not have cancer!) My new born grandson wound up in the hospital, getting sicker for reasons the doctors could not explain, going through blood transfusions and looking nothing like his sweet beautiful self because he was so puffed up with fluid. (He will celebrate his first birthday on Monday and is quite healthy!) My husband’s grandmother, who raised him and was closer to him than any mother, passed away – nearly devastating my husband. More than one person, including my husband, told me that had I not been in his life, they don’t know if he would have survived her loss. Praise God we had each other through those dark moments.
Yet there was an even bigger reason I believe God called us together in such a whirlwind romance. Two months after we wed, we were doing a couple’s Bible study. As we sat sharing, I told him that “no offense,” but I had envisioned marrying a leader in the church. You know, a preacher or maybe a Sunday school teacher. He stared at me, his eyes welling up with tears. I thought I had hurt his feelings! Then he spoke the words that have seriously changed our lives: “God just called me to preach.” Just like that. He knew without a doubt it was God’s voice. Since that evening, God has shown us repeatedly that the ministries of preaching and (for me) counseling are in our future (and my husband does indeed now teach Sunday school).
Could God have used other ways to comfort and speak to us had we not met or married as quickly as we did? Of course! He is God! But how incredibly precious it is for me to know that the God of the universe used us to express His love, His comfort, and His direction to each other. Praise Jesus that we both said YES to GOD!