When God Is Your Matchmaker
Julie Lin—Baldwin Park, California, USA
I am joyful to testify that God
has guided me in the biggest decision of my life—that is, my marriage. Growing
up, my mother was a believer, but my father was not. There were times when I could
not participate in church activities because my father thought that there were
more important things in life than one’s faith.
I saw how my mom expended so much
effort to bring my siblings and me to church. She spent a lot of time kneeling
before God and shedding tears to preserve her own faith and her children’s
Growing up in church, Religious
Education teachers often reminded us that we should not be yoked together with
unbelievers. As I matured, I became convinced that I wanted to marry in the
Lord because I did not want to spend a major portion of my lifetime fighting
for something that was as essential to me as my faith. I simply wanted to build
up a Christian family and serve the Lord.
Under the Lord’s guidance, I went
back to Taiwan for my undergraduate degree. I had grown accustomed to Western
culture since immigrating to the US when I was twelve, and there were many
adjustments I had to make when I went back. It was a different society, and I
lived a very different type of lifestyle.
In college, most of my friends
were Gentiles, and most of them had boyfriends or girlfriends. The common view
was that freshmen could be the most selective about choosing a guy. Then, in
sophomore year, one should lower one’s standards, and by junior year, one
should hurry up because it would be hopeless by senior year.
At times, I felt lonely. I would
go out with my friends, but they would have to leave me in the middle of our
outing to meet with their boyfriends. That started to become a weakness of
mine, because I, too, wanted to have company, and I, too, wanted someone to
care for me. When there were suitors, these thoughts would intensify.
But thanks to the grace of God, I
would kneel down to pray when I had doubts. I started to pray about my marriage
in my freshman year of college, not because I was desperate for a husband, but
because I received a lot of comfort in my prayers. God told me to wait for His
timing and arrangement.
When I prayed for my marriage, I
didn’t ask for any conditions or list any requirements. When I was a little
girl, I heard a story about how we’re all like a circle with a piece missing.
Although we can’t see the piece we’re missing, I deeply believe that God sees
above all and knows what I need. He’ll find this lost piece for me.
During my junior year in college,
I spoke to my mom almost every day, and she would tell me of various
matchmakers who wanted to match me up with someone. Like some of you, I didn’t
like the idea of matchmaking. I thought it was for older people. Also, I was in
Taiwan at the time and did not want to get involved in a long-distance
I had made a lot of plans for the
summer entering into my senior year. I was going to take GRE classes and get a
job. But in my prayers, I had a feeling that I needed to go back to the US that
summer. Since that wasn’t in my plan, I brushed it off.
As the end of the school year
neared, that feeling grew stronger and stronger. I could not help thinking that
perhaps God wanted to lead me somewhere, so one week before school ended, I
altered my plans and booked a ticket back to the US.
It so happened that the 2003
National Youth Theological Seminar (NYTS) was being hosted at Baldwin Park
Church that summer, so I registered as a part-time participant. Before the
seminar began, a matchmaker approached me and said that I needed to see a
brother by the name of Steven Lin, who would be visiting Southern California to
attend the seminar. I said, “No.”
Perhaps I’ve seen too many movies,
but I always thought that I would meet my future husband in a romantic way, and
matchmaking was definitely not on my list!
When the seminar began, I remember
my first impression of Steven was not very impressive. I didn’t know who Steven
was, so my sister pointed him out to me across the hall. If you don’t know him,
he seems quite intimidating when he doesn’t smile. The first thought that
crossed my mind was, “No way!”
But the matchmaker kept coming
back, and my family members continued to encourage me. I thought that maybe I
should not hold on to my own judgment but instead leave this matter in the
hands of God.
I started to pray about this
during NYTS. I also fasted. I thought that I should fast for my own marriage,
whether it was going to be with Steven or someone else. At first, I just asked
God to guide my way and my marriage. After a while, my prayer started to
change—I found peace in my heart. I asked the Lord to tell me clearly if Steven
was the one, because this was a decision that would affect the rest of my life.
Up to this point, the matchmaker
had only spoken to me and had not yet talked to Steven, so I asked God to let
him approach me and talk to me first as a sign that he was the one, since I
would not approach him myself.
TRUSTING GOD TO LEAD
On Wednesday evening, I bumped
into the matchmaker in the chapel lobby. She asked if I had made up my mind
since Sunday. I thought to myself that since I am an appropriate age and he
looks like a nice guy, perhaps we could try it out. But before I was able to
answer the matchmaker, a sister came to look for her, and they both walked
At that moment, I heard a voice
coming from my heart asking, “What is trust?” This question shocked me. I
paused and asked myself, “Really, what is trust?” Is trust just mentioning my
request to God in prayer, or is it continuing to have faith in Him even if He
doesn’t give me an answer?
If I gave the matchmaker an
answer, then all the prayer and fasting would have been in vain. I would have
directed my own way instead of trusting God to guide my way.
When the matchmaker came back for
my answer, I told her, “I haven’t received a response from God yet.” The
matchmaker replied, “What if you do not receive a response before he leaves?”
“Then he’s probably not the one,” I answered.
After prayer the following day, I
went to the dining room to eat dinner. Since students were cleaning the tables,
half of the dining room was already closed. There were other brothers and
sisters eating at other tables, but I chose to sit alone.
This is what Steven told me
happened afterwards: He originally approached a table with five brothers, but
they all left right when he sat down. He looked around and saw me at one table
and Pastor Liang and some other brothers at another table. He is not the type
of guy who would sit alone with a sister, but when he was about to go sit with
Pastor Liang, there was a voice that told him to go and talk to that sister. He
had reservations, but then another brother sat down with me, so he thought that
it should be okay now to sit at my table.
We sat at opposite corners of the
table and quietly ate our dinner. All of a sudden, he said to me, “Hi, my name
is Steven.” Perhaps he didn’t know, but I was in shock because I knew God had
heard my prayers and had answered it clearly.
Next he asked, “How old are you?”
The second question was just as shocking. I didn’t stay long. I quickly
finished my dinner and left because I couldn’t wait to go back to pray and ask
God, “Is this it? Is this it?”
ME, STEVEN, AND…THE PASTORS
That night, I told the matchmaker
that I was willing to start off as friends, so the matchmaker approached
Steven, who said he would pray about it.
On Sunday, under the arrangement
of the pastors, we had our first official meeting. We were called outside
during the morning class prayer. Steven told me that, when Pastor Hwang called
him from the classroom because the sister was waiting at the front door, Steven
said, “I need to pray more,” but Pastor Hwang replied, “There is no time. You
go, and I will stay and pray for you.”
That afternoon, Pastor Jung took
us out for lunch and we talked. I thank God for all the pastors that encouraged
us. The next day, Steven left for New Jersey. Two weeks later, I returned to
When I told my friends what
happened to me, they thought I was insane and was desperately in need of a
boyfriend. They questioned how I could make the decision to treat someone as a
potential husband when we had only met for two hours over lunch. But they did not
understand that God is the controller of all things and that I trusted Him—the
One who holds the promise and blessings of marriage.
Steven and I first wrote emails
and then eventually started to talk on the phone. In our first exchange of
emails, I wrote him a small paragraph about some of my favorite verses and the
teachings that I learned. Steven returned to me a three-page summary and
analysis on the Book of Isaiah. He said it was the homework that he was
supposed to turn in to Pastor Hwang, and he wanted to ask me what I thought
Thanks to the guidance of God,
Steven and I were engaged two years later. I moved back to the US for graduate
school, and he moved to Los Angeles because of his job.
We spent a lot of time praying
after our engagement. We would set a time to pray together because we knew that
God had to be the center of this relationship, or else it would not last.
Looking back, I thank God for
everything. I realize that God was my real matchmaker. He not only led me to
someone who was compatible with me but gave me someone who was more than I
could ask for.
After we were married in May 2006
at Baldwin Park Church, I felt that life was indeed very joyful. Not only have
I found a life-long companion, he is someone who will walk with me in the Lord,
who can kneel down and pray for me without me asking, and who will support me
when I am facing trials in life.
BE PATIENT…THE MATCHMAKER IS ALSO WORKING ON YOUR
I encourage brothers and sisters
to be open to all the possibilities that God has to offer because to be able to
marry in the Lord is a blessing beyond imagination. When God is your
matchmaker, marriage is not something we have to run away from.
Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD! (Ps 27:14)
In this age, we face a lot of
temptations. When we walk out into the world, we’re the minority. In a school
of thousands of people, you may be the only believer. Because of peer pressure,
we are tempted to make compromises, but remember what the Lord told us—that He
is a faithful God and will always prepare the best for us.
Guard your heart and reserve that
special place for that special someone. Let God bring your beloved to you and
you to your beloved. Perhaps it might be the other end of the continent or the
other side of the world, but patiently wait for Him.