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