|Training for Reigning - 28 - Does His choice matter?|
DOES HIS CHOICE MATTER?
LET ME CALL HER "Mary." For this name, we are told, is a form of the Hebrew word "Marah," meaning "Bitterness," an expression that aptly fits this dear Christian now that her unhappiness seems complete.
Mary was a fine Christian girl, strong, healthy, sensible, but rather plain. Somehow, not many Christian young men cared to look her way. She sought to be friendly, and as interesting as she knew how, spent money she could ill afford, trying to dress attractively (as she hoped), and for becoming hair dos, "alluring" perfumes, etc. She prayed about the matter constantly, most earnestly, and talked about her problem with all her girl friends, hoping to gain some hint that would help her to correct matters. She listened intently to the ministry given in the meetings, feeling that perhaps her life was not pleasing to the Lord. But do what she might, nothing seemed to change. Finally she came to the grievous conclusion that there must be something wrong with her . . . an idea that gradually deepened into bitterness, when her girl friends teased her with the age-old tauntings: "Why can’t you get a boy friend, Mary? What’s the matter with you? Do you want to be an old maid?"
For a long time she bore it. At last, goaded into desperation by the laughter of her Christian sisters, she did what many another girl has done: she yielded to her fears, accepted a ring from an unsaved man, and married him. Never again would she be worried by their hated reproachings, hated because they made her feel afraid.
It wasn’t that Mary didn’t know what her Bible said. She just couldn’t stand the things the other girls said. Their words reached down deep into her heart, magnifying the short-comings of which she was so keenly aware, building up to an unbearable pressure her feeling of insecurity, distorting her spiritual vision, until there seemed to be only one possible solution. Many older Christians shook their heads, asking, "Why did she do it?" They didn’t seem to know the answer.
But . . . you know why.
Let me remind you, my sisters, that, while Mary must bear her own responsibility for her acts, yet I feel pretty sure that the girls who were so glib, so unfeeling, with their humorous insinuations will meet their words again at the Judgment Seat of Christ. And since they were suggestions that Satan was able to use to mar the entire life of one of God’s children, I judge they will be considered more serious than "idle words" (as we think of them) even though spoken in fun. "Selah."
Now let’s consider Mary’s problem.
First of all, why did God not grant Mary’s petitions?
The answer to that question is surely easy: it is impossible for God to become an instrument for fulfilling human will. Mary asked Him to do what she wanted, while God sought to show her the supreme wisdom of asking Him to carry out His will in th matter. (1 John 5: 14-15). Had she been able to reply to the thrusts of her foolish sisters in Christ, "I have left the question in my Lord’s hands. I do not expect ever to have a boy friend until He sends me one. Besides, I do not know that He wishes me to marry. Only His will matters to me"- then she would have been at rest in the Lord. Is it not written: "Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee:
because He trusteth in Thee"? (Isaiah 26:3). Her worst fears would have been but minor incidents, passing shadows, mere ripples in the calm of dependence on God.
But Mary hadn’t gone that far in her Christian experience.
And just because she hadn’t gone that far, her all-wise Heavenly Father knew that she wasn’t really ready for the daily burdens of married life. (Again let me ask you to "pause and ponder").
Like ever so many young Christians, her thinking was crammed with dreams of love and romance. Though a person as wise as Solomon had assured her that romance is but a brief ecstasy, quickly brushed aside by the stern business of living and making a living, Mary just would not have believed him. She was sure "her heart told her different from that." And as for waiting . . . well, hadn’t she waited long enough already? She was now in her middle twenties. She felt she didn’t have to wait any longer. (Didn’t dare to leave it all in God’s hands, that is).
The unsaved boy friend turned out to be a very fine man. He often went to meetings with her; talked about being saved. Mary now began to pray differently, asking God to save her man, or else to put something in the way to hinder if she shouldn’t marry him. (It’s such a HARD lesson to learn to say, "not my will, but Thine be done," isn’t it?).
Well, Mary’s friend didn’t get saved. And the Lord didn’t put anything in the way to stop their marriage (except His Word of course). But why bother telling the rest of it?
unless it be to add that Mary prays through her tears, "not my will, Lord! not my will ever again!"
There won’t be space to discuss what might have happened had she been able to risk trusting the Lord with her life, as she had trusted Him with her soul (Colossians 2: 6). But there Is one unqualified promise that fits into such circumstances: "they SHALL NOT be ashamed that wait for ME:" (Isaiah 29: 23b). Moreover, I have known a goodly number who have put God to the test, and have found His promise most blessedly true.
And now, as I close, let me urge you to ask yourself, "Does the Lord’s choice matter to me? Do I want His way, or my own? Shall I yield to Him the control of my life? (Romans 6: 13). Do I, or do I not, desire His choices, His plan for my life?"
Your decision can be as important for the rest of your sojourn on earth, and your status in the Ages to Come, as the one you made the day you trusted Christ (Luke 9:24, 25, 26).
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