God’s Goodness Does Not Equal Marriage // 神的恩典不等於婚姻
For years, Wendy wrongly assumed that God’s goodness for her was directly related to her relationship status. She learned it was so much more than that.
I used to have a box in my heart filled with a strict 1:1 correlation between God’s loving kindness and my relationship status. When I was dating someone, or when I went on a date with someone, or when I liked someone, or he liked me and I really thought it might work out, or when I was sure God was speaking to me about the special him, I felt really good about God’s intentions toward me. My entire countenance changed for weeks at a time, so much so that I became lighter and laughed more and would joyfully go about my days singing lines like, “For You are good, yes You are good, You are so good to me…”
And, then the plane would crash. Again and again…and again. Until one day, I sat in a wooden, electricity-less shack on an Alaskan beach, coldly sheltered from the rain, listening on repeat to a Misty Edwards song about waiting for the promise and journaling to God with an honesty I’d never articulated before: “I don’t know how to see outside this box. I had equated words like ‘goodness’ and ‘hope’ and ‘promise’ and ‘fulfillment’ to my personal realization of marriage, and I can’t find the willingness inside me for these prophetic words or Scriptures to mean anything else. I could really be missing the point here. I might need Your help here.”
That box felt like solitary confinement. The lock was on the outside and I’d never seen the light of day. I had no idea how to move forward.
What could Psalm 37 be about, then? There are no other desires in my heart that I would be glad to receive as I delight in Him. The promise that “the winter is past, the rains are over and gone, and flowers appear in the land and that the turtledoves would start cooing” – whatever could these words mean if not marriage? I would battle with God, “I’m seeking the Kingdom first, and You promised that You would add all these other things to me (i.e. a husband). When You said, ‘Behold, I’m doing a new thing,’ surely You meant marriage was just around the bend!”
I really wanted to be done with the recurring disappointment, done with the way my heart would sink to the black ocean depths when I realized I had read God wrong again. And, so, I began to repent for boxing His love, for telling Him what I would and would not be willing to receive from His hands. I began to surrender to my need for Him to create a new experience for me that I had never known and could hardly imagine. I began to make daily lists of the many ways He was good to me each day.
Some time passed and I eventually found myself swimming in an ocean of His love, and I cried a lot of joyful tears. It was such a relief to know that I will only move forward in the knowledge of the love of God for me all the rest of the days of my life! I’m never going back to that prison box again.
Can you receive a hug or a comforting smile from a friend as the love of God for you? Do you recognize your Father’s goodness toward you when something little and inconsequential that you had a fleeting desire for turns up in your lap? Can you turn to Him with a smile when the sun is out, and when someone serves you, and when you get a holiday or when your tomato plants excel (and you really love tomatoes) or when you get the chance to be thoroughly you in the use of your gifts?
I realized the puzzle He will put together of His very great love and perfect goodness toward me will astound my best imaginations. God’s goodness is not the same as marriage. Marriage is very good, and it is a clear expression of God’s goodness, but God is so much bigger. Let’s let God out of the box we keep Him in so He can love us extravagantly well. We will never regret that choice.
For more of Wendy’s posts on God, faith, identity and singleness, check out her blog: http://wendyandrews.wordpress.com/
那詩篇37又是說什麽的呢？當我以神為樂，我並沒有什麽所求。「冬天已往，雨水止住過去，地上百花開放和斑鳩的聲音也聽見了」的約定 — 如果這些指的不是婚姻又能是什麽呢？我跟神鬥爭：「我先尋求袮的國，而袮答應我袮會給我這些東西（即丈夫）。當袮說，『看哪，我要做一件新事。』袮說的肯定是婚姻快要到來了！」
你能接受一個朋友給你的一個擁抱或讓人欣慰的微笑作為神對你的愛嗎？當意外獲得一件小或不重要而又能滿足你稍縱即逝的慾望的東西時，你會能從而認出天父的仁慈嗎？你能在以下的情況下向祂微笑嗎 – 當太陽下山時、當有人事奉你時，及當你的番茄苗長得特別好（而你又特別喜歡番茄），或當你有機會完全地透過使用你的天賦當一個真真正正的自己？我明白到祂用祂偉大的愛及完美的善良為我堆砌出來的拼圖將會超越我的想像。神的恩典並不等同婚姻。婚姻是很好的，亦是祂的仁慈的清晰體現，但是神不止於此。我們讓神從我們預設的框框釋放出來，好讓祂可以滿滿地愛我們吧。
Photo credit: flickr.com/beth19