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Over the past few months I have met several couples who had found a companion with whom they wanted to share the journey of life. Two of the couples had met, dated and married. They had found each other through social media connections. That has always been an interesting if not a shocking revelation to me as people go online to a dating service or some of the highly advertised Christian connections. In talking with the couples it has been interesting to hear them tell how happy they are, how compatible the relationship seems to be, and how thankful they are that they were able to find each other. For many of us, it is a new and novel way to find someone, but if the stats are true, millions of people are searching to find that right person by means of the Internet. Though I have heard some horror stories about some of the connections, it is certainly interesting to hear of the positive and good ones.
Even more fascinating to me was a couple that I recently met at a church who had met, I suppose, the old fashioned way. I was to preach at this church and was just visiting with the few early worshippers who had come into the sanctuary. There I met this delightful older couple. My guess was that they were in their 80s and there they sat close together, enjoying one another’s company, and waiting for church to begin.
I introduced myself and told them that I was the guest speaker that day. They introduced themselves to me and since they had different last names, the lady went on to explain to me that they were friends. I said, “That is wonderful.” Then she began to explain how they met. Both of them had experienced the death of their mate and each of them had decided that they would sell their home and move into an assisted living facility. It was there that they first met.
The man explained to me that both of them had been seeing some other people but were not inclined to continue those relationships because they were not, as he recalled, pleasant experiences. Then they met each other. She wanted me to know how that took place. She said that both of them had prayed and asked God to give them someone with whom they could share the experiences of life. I asked her if they went on one of the online dating services and she said, “Oh, no!” He shook his head negatively. She said, “We just prayed about it and God brought us to each other.” I said, “That is a beautiful story and I appreciate you sharing that with me.” She still was not through with her explanation and continued, “I was very specific in telling the Lord what I would like to have in a man.” I said, “Really! What did you tell him?” She said, “I had three things that were really important to me. One was that I wanted a Christian man. A man that I could go to church with, that had the same values that I did, and a man that knew the Lord.”
I said, “That is a significant thing and probably is a feature many a single looking for someone leaves out of the equation. Yet it is the foundational truth if you want to share a life together.” She was not through. She said, “The second thing that I told the Lord was that I wanted a sweet man. I did not want to spend my time around an old, grumpy man who did not have a sweet disposition.” She glanced over at him and said, “He is a sweet man.” He smiled from ear to ear and exuded his sweet countenance.
I said, “That is a feature that is missing in a lot of people, both young and old.” She said, “Oh, I know.” But then her third qualification was the most fascinating to me. She said, “I told the Lord I wanted a man who is a little bit fleshy. I like a man with some skin on his bones.” I looked over at him and with a twinkle in his eye he smiled and seemed to be saying, “I am glad I am little bit overweight.” We visited a little while longer as they were not sure if they were going to get married or not but were rejoicing in the blessings that God had provided for them in each other. She told me that they went out to eat together, enjoyed going to church, movies, and other events, but most of all they just enjoyed being with each other.
I inquired, “Have you set a date?” She said, “Oh, no!” I said, “Are you looking at a date?” The sweet, old man smiled and said, “Maybe.” I was blessed as I went on speaking to other people but still thinking about how special the experience was, talking to them and hearing the richness of their faith and the maturity and joy of their relationship. I thought about how special their time in life was and how special it was that God had brought them together maybe to marry and maybe not but to enjoy the delights and presence of another person in their life’s journey.
A wise old sage of years gone by said, “It is far better to want something you cannot have than to have something that you do not want.” They were a happy couple. While she was telling what she would love to have in a person to share life’s delights, I thought about the significance in both of their lives that prayer was at the very foundation. Wanting what God wants is far more important than wanting what we want. Our wants can get all out of kilter and He can guide us through life’s strange twists and turns.
In wanting what the Lord may guide and provide, I was reminded of the very first couple that God ever brought together. In the perfect Garden of Eden He brought Adam and Eve to be united and be as one. The Scripture describes Eve as a helpmate. That word literally means a completer, someone who would enable Adam’s life to be what it could not be apart from her and enabling Eve’s life to be what it could not and would not be apart from him. That is God’s intended plan and what He wants to provide for many a person.
I am fully aware that the Scripture points out that there are some people who God in His plan wants to remain single, but generally speaking, He has a design and a desire that life’s greatest joys be shared with others and specifically and magnificently to be shared with one whose life will be encouraged and also who will be an encourager to the other. On that Sunday morning just visiting with an aging couple, I saw the wonder of that event. I saw it in their eyes and heard it in their voices and rejoiced with them.
By the way, the old man with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye said, “One of the good things about our relationship is if we have a fuss or a fight, which we have not had, we can just walk down the hallway and go to our own rooms and not worry about it.” I said, “Well, we all need a place where we can go and re-evaluate life’s less than happy encounters and maybe come to a better view and attitude as time moves along.”