Thursday, July 21, 2011
I think a lot about what my life is like and what it might have been. If I had known I wanted to be a writer when I was still in junior high or high school or even in college, would it still have taken me this long to even start my writing career? Would I have risked the liberal arts/starving artist path instead of taking the safer route of the business degree I got? If I had taken that risk, would it have put me in touch with different people? Given me a different mindset? Brought me to a different place by now?
C. S. Lewis's Aslan says we can never know what would have been. Perhaps that's true, and perhaps it's best. But I think rather that my life, with all its ups and downs and sidewayses (okay, I made that word up) is what God planned for me all along. I believe He directs our steps as much as we will let Him, and even when we misstep, He eventually brings us back to where He wants us to be.
Ever since I was a young girl, I've dreamed about being married. I've wanted to be loved and cherished, protected and cared for. I've wanted to belong to someone and have someone to love. As I went through school and into the working world, I kept my eyes open, hoping to meet that one that was right for me, the special man who would be my better half, the one God meant for me. I write romance, for goodness sake! How could I not have dreams like this?
Time passed, my friends married, eventually their children married, and my elusive Mr. Right never came along. Mostly I'm fine with that now. Sometimes I ask God why. Why can't I be like everyone else and have someone to love?
Then a few weeks ago I was doing my regular Bible reading. I read through the entire Bible over the course of every two years, and on this particular night, I was reading the book of First Samuel. I got to Chapter Eight and started to cry.
The people of Israel were unhappy with how things were going and told Samuel they wanted a king to reign over them. So Samuel prayed to God about it, and this was the Lord's reply in Verse 7:
"The LORD said to Samuel, 'Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.'"
I had read those words many, many times before, but that night they cut me to the heart. Had I really? Had I rejected Him from being king over me?
I thought about it more and more as I read. I read all the things Samuel warned them would happen if they had a king. They would be taxed. Their people, men and women alike, would be pressed into the king's service. He would take their property, their livestock, their land, the hard-won fruit of their labor for his own. Samuel warned them that they would eventually cry out to the Lord for relief from this, but in that day He would not hear them.
But they were determined. In Verses 19 and 20, the people said, "No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations . . ."
Did I really want that? To lose whatever God in His wisdom had planned for me so I could be like everyone else?
Truly, marriage is a blessing, a wonderful and godly thing – when He brings it about. But it can be a suffocating burden if He does not. If I stepped out of His will to make something happen my way, it seems fairly likely that I would eventually cry out to the Lord for relief. No doubt, out of His mercy, on that day He would hear and help me as He always has, but why go through that?
Why would I want someone to come into my life unless God was the one who sent him? Marriage, a union between two imperfect people, is hard enough even when those two people are called to be together. Without God's help and blessing, it has to be nearly impossible.
More than that, why would I reject the sweet lover of my soul, the one who already does love and cherish, protect and care for me? The one I belong to? The one I love? The one who will never leave or forsake me and from whom even death cannot part me?
God may or may not have someone for me someday, but I will leave that in His hands. He knows best how to lead me, what I really need and exactly when I need it. He is indeed the King of Kings, and I can trust him with my future.
Have you rejected God from being king over a portion of your life? Has it been hard to keep following during those times when He leads you in unexpected ways? Is it hard for you to travel a path that's different from those around you?