Why Did You Laugh?
I saw an image of Sarah standing around a corner when God told Abraham that he would be a father.
I thought about me wearing a wedding ring and coming home to a wife after work.
Jessica and I had started sending emails back and forth. It was a lot fun. We talked about what we wanted out of the future, our plans, our dreams, and the things we enjoyed. As time went on, we started talking about the things in our pasts, our missed opportunities, goals we let go of, and the stuff we have to do but that we really don’t like at all.
At some point she asked me about my faith and made some kind of comment about how she wished that she was more like me in that area. That made me feel good, and instead of telling her the truth, I jumped at the opportunity to lead.
The truth was that I really was not mature in what I believed. The truth was that the only time I really spent reading my Bible or Praying was when I was at the Bible Study on base. The truth was that, other than the Bible Study, I spent maybe 1 day a week reading my Bible and 2 mornings praying at best. The truth was that I was probably just as immature as she was.
The truth is she was carried away by my dashing good looks, winning personality, and could not resist a man in uniform.
The truth is… I had no idea how to respond.
But I knew what the guys who were influencing me were doing. They were reading a passage of the Bible with me, and then asking questions. Easy Day!!
So in addition to our standard email traffic, Jessica and I started studying scripture from 500 miles apart. I had no idea what I was actually teaching and had no vision for where I was leading, but it felt good, was fun, and brought me a little bit of joy.
After a couple months of this, I was sitting at my computer when I got this ridiculously crazy thought.
“Mike… It’s time for you to get married.”
I laughed about that. Like a whirlwind I saw in my mind as though a movie were playing before me, a woman in a long white toga style dress, carrying a jug of water and a bunch of grapes, jump back behind a wall as she heard the men talking. “What did he just say? Did he say I was going to have a baby? Funny…” I guess when God communicates something, He does not particularly enjoy being discounted and then laughed at.
It felt like a glass of ice water running down my back as I contemplated the connection between that old story and what was happening in my life. The implication was pretty overwhelming.
Did God realize to whom he was speaking? I was a committed bachelor to the rapture. I was not going to be slowed down by some woman. I was going to live a wild and dangerous life, free from the burden of having to provide for and please a woman. I just knew that my future had a lot of travel, a lot of living cheap, train hopping, hitch hiking, running from danger, eating questionable food, kind of elements in it. Things that do not mix so well with a wife, and lets not even start talking about kids.
For me to get married would mean a complete loss, a total sacrifice of who I was and what I wanted out of life.
This all moved so fast I was left in a bit of a daze. I left my barracks room and went for a walk. That walk ranks among the most sobering walks I have taken. While cruising down the jogging path along the water’s edge and between the command buildings, I presented what I believed to be a pretty iron clad reason why this was all a bunch of garbage that I had made up in my own little head.
I didn’t have a girlfriend.
I didn’t have any girl friends.
I didn’t have any girls who I felt would ever want to be my friend.
I had precious few friends…
So I said,
“If this is God telling me that it is time to get married, then who should I marry?”
Before I could really finish the thought, I immediately thought of 5 different girls. I wanted to dismiss that too but remembered how I felt when I laughed after the first experience in this developing conversation.
This cannot be. This is not how it works. There is a man for a woman and a woman for a man, but not many possible matches for a woman or a man. There is just the one out there. I know this to be true because of my extensive background in the dogma and philosophy of Disney and chick flicks… and the Bible… right?
Wrong. I will not hijack my own post in order to start a treatise on the will of God, but suffice it to say that this conversation began a really great foray into that topic.
I had a lot of assumptions but no direction and no way to test any of these assumptions. I was assuming that it was God speaking to me, that He wanted me to be married, and that He was giving me a choice between these 5 ladies. I felt like I had nothing really at stake yet, so my bets were still safe.
“God… if this is really you speaking with me… and this is really how this is supposed to go… then I choose Jessica. If you really are telling me it is time to be married and I can pick between any of these women, then I choose her. If all that I have just said to You is true and accurate, then I ask You to affirm this decision by blessing the relationship and making it crystal clear that we are to be married.”
I figured if I was going to play a hand with God I might as well go all in.
I made my way back to my barracks room, got something to eat, and then went to hang out with the couple guys that I usually spent time with.
I told nobody about this conversation.
Nothing changed in my life. It was like every other time that I thought I had communicated with God. Big, exciting, encounter and then left waiting and watching… and watching…
… and then I saw my life changing right before me.