The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!”
When my friend and roommate Jim met his wife to be, Mary, they were so happy that I began to realise there must be something in marriage. I began to pray and think about a wife. I wrote out a sort of prayer list of attributes that I would value. The most important factors to me were that she be of the same spiritual maturity and especially to have a heart for disciple making ministry. That is not to say that looks were unimportant. There was a myth going around at the time that Christian men do not consider such things, they only look at spirituality. The reality at least for me was that without the looks there would be no initial interest raised to even think about the spirituality. She would have to be someone quite special, of that I was sure. There were many nice girls involved in the Nav group in El Paso, but none of them really hit the spot. That said, I did not particularly want to marry an American. I believed that there would be a high risk of being unable to leave the states. The lifestyle in the US is quite different from England, and if I was going to go overseas as a missionary there would be even less of a chance of leaving the more comfortable world.
Thinking there could not be anyone in the area my thoughts turned to the UK. I would be returning in a few months at the end of my four year stay in America, and as it happened, I was going to the UK that Christmas on a business trip. My boss very generously arranged such trips once in a while and they helped me keep my links up back home. This time I would be visiting the Cardiff Navs on their winter house party.
Having fostered this hope that maybe there would be someone who did hit the spot amongst the Navigator ministries in the UK I rather took on a ‘wife hunting’ mode. My wife now tells me that she could pick up this attitude a mile off, and used to keep well away from those men who had it. Even now she will occasionally tell me who is in the mode. At this time however I was all ignorance, and turned up at the house party with eyes on the watch.
On the second day in, I suddenly realised what I was doing. I felt really ashamed of myself. Here I was a relatively mature Christian going around and evaluating people on some rather vague scale to see whether they ‘hit the spot’ as such. This was not love, it was certainly not –‘and let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works...’(Hebrews 10:24,25 RSV) rather, it seemed to be treating people as objects. So, I backed off and started again, sharing spiritually and keeping close to Jesus for safety sake – safety for everyone else that is, as much as for me.
So, back I went to America. The hoped for lady had not materialised, such was life. I went to the first Navigator Bible study following the Christmas break. There to my surprise were two new members – Eva and Rachel . As we studied the Bible together, I was struck that, in Eva, here was the first person I had studied the Bible with who had maturity with the word and had not come through the Navigators. I was quite impressed. As time went on I was to become interested – but then I was going back to the UK in only a few months and it did not seem long enough to do anything. – God however thought differently and our marriage a year later showed how much greater He is than my thinking!
THINKING OF MARRIAGE