Monday, August 20, 2007

Lord give me a wife

This writing is more about me, and may hopefully pointed to someone who has not yet travelled along my path. In writing this, do not feel that I seek your pity, I seek only to discuss an issue on my heart. My goal is to write this down that I might understand my own mind by reflecting with the bible.

Many times I have been up and down the road of wanting and then not wanting a wife. I pace reluctantly forward and back, looking at examples here and there, focusing on the ones that suit my current state of mind. Recently I have been back to the good old "I do not deserve a wife." While this is true, it is not complete. No one deserves anything good from God; yet He blesses so many today

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD." - Proverbs 18:22

Strong words coming from a man with over one thousand wives. But my most recent argument went like this: If I have sinned, in the manner that I have sinned, knowing and being taught the things that I have been studied in and taught, then surely it is just punishment for God to remove the gift of a wife from me.

It was last Friday, when the Lord started answering my prayer. He did not answer it with a woman, nor a man (in case you were wondering), he simply allowed me to hesitate. We were asked "who does not want to get married sometime in the future?" I waited, and thought rightly of the manner that I wanted to answer, but as I rose my hand and said, in the voice of a mouse, "me," the room erupted and no-one else but my close friend, heard and saw what I had done. I am so joyful over this, because it became a topic of my thought, the marriage institution. I imagined the manner in which people would try to council me out of this 'sorry' state, only I fear that God put the very things on my mind that brought me out of such an exodus.

My friend, who was with me, as another close friend, who I spoke to later, did not have much to say. They know that I can be extremely stern-minded and unwavering when it comes to council, something I trust God will deal with, or perhaps, as most people reading this article may think, that I seek some pat on the back or attention to need. These things, while good for some, are not the things I need in this case.

I have been, in my studies, listening to sermons that were given at shepherds conferences in South Africa in 2005 to 2007. They aided me when I had no pastor and strengthen me further now that I do. I usually only handle one a night, and this night was, I thought, no exception. I am tired, I have other things to do, many books to read and much to do tomorrow. But something made me want to listen to one more talk tonight. Although the sermon was on the subject of gay marriages, Mark Christopher started out talking about the purposes of marriage, as found in Genesis 1 and 2.

The first thing we find is that God created the genders. He created both of them in His own image (Genesis 1:26 - 27). This would mean that both genders reflect God, albeit in different ways. So the first element of the purpose of marriage is that it is reflective of God. When a man marries a woman they share in being a reflection of God. This is part of the purpose of man's journey; consider the words of Zechariah:

"And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'" - Zechariah 13:9

Any good exegesis of the text will tell you that in order to purify silver, one cannot leave it out of the fire, for then it is not pure. If one holds it over the fire to long, the silver is burnt and is useless. The only manner in which to know that the silver is pure, and right, is when the silver has been in the fire long enough that the purifier can see His reflection perfectly within the silver. If marriage is reflective of God, then it is my desire to be married in a Godly manner.

I always sought a woman who was like myself, proving how much an idolater I truly am. The second element of marriage, according to Mark Christopher, is that it is completive. It completes, in the sense that different things are brought together. What is a man with two brains and no heart? The argument belongs to God:

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." - Genesis 2:18

Note that up to this point everything is good. This does not mean that everything was sufficient. Man, without woman is incomplete. The God who speaks matter into creation decrees that man should not be alone. There is something that creation could not do for man that only a woman can do. The scales of humanity do prove this: men are aggressive, analytical, reflective while woman more sensitive (understanding), intuitive, communicative. Men are guided more by sight, woman more by emotion. Men require justice, woman require compassion. As I struggle with the will of man, I realise that Godly living is life lived in perfect harmony. So often I tend to get so caught up in election that I forget my accountability. I find that in myself I am a perpetual pendulum, blindly swinging from one extreme of the spectrum to the next. I have come to conclude that God knows infinitely more than I do, whether or not I understand His ways. All I can do is ask Him to grant me understanding, the way Daniel did.

The third element is the unitive element. It is this reason alone that gives me hope in my reconciliation with Christ. That, although I am a sinner by nature, I am saved by His grace and may even share in the state that He has for Himself. In Genesis 2:24 God says they will become "one flesh" (Hebrew: ekh-awd'). This very special word for 'one' is used by God to describe himself as one in many parts:
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one."
- Deuteronomy 6:4

Pointing to the unity of God Himself when he ordains marriage. It is here I find myself most undeserving in the gift of marriage, but hoping that I would receive it to glorify Him in it rather than to seek my own glorification. Instead of focusing on my undeserving nature and situation, I choose to focus on God's mercy, God's love and His ability to provide the help that every man needs.

A pro-creative marriage is the kind of marriage I seek. The fourth element of a marriage is that children are another gift that flow from God. God gave the ability to woman to bear children, but to the man he gave to ability to determine the gender of the child, not of man's will, of course, but the sovereign will of God. I used to find that children were no more burden to me than blessing. But after teaching them the word of God almighty, I find myself referring to them as "my children" to people who do not know me (I usually explain myself) and grow in concern as the day draws near that I will no longer be their teacher. God, in His sovereignty, has taught me to love children.

The final point of the elements of marriage, as I just heard tonight, is that of exhilaration. The marriage promises to make one weak at the knees. It is a gift from God that is so wonderful that it saddens me to think of those who do not seek first His kingdom, for they focus on the blessing not on the one from whom we receive blessing, But God has promised to add all these things unto us. He knows the manner in which His children need. He will not allow us to receive scorpions. I realize that God does take away, but as Mark Christopher said, "there is more grace in God than there is sin in you". I found such hope in God

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

This is the source of my joy. That God does bless. I do not wish to begin dating, I do not think that dating is the manner in which I should meet, maintain and marry a woman. There are some who advocate dating, saying that if they wanted to be biblical about finding a wife they would ask their father to find them one. While my fleshly father fails me spiritually, I dare not trust him, especially in such matters as these. But I have a heavenly father, who created the world. I will pray without wavering, not to be tossed like an ocean tide, or that I would receive for myself, but that I would receive that which may bring Him glory and honour. I also pray that I would be patient in my prayer, yet another gift that only God Himself can give.

While I know that it is not guaranteed that I would get a wife, I will not stop in the faith that it is God alone who blesses. It is not up to me to determine whether I have forfeited this gift. Like David, who prayed and fasted and hoped while his child was still living that God would show mercy, so will I hope that the Lord would shine His grace upon me.

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