Melody and I are often asked this question, "So, do you believe there is a specific one out there that God has designed just for you, or do you believe that we get to choose our perfect mate?"
Without skipping a beat, Melody and I will simultaneously smile and answer, "Yes!" leaving our listeners both intrigued and perplexed.
You might be thinking, how can it be "yes" to both?
First, I believe that as one yields their life fully and completely to Jesus, He will guide us by His Spirit to whom He desires us to be with or not.
There are several places In scripture we find how God brought a man and a woman together:
Adam and Eve:
OK, I know what you might be thinking, "Adam and Eve? Really? ...like there was no one else for them to choose from..."
Indeed. When God created Adam and Eve, He created them in the context of His complete perfect will. There was no other choice.
Adam was alone, he needed a wife as a companion and co-worker in Eden.
As a result, God created Eve (right out of Adam) and said to Adam, "Here you go." Adam had no choice.
This was God's best for him. Adam accepted it gladly and literally burst out in song!
Now of course, God had other plans in starting with these two (like starting the human race) that are not the same context and purpose for us;
however, the point is still the same. God creates on purpose and when He created you.
He created you with a specific plan and purpose too, and if a spouse is in His plans for you, it will be so.
Isaac & Rebekah:
I really like this story. "God is all up in it!"
- After the death of Isaac's mom, Sarah, Abraham recognizes that Isaac needed a wife, so he commissioned his servant to go and find him one, but he gives his servant some strict and specific guidelines. The servant must find a woman from Abraham's extended family and must not get a woman from among people who believe in different gods. Here we see God through Abraham giving specific instructions to his servant as to among whom he should choose a wife for Isaac.
As the servant heads out, he prays for even further direction, seeking help to select a woman of great character.
Upon arrival, he sees a number of women at a water well. The servant prays that the right one for Isaac be one who would give him and his camels water.
When he approaches the the well, Rebekah, greets him kindly and offers, without being asked, to supply water to the servant as well as all of his 10 camels!
This woman is clearly humble, servant-hearted, and of great stamina as providing water from a well with a bucket. This must have taken great strength and time.
More importantly, the servant's prayer is answered! Rebekah's act of service proved her noble and humble character.
The servant explains to her his commission and seeks a meeting with her father. Before we move on, let's make a couple observations.
COMMUNITY: Abraham invited his servant into helping him find a wife for his son. Now I know it's not as common for parents or guardians to choose a spouse for us, but principally we can glean from this that there is wisdom in the multitude of counsel. We Issac's father and servant involved.
CONVICTION: Abraham advises his servant NOT to choose a woman that believes in a different god. Here we see the importance of choosing someone of the faith. We want to be with someone who believes in Jesus Christ and in HIM ALONE as our firm foundation of faith and Lordship. (Genesis 24:3-4; 37-38)
PRAYER: Abraham's servant prayed for the kind of woman he was looking for Issac. He prayed about her character. We see here that God is involved in the details of answering this prayer and showing confirmation. So, now we see God not only answer the servant's prayer, but give even greater guidance to the one He has for Isaac as a wife. We see the servant pray even after God has answered. We see God guiding the whole process. (Genesis 24:42-49)
BLESSING: Abraham's servant asked, "Who's servant are you?" Eventually, the servant meets Rebekah's father, Bethuel, who consents to her marriage to Abraham's son, Isaac. Now many people will miss the significance of this. You see, despite the unfortunate oversight we give to receiving the blessing from our parents and authorities in our day, God then and now still moves through and honors authority. He himself being the ultimate Authority. Hence, the significance of Bethuel giving the blessing for her to go and marry Isaac is an another account and final proof that God has made her the one. The blessing confirmed that Rebekah was God's choice as the one to marry Isaac. God wouldn't override her father's authority. Despite all the previous signs, she wouldn't have been the one for Isaac, nor Isaac for her. (Genesis 24:47-50)
I want to acknowledge that this is a tough truth and many of you are probably wondering what if your parent or guardian is absent or adamantly opposed to your marriage. This can be so painful and add a lot of pressure. But don't miss this, God works through authority. We see this throughout scripture God working His will through authority. There are cases where families are opposed to giving a blessing to someone because they are of a different religion or race. It can complicated and each persons situation is different. Which is why we need to tread carefully in prayer. So we can't make a blanket statement to say, "Don't marry unless you have the blessing." But I will say, "Pray & do all you can for that blessing and wait for that blessing."
Ravi Zacharias in his book "I Issac, take THEE, REBEKAH" writes, "While not a guarantee, parental counsel and blessing is nevertheless the way of wisdom and must be seriously considered. While ideals are beacons that guide us, they do not always present themselves in ideal fashion...The chances are that if you marry somebody in violation of your parent's will, you are playing a high stakes game as you enter the future. Any time you violate an authority that has been put in place by God, you need to be twice as sure you are doing the right thing."
- CHOICE: We see once Rebekah got the blessing (Genesis 24:51-61) she moves forward immediately in choosing to marry Issac. God can present someone to you, but ultimately you have to make the choice. Love has a will to chose.
Well, after a couple of nights, the servant and Rebekah return to Abraham's land and when Isaac sees her, he loves her immediately and takes her to be his wife. Talk about love & choice at first sight! Finally their married!
So, to recap, God showed Rebekah and Isaac to be the right one for each other through specific guidance of Abraham, the answered prayers of the servant and the blessing of Bethuel. These are indicators to God's providential leading in relationships.
In part 2, we will see how God also allows us to choose our mate as well.
Stay tuned for "Is There a "One", or Is It a Choice?" Pt2
- CD FABIEN
Fellas often say to me, "So, there this girl..."
The next few moments are spent on how this beautiful, amazing young lady is the One for them. Intrigued, I listen as they share about how they met, where, when, while doing what, etc. I especially pay much attention to these things. It's always so interesting, and I often enjoy the conversation, appreciative that they'd seek my input and thoughts on the matter.
I recognize that they come to me because they've heard how I had pursued my own beautiful, amazing bride and they'd like to do likewise. God has indeed written a beautiful love story for Melody and I, and He has shown it off for the world to see. The honor is humbling and weighty. We are seen, and publicly. But, our journey started quite privately and separate from each other - when we were single.
And, I get it. I remember being young and single, looking for a beautiful, sweet 'thang to be my bride and partner in life. But, that was my problem. I was looking for her, not looking for God (Matthew 6:33). Let me explain....
I know looking for a wife seems right; I mean, it does say he who finds a wife finds a good thing and receives favor from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22), yet one could argue how a man should "find." I like to think of it as how Adam "found" Eve.
Adam wasn't necessarily looking for Eve. I mean, I'm sure he noticed that there were 2 of all the animals, that they all had mates, and I'm sure that he recognized that he didn't have such a comparable partner. In fact, no suitable partner could be "found" for him. But he wasn't looking for a wife per se in that since, but rather Adam was working, doing what God had told him to do, namely tending the garden and naming the animals.
In the midst of his work, it became apparent that Adam was single, and without a mate. God saw the lack and intervened. He put Adam to sleep and when he awoke, BAM! He found her! There she was, a perfect, beautiful, young 'thang in all of her unashamed glory! And, just for Adam.
Adam, didn't have to go out looking for his woman. God would present her to him, and Adam would in effect have "found" his bride!
Note what Adam was doing when he found his wife, he was doing what the Lord had asked of him; he was working for the Lord. Now, this is not a "go get a job" speech, but rather "are you doing what God has asked you to do?" - which may be "go get a job, son." (See I Hate My Job, but God Put Me Here.)
I met Melody on a mission trip in Uganda, Africa, doing what the Lord had asked of me to do. But, I actually avoided her for three days. You see, a couple of years earlier, after a four-day bout of prayer with the Lord, I yielded my right to marriage and decided to simply trust God for whether or not I'd ever be married.
This came about when the Lord had convicted me that I was making Him jealous with my frequent requests for wife. I had berated his throne day after day for a partner, for a companion, (and to keep it 100) for some sex again (I was a born-again virgin as they say). I was far from content with God alone. I hadn't realized that my desire for a wife, and for sex, had become idolatrous.
So, when Jesus showed me these things, I grieved that I had so grieved God, and yielded my right to marriage. And, to ensure I'd be instep with the Spirit, I vowed to pursue no one unless He presented me with my own Eve. To further ensure such a reality was of God, I asked Jesus not to be upset with me when I's resist and avoid his match for me three times. If after three times of my resistance that said woman was still being pointed out to me by the Most High, then I would then know that He had arranged for me to have found my wife.
That is exactly what happened. After three days of prayer to keep Melody out of my mind and attention, for she was hard for me to stop looking at and admiring, He finally told me that I was free to pursue her. She was His choice for me, if I in turn so chose her. (See Is There a "One," or Is It a Choice?) I said yes, and pursued. Soon, she too would say yes, and Melody and I would marry 2 1/2 years later.
Like Adam before me, I was doing what God had has asked me to do. In so doing, God presented Melody to me - I had found her.
I would then pursue her and marry her. (See How to Pursue...)
So when brothers approach me and say, "so, there's this girl I found," and they begin to share all about her and how they met, I patiently and attentively listen for how she was found - while out doing the will of the Lord, or while out on the prowl?
- CD FABIEN