You are at a unique moment in history. If you’re a millennial, you are quite literally the first generation that has access to the entire world. With social media, online dating, and big cities, the options for meeting a potential spouse is practically infinite. Compare this to the last few thousands years when you were mostly limited to marrying one of a few people in your small village or town.
Let’s suppose during your season of singleness you meet multiple people that you could potentially spend the rest of your life with. With so many amazing people out there, how do you know who is best? Does God even have a best for you?
Maybe not everyone struggles with these questions. At least with me, my mind is always thinking through possibilities.
In our world, dating culture goes something like: “Date until you find someone that you love. If you can’t find a relationship that works, keep dating!”
Ugh. So much heartbreak. If you’ve ever been through a breakup, you know the pain I’m talking about. Even worse, it seems this trial and error dating process creates a lot of mediocre marriages.
Is this what God intended?
We know God gives us free will to choose a mate. And secondly, we know that God works for the good of those that love and serve Him (Romans 8:28). When husband and wife form a marriage covenant with Jesus at the center, He blesses their marriage.
But so often we force our will now. We don’t even ask God what He thinks. We just ask Him to bless a decision we’ve already made, “Hey God, I want to date this person, please bless our relationship.”
What if we surrendered our “trial and error dating” and let God write our love story?
There’s a gem in Proverbs 19:14 which sheds some insight: “…A congenial spouse comes straight from God” (Other translations say “a gift from God”). Congenial means “suited to one’s needs or nature”, or someone who has a compatible personality.
God won’t interfere with our free will. We can take our hand, reach it out, and make a relationship happen in our timing. But if we truly desire the best, we must wait in faith for Him to bring us His best.
I love the story of Adam and Eve. It offers a brief glimpse into how things were supposed to be before the fall. If you read between the lines, there was a period of time between when God created Eve and when the two met. I imagine God took Adam out into the wilderness and showed him his identity as a man. Meanwhile, God probably had Eve in the garden teaching her, fellowshipping with her, and revealing her identity as a woman. God prepared both of them for each other before the big reveal.
We must be willing to go through this process of preparation and realization of our identities. People who “wait for God’s best” but don’t “prepare for God’s best” are not positioning themselves to receive God’s best. Faith always requires action.
The story of Jacob and Esau is most commonly known for how Jacob stole Esau’s blessing. But there’s another part of this story that gives us great insight into how God brings a spouse by His hand (Genesis 28 and 29).
Isaac, the father of Jacob and Essau is getting old. Isaac is displeased with Essau because he took a wife (or wives) from the local population that weren’t living for The Lord. In other words, Essau settled for his own way.
Isaac instructs Jacob to go see his uncle Laban and marry from his uncle’s family. Interestingly, Isaac hasn’t seen Laban in years. Isaac is purely depending on faith that God will give Jacob a godly woman, without really knowing any details about who that woman might be.
So what does Jacob do? He takes a journey to receive his spouse by faith. Biblical historians tells us that this journey was about 400 miles long through the wilderness. That’s a long way to walk or ride by yourself, and it probably took Jacob weeks or even months.
The Word is clear that Jacob did this journey in complete obedience, with cheerfulness. He had the courage to earnestly expect that God would be faithful.
So Jacob finally gets to the land of his uncle Laban. And what does he find? Some shepherds are waiting for ALL the other shepherds to arrive so they can remove a huge stone cover off a well. More on this stone-cover later, but it sounds pretty heavy… as in several thousand pounds heavy.
In a divinely orchestrated moment, Rachel happens to arrive with her father’s flocks at that very moment.
When Jacob finds out she is Laban’s daughter, he removes the stone from the well and waters her sheep!
Let’s consider the gravity of this statement. Upon seeing Rachel, Jacob single-handedly removes a stone cover that would normally take dozens of men to move. He then proceeds to water all her sheep, drawing hundreds of gallons of water out of the well.
Rachel obviously captivated Jacob to the point that he mustered some kind of superhuman strength. The specific words used to describe her are “stunningly beautiful” —she was his dream girl. Moreover, Jacob had prepared himself well for her, being obviously extremely physically fit and strong in faith and character.
When Jacob realizes God gave him His best, he is so overwhelmed he begins to weep from tears of joy. God’s Grace was better than he could have ever imagined!
We have to stop being suspicious of God working in our lives. God wants the absolute best for us. He wants us trust Him and have faith that His plan is better.
I’ve seen a lot of Christians who wait around asking God, “why haven’t I met my spouse yet?” They believe God will come through for them, but they don’t prepare themselves in faith. Some of us act like we are entitled to God’s best because we believe God exists.
We must lean into God’s promises. That means preparing ourselves for our future spouse. Get on the road to God and find out who God created you to be. Pursue your passions and desires, constantly becoming more like Him.
And when that wilderness journey comes, like Jacob, embrace it. Make the most of your time being single.
God will bring the person into your life by His hand, but He often takes us through a process that can be lonely, painful, or uncomfortable. If we’re willing, this process will transform us into the kind of person that can have an amazing marriage.
It’s important to note that Jacob never had to ask God if Rachel was “the one” because God arranged everything. He could look back at the whole process and see God working supernaturally.
I don’t know how God will reveal His best for you. Is there one person out there for you? Possibly. But that doesn’t really matter. There’s no formula. God’s working at a level much higher than our understanding of time and space.
All we need to do is simply be in this moment, focusing straight ahead serving at our place in the Kingdom.
Pray, trust, and obey.
Let God do the rest.