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East Meets West

East Meets West

ESH

LEARNING TO TRUST AND WAIT

For as long as I can remember I always wanted to marry a brother who loved God and served Him humbly. These requirements stayed close to my heart and prayers as I waited for my Mr. Right to turn up.

I know that many of my family members were concerned about my marriage, especially as the years drew on and I was passing thirty. Each time I saw relatives, they would ask the dreaded question, “So, do you have anyone yet?” I would either shrug it off with a joke or begin to get rather annoyed.

I even began to wonder where God was where my marriage was concerned. I mean, this was not something that I really had control over.

So sisters, I know what you’re going through. I know that it gets to a point when so many people ask you (even though it is out of genuine concern) that it begins to eat at you. I know how lonely it can get at times. I know how happy, yet sad, you feel when you see another couple tie the knot.

However, one thing that I’ve learned through this tough waiting period is to completely and utterly trust in God.

Instead of whiling away my time, I decided that during my wait, I would continue to offer my best to God and serve Him wholeheartedly. Yes, ideally, I wanted someone whom I could serve God with, but there was no point in wasting my time waiting for him to turn up. As Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in His time.” Yes, God’s timing is the best.

During this period, I began to read some Christian literature about single life and how to make the most of it to serve God. I realized that I had more time to offer to God so I became more involved with the youths in my local church. I even got the opportunity to go to Africa to serve the members there. It was a wonderful period! I started to seriously pray about my marriage and trusted that God would provide when the timing was right.

COULD THIS BE THE ONE?

It started at the end of August, 2005.

At that time, I was working at home and logged onto MSN quite frequently. I had a friend from church who asked me about my future and what type of brother I was looking for. When I was asked this question in the past, I came up with a long list. Perhaps as I got older, the list got shorter and shorter. However, still high on my list of priorities were the two things I mentioned earlier: to love God sincerely and to serve Him humbly.

 After asking what type of brother I was looking for, my friend suddenly asked me online, “Do you know so-and so?” I had heard of this certain brother before but had never crossed paths with him. Then he asked me, “Would you like to get to know him?” To my surprise, I actually said, “Yes, why not?” In the past, I would not even dare to do such a thing! I was quite surprised at my own gall!

It seemed as if a new me was taking over! We chatted for quite a while on our first encounter on MSN. I had some good feelings, but also had my doubts. We continued communicating on MSN and then through the telephone later on.

I have to admit, when I first heard his voice over the phone it wasn’t what I had imagined—it sounded too deep. I was quite nervous and was at a loss for words. Also, I was testing the waters slightly and wanted to hear him talk more so that I could conjure up a better image of him!

As we got to know each other better I began to grow fond of him but still questioned whether he was the one. “Hmm…he seems nice enough and definitely has a sense of humor, but is he really the one? Why is it that we seem different in many ways?” These thoughts clouded my mind. I realized that the more I thought about this, the more confused I would get. The only way out was through prayer. Each time I prayed about this brother and the doubts I had, I would always come out feeling peace and comfort.

FROM DOUBTS TO PRAYER AND PEACE

A month later, one of the matchmakers of my local church invited me over to her house.    She told me that both she and this other matchmaker had actually been praying for my marriage, but they didn’t know who to match make for me. She had gone abroad to attend a church dedication and saw a brother whom she recognized. She suddenly thought he would be a good match for me and was so excited that evening that she couldn’t sleep! Still, she felt she had to pray about it first.

When she returned home, she told the other matchmaker and they both decided to pray about it together before approaching the brother. A few weeks later, they decided it was time for action.

This matchmaker phoned the brother and asked if he had met anyone. When he said he had, she finally managed to drag the name of the sister out of him and was shocked to find out that it was me.

She related the whole series of events to me at this meeting and explained, “I felt you had to know all this, just in case you were unsure about him. Can’t you see? It really shows that it’s God’s will.” It was comforting and reassuring to hear what she had to say. Basically, it answered my doubts as to whether this brother was the one.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing after hearing this. I still had my doubts. Deep down inside me, I always felt that my other half would come from the same background. I expected him to like the same things as I did, and that our personalities would be similar. But they weren’t.

I often questioned whether we would be compatible or not. Despite this, I knew that as long as I entrusted everything to God, He would lead and guide us to the best possible ending. With this determination in mind and the assurance that I already knew it was God’s will, I continued to walk on this path.

The brother managed to persuade me to fly out to meet him in January, which was about five months after we started corresponding. We decided that it would be the deciding point: if we met up and, well, if sparks flew, then we would continue. If not, then we would just be friends.

NOT AN IMPRESSIVE FIRST DATE!

Finally, the day came when we were to meet. I had just arrived the previous day and was still suffering from jet lag. The brother had given me directions to the place we would meet and told me what bus to get on.

Somehow, I heard the wrong number and got on the wrong bus. When I arrived, he was not there. “Typical,” I thought, “our first meeting and he’s late.” We managed to figure out later that I had taken the wrong bus so he had to come find me.

When he finally arrived, I was not at all impressed. I know looks shouldn’t matter, but having seen a photo of him, I expected him to look and dress somewhat smarter. He also said the same about me later when we discussed our first date!

The first meeting went smoothly, although I had doubts—honestly speaking, I was put off by his appearance. How strange that over the course of five months, you can talk quite freely and openly with someone and then when you finally meet him or her, you’re at a loss for words.

When I got home that evening, all the negative thoughts came to me. I got down on my knees and cried in prayer. This brother seemed so different from my expectations. I cried to God, “Is this brother really the one You have prepared for me?” I was unsure about this whole relationship. I asked God to guide me. Dejected and exhausted through jet lag, I fell asleep immediately.

CUT TO THE CHASE

The next day, I conversed quite freely with the brother over the phone. Our second meeting was so much better. He got a haircut so when I saw him the second time, I actually thought, “Hmm…not bad.” God had answered my prayer and took away all my ill-feelings.

We continued to meet whenever possible during my short stay. Each meeting seemed to draw us into a closer relationship and I began to feel more certain about him. My negative thoughts and doubts decreased with each prayer. There were a few times when we met up and prayed in church together. I believe God calmed our hearts and instilled in us a peace and assurance we needed to walk down this path courageously.

On our fifth date, after a heart-to-heart talk, he proposed. Yes, the fifth date. It seems crazy now that I think about it, but at the time, we both knew that this was from God and we were certain about each other. We didn’t see the point in dragging it out any longer.

A MAGNETIC ATTRACTION

So, ten months after we first met on MSN, friends and family from both the East and West gathered together to witness our union. Looking back at the past year or so, I truly see the grace and love of God in my marriage. God brought my husband and me together, one from the East, one from the West. We come from very different backgrounds and our personalities are very different, but the Lord brought us together to love and cherish each other and to support each other in our weaknesses.  

The preacher who officiated our wedding encouraged us with a beautiful sermon about how love is like a magnet: no matter how you try to separate two magnets, they will always be attracted to one another, even if it is as far as east and west.

Waiting for God’s time is not easy, especially when you feel that time is running out and there’s no one decent out there. Sometimes you may doubt God or fall into depression, or even consider looking outside the church. But you must hold on to God unto the very end. He loves each and every one of us and will lead you to the one who He sees is best for you, not who you think is good for you.

Learn to entrust everything to Him. Use your time wisely while you wait. Don’t give up on Him because He will never give up on you.

            “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”( Isa 41:13)

When you begin to let go of your will and concentrate on serving Him, you will be surprised at what great things He has in store for you! When God brings your other half to you, you will marvel at His beautiful guidance.

Pray and entrust all to Him. Be patient. You never know, our loving heavenly Father may surprise you with an unexpected love story.

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