First of a three-part series.
I thought I was going to be single for the rest of my life.
After two years of struggling over a broken relationship, God had finally taken me to the place where I was happy with who I was. I surrendered my ideas of marriage, and I gave up my search for Mr. Right.
It had been a long, hard two years, but during that time, God taught me how to depend on Him for all of my needs. Loneliness had humbled me and taught me that no one can satisfy the way the Lord does. And humility taught me that I can only depend completely on the Lord; He needs no help from me to fulfill His purposes.
It was a bittersweet time, and by the end of it, I thought I had my whole life figured out. I was going to remain single, devote my life to ministering to other single women using the lessons that God had taught me, and die an Old Maid. Even though I desired to be married, I knew that God had called me to make a sacrifice for Him, and so it must be…
…until I met David.
David puzzled me. He seemed to have all the qualities of a man that I would marry. He enjoyed the same activities that I enjoyed; he was easy to talk to; he was very attractive, and he kept showing up. It seemed no matter where I went, I heard his name or saw his face.
None of this broke my concentration, though, because I knew the sacrifice that God had called me to. I knew that when I really got to know David that he wouldn't be able to meet my standards: He must be someone older than me, who had never been married and never been sexually active, as I had not. He also had to be someone who shared my views on a specific theological belief. Both of these things were very important to me, and I was unwilling to waiver.
After a month of running into each other everywhere, David finally asked me to a dance. He impressed me, not only with his dancing skills but also with his people skills. He was kind and gracious, focused on others, not just on trying to impress me. I also found out that he was five years older than me and had never been married. Hmmm…
It was a fun night, and I was saddened to know that he was not going to be able to penetrate my last blockade. Even though he had broken through the others, there was still one left—theology. And what he didn't know was that I had been in a Bible study with his sister, who debated me on the subject.
I planned to bring it up after lunch on Sunday, but he got to it first. I had prepared Scriptures to back up my faith, and I had prepared a statement to let him know that it would not work out between us. But my plans were turned upside down when he explained his own views, and they were just like mine!
"How could that be?" I asked. "Your sister and your mother don't believe that way."
"Well," he said, "I just so happen to disagree with them on that one."
I was dumbfounded. After David took me home, I wrestled with the Lord for the rest of the afternoon. I couldn't understand why I felt the strong calling to remain single if He had sent me this wonderful man.
As I prayed, the Holy Spirit prompted me to review some of the journal entries that I had written in the past, and I found places where God called me to be faithful, to lay down my pride, and to give up the plans I had for myself, including marriage.
I also found entries where I laid out the desires of my heart, including a list of qualities I wanted in a husband. I wrote:
I just got finished attending the third out of 20 weddings I have been invited to this summer, and of course it makes me think about love and marriage.
One day, if the timing is right and if you are willing, Lord, I want to be married. We will still be young but old enough to have some wisdom…When we meet, it won't be love at first sight, but we will have kindred spirits. After bumping into each other everywhere, he'll ask me on a date.
…He will love you with all of his heart. He will be a leader with the highest integrity. And he will have never been married. He can sing, but music isn't his passion. He likes to fish and build things. He loves the outdoors, but he wants to live in the city. He laughs a lot, too, and he's very free-spirited.
Oh, Father, does this man exist? Should I wait for him? I'm trusting that what they all say is true—that you will let me know when it's the one. I will know. No doubts.
Reading that was like experiencing the fulfillment of a vision. Those entries described the beginning of our relationship and David's character. I realized then that God wasn't calling me to be single, but He was calling me to be faithful. When He saw I was willing to sacrifice everything for Him, He gave me the desires of my heart.
I thought of the story of Abraham and Isaac. God had promised Abraham an heir, but his wife, Sarah, was barren. When Abraham was 100 years old, the Lord performed a miracle and finally fulfilled His promise, giving them Isaac.
But in Genesis 22, the Lord called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. So Abraham took his son, his most precious possession, to the mountain and bound him to the alter. Abraham then took his knife and stretched out his hand to slay his son, when the angel of the Lord stopped him: "By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you…In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." (vv. 16-18)
Just as God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, God called me to give up my desire to be married, not because He wanted me to be single, but because He wanted me to be faithful.
By the end of that Sunday, I knew that this was from God. In my journal I wrote, "Lord, I feel like I could give a life-long commitment to this man. I feel like this relationship is from you, but if you would rather I remain single, I would do anything for you. If you ask me to sacrifice him, I will."
Three months later, we were engaged, and I knew by the peace in my heart that this was the promise that the Lord was fulfilling in my life. David was the one. I knew it. No doubts.
© 2003 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
In part two of this series, Sabrina tells about the lessons she and David learned during their engagement and the spiritual growth that took place during that time.