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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rejecting the King


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?



DeAnna Julie Dodson has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. She is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, and Letters in the Attic, a contemporary mystery. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with four spoiled cats.

16 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. This is a beautiful post and a wonderful reminder! It's especially timely for me, as I was reminded recently how I need to trust God in everything--and that includes whether or not I ever get married. He knows what's best for us.

    It's humbling to look at Israel's example. How easy it is to ask, "How could they not realize that God had their best interests at heart? How could they keep turning away from Him and failing to trust in Him when they saw how He always took care of them?"

    And then it hits me... Shouldn't I ask myself those questions?

    ~Amber

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  2. a beautiful post DeAnna, and wow, some hard questions.

    I know I made poor decisions early in my life that took me down a difficult path. I ended up in a place very different than my earlier aspirations included. I wholeheartedly agree that an unwise marriage is worse than no marriage.
    Another blog this morning asked this question: What did you want to be when you grew up?
    Each time I face that question I feel a little sad for my answer.

    Strangely, God has answered that desire and given me overall rest (not without its ups and downs) and I can look back and see how He brought me here despite the long, long path I chose.

    Amber- I think it can be difficult to look ahead and imagine singleness as a blessing when marriage feels so much more fulfilling, but to echo DeAnna, God in all His facets can really fill that place in our hearts meant for a mate. It's a different path than most, but it can be quite wonderful to depend on Him alone.

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  3. Great post, DeAnna!

    Growing up, I was a tad afraid of marriage. I'd already seen so many bad examples. It was one of the reasons I ended up going to engineering school. I wanted a career to support myself should I stay single the remainder of my life.

    While my friends were checking out cute guys, I looked at character. When dating my husband, I looked at how he treated people, responded to things that irked him, met his responsibilities. I was determined not to make a mistake that would haunt me. I am so thankful for the husband God provided. But I also used my ministries with girls to impress on them that it was better to be happy single than in a miserable marriage.

    I'm at the point now where I can see the results of some of their choices. (Some were apparently not listening.) Truly, marriage cannot make anyone happy. Being in the center of God's will is the true source of happiness.

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  4. What an inspirational post! Thanks so much for opening your heart to us.

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  5. Exactly, Amber. And that's what the Bible stories are for, so we can reflect on how they apply to our own lives. It can be a little painful to see how much we're just like God's Bible people -- and how He still sticks with us, even when we are.

    I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, Debra. Ask me when I get there. ;)

    Barbara, it was wise of you to look inside rather than outside. Looks don't last, character does.

    Thank you, Faye. You know, I had a hard time posting this. It made me feel so exposed and so silly, and I almost trashed it at the last minute. But I felt strongly that it was what I was supposed to post today. I pray God will use it in many ways.

    Thanks, all of you, for reading.

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  6. This is so true. I don't know how many times I've tried to convince my single friends of this. Marriage is hard and can be suffocating. I've cried out for relief many times. At best it is a trade off. Giving up many freedoms for other wonderful things.

    DeAnna, you probably haven't seen my old posts about the days when I want to check into a convent, have you?

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  7. You know, Dina, I think "trade off" is the best way to describe it. There are benefits and drawbacks to being married and being single.

    It's hard not to wonder what might have been, but I do enjoy my life just as it is.

    I'll have to track down your convent posts. ;)

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  8. Oh, DeAnna, this is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us today. This really touched me deeply.

    I do believe God guides our steps if we let him, and when I look back and think 'what if I'd done this instead of that' I realize that had I done 'this instead of that' I wouldn't be who I am today. If I'd experienced the 'what ifs' instead of what was, what kind of influences would I have encountered and how would it have shaped me? Especially because, like you said, I wouldn't have been following his path for me and it probably wouldn't have turned out so well.

    Thanks for making me think on this today.

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  9. Thank you, Suzie.

    I think one day we'll see everything that happened because we followed the path He laid out for us, and it will be more interesting and amazing than we realize when we see all He's done in and through us.

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  10. Don't you think, DeAnna, that will be a truly glorious day? :-)

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  11. DeAnna, I just read through that same section of 1 Samuel in my Bible reading program. Married or no, I think we have to ask ourselves that question frequently... what system of man have we substituted for the rule and leading of God's spirit within?
    Thank you for such a transparent, heartfelt post! : )

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  12. You're right, Niki. It applies to every area of our lives. And it is a question that we should ask ourselves frequently.

    Yes, Suzie, it will. :D

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  13. Great wisdom you have there, DeA, which is hard-won. Just let me affirm from experience that the Husband you have is far better than anyone you passed on.

    GREAT pic, too. And you didn't cut her head off.

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  14. Yes, Robin, He is . . . except He's a little hard to cuddle up with at this point. ;)

    And I do try to avoid beheadings when I can.

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  15. I always love how things fall into place .... when they are suppsoed to that is. If you try to forse it, things tend to fall apart, but you let God piece it together, then life turns into a beautiful pieced quilt. Make me feel warm and fuzzy, and "I" like that!

    Your post was inspirering! I thank you!

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