There was a time in my life where I was pretty sure I knew how God worked. When people suggested to me otherwise, I would say things like, “Oh no, that’s not God’s way” and then take them aside and show them the difference between God’s way and the world’s way. For me it was black and white.
At that point my life made sense. The pieces fit together and I could use my testimony as evidence that I knew what I was talking about. There isn’t a greater example of this way of thinking than my love life. I got married at the tender age of 23 to a wonderful Christian man I met at church. L and I met following a Bible Study I had been invited to by a fellow Christian who was mentoring me. We rubbed elbows often at prayer meetings, outreaches, conferences and occasionally even on the bus to work. We became friends. We both loved to talk about Scripture, ministry and Christian books and that was really the jist of our friendship. I didn’t go out of my way to find him and he didn’t come looking for me. We just happened to both be passionate about Jesus and about serving and that brought us to the same places often. Eventually, church leadership nudged us and suggested that maybe we consider taking our friendship to the next level. We started courting and praying if marriage was God’s will for our lives. Our courtship wasn’t passionate romance. It was budding friendship and seeking the Lord’s direction for the future. God did lead us to marry and we enjoyed years of wedded bliss together. This to me was God’s way. Neither one of us had tried to make anything happen. We had individually walked with God and He had orchestrated to bring us together.
L was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia shortly after our third anniversary. We continued to walk with God through the illness, prayed much and totally believed that God could heal him. God chose to do otherwise which to this day remains a mystery to me. I thought I knew how God worked. It seemed to me that when the sick were brought to Jesus in faith they were healed. I brought my sick husband to Jesus with faith that could move mountains but the healing I sought wasn’t granted. It left me perplexed but I trusted God knew best and there was a reason for it.
For many years after that I kept my eye open for the reason for this hardship in my life. Surely there was a ministry He wanted me to start, a book He wanted me to write, a person that only I could help given my unique situation. I’m still waiting over ten years later.
I really wanted to be a godly single woman of unwavering faith during those years. I had strong desires to remarry. I missed having a husband and I worried about my fatherless sons. I took all these thoughts to God and cast them on Him. I expected God to answer because I was sure that was how God worked. You put your faith in Him and He came through for you. My experience was a bit like the first 37 chapters of Job – lots of crying out on my part and nothing but silence on God’s. I talked to other believers and sought their counsel. Way back it was suggested to me that maybe I try to meet someone on a Christian internet dating site. I was aware of these means of meeting people but I was still adament that I knew how God worked. My part was to remain true to God, His part was to bring me into contact with the person He had in mind. I was pretty convinced that He had someone in mind because no matter how I worshiped, prayed or served I couldn’t find true contentment as a single. I had to wait on Him and in His time He would answer. That’s how God works. Those internet sites were the world’s way with the term “Christian” attached to them to make the untrusting feel better about what they were doing. I actually said things like that.
I now know that I don’t know how God works. He’s far bigger, his schemes infinitely grander, his ways much more extensive than I had previously given Him credit for. I had limited God to one way of doing things when in truth His ways are past finding out. I am now happily married. Do you want to know how I met my spouse? Through a Christian dating site. God took “Miss I Know How God Works” and showed her that she wasn’t as all-knowing as she thought she was. He challenged me through a Sunday School elective called “God Will Make A Way”. I expected to have my ways of thinking validated there. Instead I was shockingly challenged. I left the fourth class dumbfounded and wondering. I couldn’t believe what I had heard and went astounded to the Christian women’s group I was a part of to tell me that I was right and what the speaker said was really the world’s way. They didn’t say that. They agreed with the speaker and encouraged me to start walking by faith. They became my prayer support and sounding board as I did the unthinkable – sign up on a Christian dating site. Oh, the Lord has His ways of humbling His children!
The rest is history. I met a nice Christian fella through that site. We corresponded for a while, then moved to talking on the phone and then cautiously met in person. It’s almost amazing that we actually met at all. He had signed up on the site for a trial period at the urging of a Christian aunt. Neither one of us expected this far flung method to work. Oh we of little faith!
The moral of my tale? Don’t follow my example and decide in advance how God does and doesn’t work. Don’t be quick to judge other people for what they are doing. God may be in it. Don’t close yourself off to suggestions from well meaning friends. At least take them to the Lord in prayer and it may surprise you what the Lord does.