We have been talking about the ways that God comes into our lives and changes things. Sometimes He changes circumstances, more often he changes us. But always it seems that He is trying to get us to understand who He is and how that differs from our expectations. It is nearly a cliche among Christian circles to say, I accepted the Lord and He changed everything. The problem is, once is never enough and God knows that. He is always working on us. We may forget, but then something will happen to remind us that He still loves us.
I got pretty comfortable in my youth group. But of course high school doesn’t last forever. Soon I was in college, interested in dating, working part time and trying to deal with the fact that my father was dying. Somehow, in the middle of all that, I kept up an ongoing dialog with God. He did not take me out of my circumstances, but He brought me through it. After my father died I kind of retreated into a shell of self-protection, but after a while, He kindly sent someone able to pull me out of there.
Skipping ahead to my next big surprise, I found myself past 30, in a dead end job and not married. Don’t let anyone tell you the Christian life is easy! Feeling as though I had no future, I engaged in one of those searching exercises where we try to determine what we want in life and what direction we should take to make some progress. I came to the astonishing conclusion that whatever ideal career I had been seeking for the last decade did not interest me any more. All I really wanted was a home and family of my own. Mind you, that seemed about as achievable as going to the moon for someone who dated rarely at best. It wasn’t that I had never thought of it as much as that I had thought that God would have given it to me already, if He intended me to have that. But I realized, that although I had expected God to provide a husband for me, I had never been bold enough to actually ask for one. In fact, I had acted as though it were somehow my job to find one.
Obviously that wasn’t working out well, so I sat down and made a list of what I wanted in a husband and simply handed it off to God. It went against all the advice you receive to look here and there and badger your friends and relatives for introductions. But you see, it was what God wanted from me. I had not asked because I grew up in a family without much money. If you wanted something you were supposed to work for it and save for it. If you couldn’t get it for yourself, well you should learn to do without. Now I expected God to provide someone, but wondered what I would have to give up from my list, because no one is perfect. But God is perfect and He provided someone who met every single request on my list, both major and minor. Again I was astonished. I had been walking with the Lord for twenty years, and I never knew that about Him. On some level, though I knew He loved everyone, I did not believe that He loved me enough to answer yes to my prayers. And yet, there was the evidence. It was as if He were saying I thought you would never ask.