God is the Best Matchmaker: His Story // 神是最好的媒人:他的故事

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God is longing to write your love story.  Will you pass God the pen?
神渴望編寫你的愛情故事。你肯把筆交給祂嗎?

This is my story of how God shaped my idea of dating and marriage.

Since I came to believe in Jesus in early 2010, my life started taking on a whole new direction. I was a single Christian and enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of being single. To me, the thought of being with another person was not attractive at all, and at times I even reasoned that I could serve God better as a single person.

I first met Andrea when she came to our bible study care group back in late 2010. I thought she was attractive, but didn’t think any further than that. Over time, we got to know each other a little better but were never close and never saw each other alone or outside of a group.

As much as I tried to shrug off the “initial” attraction to Andrea, I couldn’t, and I soon found myself still attracted to her after over a year. At that point, I actually prayed on several occasions for God to take away those feelings as I was actively involved in various ministries and took delight in being able to spend my time freely doing whatever I liked. I wanted to remain single because I never saw anything good about being in a relationship.

A brother of mine was engaged to Andrea’s sister in 2011 and shared with me his joy and excitement about anticipating marriage. I just listened to him – not sure what to think but every time he mentioned marriage, I always thought about Andrea. It was weird and I tried to shrug it off.

One day, a thought came to mind, “What if God didn’t want me to be single?” – that thought scared me a little as I had maintained a comfortable routine and way of life. There was stability and security, I felt more in control, and the thought of having to be with someone put a completely new spin to the comfort of familiarity. I wanted to wrestle with God on this point, but finally gave in by praying that if He really did want me to be with Andrea, then He had to give me signs and confirmation, otherwise, I would continue living single. The next morning after I had prayed that prayer, I received an email from my care group leader saying:

Hey Bro, we probably wont be having dinner la. Just you and Andrea….”

In all the one and a half years of care group there was never a time when dinner was not required and now only Andrea and I had signed up for dinner. I was reminded about my prayer the night before, but I quickly dismissed it as a sign from God because it felt so sudden and impossible. I even put my hands over my eyes and said out loud, “This is not happening God, it is just a coincidence”. As I lifted my hands from my eyes, I caught a glimpse of some scripture written on a cross which was given to me by a friend several months ago – the words I caught hold of at the corner of my eye happened to be in bold print compared to the rest of scripture and it said “this is a gift from God”. I stared at the cross for a long time, feeling a little surreal and not knowing what to think. I just kept quiet and didn’t want to think anymore.

A few months went by, I had ignored the signs but I still felt drawn to Andrea yet not convinced that a relationship was in God’s mind for me. Then another thought came to mind “Why did you ignore the signs? Do you really believe the signs were a coincidence or from God?”. I felt a little convicted and had the urge to pray about it seriously one more time.

I told God, he knew me through and through (all my faults, limitations and past), that I trusted Him and only wanted to bring Him glory through my life and I would listen to Him the next time, if He were to point to Andrea again. Nothing happened for the next month or so. I was a little confused. So I prayed again to God, apologising to Him if I had ignored His voice earlier and asked if He would tell me one last time, yes or no, so that I might finally put the matter to rest. He did.

In February 2012, I remember one of the leaders at our church prayed for me at a Christian conference. I was expecting some kind of wisdom or powerful life changing words, but all he said was that he felt that I would start dating in March or April of 2012.

At around the same time, I was involved with the Alpha course at church and was invited to share my testimony with the guests one night. Andrea was not involved with Alpha at the time, but had heard through some mutual friends that I would be giving my testimony that evening and asked me if she could also come to listen. It almost seemed like God was arranging for Andrea to listen and know me better and for me to open myself up to her.

Shortly after, I stumbled across an online Christian article that caught my attention because of the provocative title “Stop Test Driving Your Girlfriend!”. The article spoke right into my heart. It talked about how guys often ask, is she the “right” one for them, rather than asking if they are the right ones for her. I realised that though I did want to trust God, there was another reason why I didn’t want to date, it was because I feared that we might realise later it was a mistake just like many others who ended up in a divorce. The article also spoke about marriage being the reflection of the gospel, of a man learning to love someone like the way Jesus would. Not looking to love only when times were sweet, but also in times of difficulties and especially when we “don’t feel like it” or think it was a mistake to marry that person.  I realised the act of loving someone was a choice, just like how God chose to lay His life down for us, I had to choose to love. This shattered my fear of finding the “right” one, because I knew that it was not so much of Andrea being “right” for me, as it was about me being “right” for her and choosing to love her with all that I have, sacrificially, like Jesus which was not conditional upon anything good that she would do or not do. I felt God was asking if I would love someone radically like the way He showed his commitment to give His life for me. I felt an almost immediate excitement, freedom and courage that came with that thought. It shattered my fears and gave me a freedom to love, a freedom to go after the person whom I would choose to lay down my life for, not just physically, but also in terms of my pride, my self-centeredness, my own ambitions, in order to live out a reflection of the gospel in our marriage. God totally changed my view about marriage. A marriage based on the gospel was radically different from a marriage based on Hollywood and romanticism.

I decided to ask Andrea out the next week. I was so nervous I had apparently told her that I wanted to marry her on the same night. Good thing it didn’t scare her away and she actually said yes (to dating at the time, not yet marriage). We were both thrilled beyond words. She told me she had feelings for me since we met but didn’t notice any interest on my side. She then told me about a prophecy she received from two Christian leaders at her sister’s wedding in 2011 (which I also attended) that someone in the ballroom was her future husband and one of them even indicated it was me and that we would be together in March 2012 (it was 22 March 2012 when I asked her out, and I didn’t know anything about these prophecies). She refused to believe it at the time because she didn’t see any chance and didn’t want her heart to be broken. Then I suddenly remembered the prophecy I had received back in February 2012 that I would start dating in March or April and I shared that with her too. We were a little awe struck at that point as we discovered God’s finger-prints were all over the events leading up to that evening. I am still in awe.

Six months later, we got engaged (yes, she eventually said yes) and we’re due to be married this year in 2013. When we first started dating, we really didn’t know what to expect, we didn’t really know each other either. But we knew that we were committed to a gospel marriage (yes, even at the start!) and that commitment became the foundation on which I came to fall completely head over heels for Andrea over time. The world tells us we must be head over heels for someone before we know if he or she is the one, but I believe that a relationship built on the gospel is what will cause you to continually grow in love with the person.

Check here to read Andrea’s side of the love story!

Ian and Andrea1

這是一個神如何改變我對戀愛和婚姻的看法的故事。

自從我在2010年初信主後,我的生命有了全新的方向。我當時是一位單身的基督徒,並享受著單身的自由和彈性生活。對我來講,跟另外一個人一起的這個主意一點都不吸引,而有時候,我還告訴自己單身能令我更能事奉神。

我認識Andrea是在2010年底,當她加入我們的查經班的時候。我第一眼覺得她很有吸引力,但除此以外,我也沒多想了。隨著時間,我們變得比較了解對方,但也說不上很熟,我們也從來沒有單獨見面。

儘管我嘗試著不去想我對Andrea最初的好感,那感覺也沒有消失,反而過了一年後,我發現我還是被她吸引著。那個時候,其實我禱告過好幾次求神把那些感覺帶走,因為我當時正活躍於多個事工團隊,並喜歡能夠自由地運用自己的時間去事奉神。我想一直單身,因為我從來都不覺得拍拖會帶來什麼好事情。

在2011年,我有位弟兄跟Andrea的姐姐訂了婚,他跟我分享這婚事為他帶來的喜樂和興奮。我聽著聽著 - 不是太知道應該想什麼,但每當他提及婚姻的時候,我總是想起Andrea,很奇怪,我嘗試不想它、不小題大作。

有一天,我突然有一個想法:要是神並不想我單身呢?-那想法嚇了我一跳,因為我已習慣了我舒適的生活模式。我的生活穩定、有安全感,一切都在我控制之內,所以想起要和另外一個人一起生活為我帶來了因生活會被打亂而引起的不安。我想在這一點上反抗神,但終於放棄了,並禱告說如果祂真的想我和Andrea在一起,那祂就要給我提示和確定,要不然,我就會繼續單身下去。第二早在我做了這個禱告後,我收到了我的查經班領導的電郵說:

 「兄弟,我們不能跟你吃飯啦。所以只剩你和Andrea⋯⋯

在我參加查經班的一年半裡,從來沒有一次不是大家一起吃晚餐的,這次卻只有我和Andrea。我想起我前一天晚上的禱告,但我很快就打消了這是從神而來的提示的念頭,因為這來得太突然、太不可思議了。我甚至於把雙手蓋着雙眼,大聲說:「神,這是不能發生的,這只是一個巧合。」當我把雙手拿開,我瞥見幾個月前朋友送給我的十字架上的經文-我眼角所看到的那段經文是用了特別粗的字體,寫著:「這是從神而來的禮物。」我看著那十字架很久,覺得有點超現實,反應不過來。我只能保持安靜,不再想下去了。

幾個月過去了,我不理會那些來自神的提示,雖然我還對Andrea有好感,但是我還是不相信神想我們在一起。然後,又有一個想法在我的腦海裡出現:「你為什麼不理會我給你的提示?你到底覺得這些提示是來自於我的還是單單是一個巧合?」我的信念增強,並有衝動為這件事再一次認真地祈禱。

我告訴神,祂最熟悉我(包括我的所有缺點、極限和過去),我相信祂並一心只想用我的一生把榮耀帶給祂,所以下一次祂再指向Andrea的時候,我一定會聽從。在打後的一個多月,什麼都沒有發生。我有點疑惑。所以我再次向神禱告,為了我之前不理會祂對我說的話而向祂道歉。我禱告求祂再跟我說一次,是還是不是,好讓我把這事情畫上一個句號。祂真的回應了。

2012年2月,我記得教會裡一位領袖在一個基督教特會上為我祈禱。我期待著一些充滿智慧或能改寫生命的話語,但是他只跟我說他感覺到我將會在2012年3月或4月開始拍拖。

大概就在那個時間,我在教會的啓發課程事奉,並被邀請跟大家分享我的見證。Andrea當時並沒有在啓發課程事奉,但是她聽朋友說我會在當晚分享我的見證,所以她問我她能否來聽聽。這好像是神安排Andrea來透過聽我的見證去更了解我,也是祂的安排讓我打開心扉跟她分享。

不久後,我偶然在網上看到一篇基督教文章,那具挑釁性的標題“停止試駕你的女朋友!”引起了我的注意。那文章一語中的,說男生時常問:「她是否“適合”的一位?」,卻從來不問到底自己是否適合她。我發現縱使我想信任神,我想保持單身的另外一個原因是我怕我們有一天會發現這是一個錯誤,然後像很多人一樣要離婚。那文章也說到婚姻是福音的寫照,是關於一個人如何學著像耶和華般愛人。不是只在甜蜜的時候才愛那人,而是在苦困,特別是在我們不想愛或覺得跟那人結婚是個錯誤的時候,也繼續愛著你的伴侶。我發現愛一個人是一個選擇,就像神為我們捨去祂的生命,我要作出愛人的選擇才能愛。這粉碎了我對能否找到“適合”的一位的恐懼,因為我知道問題不在于Andrea是否適合我的“那一位“,而在于我是否適合她的一位,在于我會否選擇去不惜一切地愛她,就如耶和華一樣無條件地愛著她,不論她會做或不會做什麼。我感覺到神問我會否像祂決意為我捨命一樣地決心去愛一個人。隨著那一念,我即時感覺到一股興奮、自由和勇氣。它把我的恐懼粉碎,並給了我去愛人的自由,也給了我追求一個我會為她選擇放下自己的生命(不單是肉體的生命,而且是我的虛榮、自我和為己的野心)的人,好讓我們能活出寫照福音的婚姻。在福音上建立的婚姻跟建立於好萊塢和浪漫主意的婚姻可是大不同。

第二個禮拜,我決定跟Andrea表白。我很緊張,緊張到我基本上在同一個晚上告訴了她我想跟她結婚。幸好這沒有嚇跑她,她竟然說好(對於交往,不是結婚)。我們倆都興奮得說不出話來。她告訴我她打從我們第一次見面就對我有好感,只是沒有留意到我對她也有好感。她又告訴我她在2011年她姐姐的婚禮上(我也有參加這婚禮)兩位基督教領袖給她的預言。預言說在婚宴當中有一個人是她的未來丈夫,其中一個預言更表明說那個人是我,而我們將在2012年3月開始交往(我表白的日子是2012年3月22日,我當時根本不知道有這些預言)。她當時拒絕相信,因為她覺得沒機會發生,也不想因為期望太高而心碎。我聽後突然想起我在2012年2月收到的預言,預言說我會在3月或4月開始拍拖。我跟Andrea分享這個預言,我們倆都因為頓時察覺了神的微妙的安排而感到非常驚嘆。我到現在還是覺得很奇妙!

六個月後,我們訂婚了(對的,她終於答應了),我們將於2013年結婚。當我們初初交往的時候,我們真的不知道應該期待什麼,我們連對方也不太了解。但是我們知道我們已承諾了要活出福音的婚禮(對的,我們一開始就決定了!),那承諾就成為我為Andrea傾倒的基石。世俗告訴我們我們必需為某人著迷後才能知道那人是我們的“那一位”,但是我相信在福音上建立的婚姻是會讓我們一天比一天愛著對方的。

這裡看看Andrea的故事吧!

Image credit: flickr.com/from_linda_yvonne

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