I am at a Christian writer’s conference in South Carolina (thank you for encouraging me to go, Sweetie!). And somehow this reminds me of another conference that I went to in North Carolina. These conferences are amazing. And at first, intimidating. And overwhelming at times. You meet so many people. And some faces, some conversations, you take home with you.
We were basically strangers. As we sat, cupping steaming mugs of courage, we unveiled our hearts. And hers was broken. So maybe that made her bold? And, I think there was the sense of being anonymous, away from family and church friends. I don’t think I will ever forget her grief:
She blurted out, “We both know that our marriage was a terrible mistake. We know that we shouldn’t have married. We stay together for the kids and the ministry, but…”
I sat straight up, fumbling for something encouraging to say, and then her words sunk in and I was startled into responding with this objection, “Don’t you think God has a plan for your life and that this man is part of it?”
“Yes, God has a plan” she said, “I think that I missed it. I believe that there is that ‘one person,’ made for each of us. And I think I picked the wrong one. So my ‘Mr. Right’ is out there, somewhere, probably married to someone else. It feels like God is punishing me for marrying the wrong person. My husband feels the same way, but we do our best.”
Oh my. This is where I was reminded that sometimes it is hard to think on your feet. I tried, but I couldn’t convince her that God had intended any good for her out of that marriage, other than the kids. How sad!
I know what it is to live the old cliche of “opposites attract.” When we met, my husband and I were different in almost every possible way—goals, education, family background, spiritual maturity, personal values. Early in our difficult marriage, I wrestled with doubt over God’s plan for us. I wondered, Did we make a mistake? We can’t seem to make each other happy—maybe we weren’t “meant to be”?
As I began to study God’s Word, it became clear to me that God’s will cannot be overpowered by mine. I can’t derail His plan, because this is the God I serve:
- Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God (Psalm 62:11, ESV).
- I know that [He] can do all things, and that no purpose of [His] can be thwarted (Job 42:2, ESV).
- Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand (Proverbs 19:21, ESV).
- And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28, NLT).
So if the Lord laid out plans for me before I was born, and His will cannot be thwarted, then I have to accept that all the people in my life—family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors—are His provision for me.
When I began to see my husband as God’s perfect provision for me, I could view my marriage as a gift. Of course, we still make a mess of things now and then. But now I see purpose in our mess, and I am thankful that God wants the best for me.
Thinking the right way, about hard things, is a big step toward a #MoreAbundantLife.
What if we looked at ALL the people—not just the nice ones—as gifts? What if we saw that the hard relationships come from Him? Can you look at your mess, and see God’s best?