We Trusted in God: The Maiden’s Years of Waiting
The title is true, “We Trusted God.” How easy it is to look to some earthly one for counsel and not to look to our Savior for His supreme love and guidance. Let’s face it: more effort, more concentration, more time on our knees, more consecration, more dying to our own desires is required in seeking the Lord in prayer, versus leaning on someone else to make this important decision. God alone knows the future and can see the needs of each person and how He wishes to use each individual in His body of believers. Parents, ministers, and others who are living close enough to the Lord will also recognize when the Lord is putting His hand upon a young man and a young woman for marriage. Parents, we need to be instructing and training our children to listen for the voice of the Lord in all the smaller decisions of life. Then when they come to this so great a decision of a life mate, they will already know the voice of the Lord and how He deals with them.
It seems hard to begin telling my own story, and I’ll have to admit, I’ve been dragging my feet to get it out. It all seems to be such an extremely personal and private thing between God, my husband, and I. But if it can be a blessing to someone out in the reading audience, I pray the Lord may be glorified.
I had no idea the number of years I would have to wait when I first began praying for the Lord to give me the companion of His choice. During those years of waiting the Lord had things to teach me. My friends, one by one, all got married. Even my younger sister was being courted. I would be in the kitchen washing dishes on Sundays while she and her friend could be seen out in the yard. The devil tried to stir up jealousy in my heart toward her. Not that I wanted her friend, but that I was the oldest and it seemed fair that someone should court me first. The Lord had a special message at a campmeeting for me. The minister’s text was jealousy in connection with Ephesians 5:3, in speaking of different fruits of the flesh. “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.” The point was emphasized over and over: Let not jealousy be once named among you. I went home and prayed earnestly for victory. It was a struggle; the devil wasn’t going to give in easily. I remember praying silently in my heart while I was on hands and knees mopping the floor, as well as praying behind closed doors. The Lord did give the victory! I’m thankful I struggled, and by God’s help, won. Since then, I have heard of older girls in similar situations who really gave their younger sisters a hard time. It is so good to look back and thank the Lord for the victory He gave! If it were not for God’s grace, the story would have been different.
I was earnestly seeking the will of God for my life during my years of waiting. My parents had lived a happy, godly life before me and I desired a companion and home of my own, also, if this were the Lord’s will. Some of the time was used to make quilts and linens for my hope chest. There was ample opportunity to learn gardening and canning skills. There were times to meditate and sing while going to the pasture to bring the cows home for milking. Often, time was taken to spend a few moments talking to the Lord beside some farm equipment in the quietness of the pasture. Going down the lane I remember being blessed with the song in which the chorus says,
Light breaks at last! Hallelujah to God!
Darkness is past, let us shout it aloud:
From the mountains and hills let us gather the few
Who will stand for the right, and dare to be true.*
I learned a lot about waiting upon the Lord. Have you ever realized how many scriptures talk about waiting? During those years the Lord was always pointing them out. I will share a few that were especially precious to me. “And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.” (Isaiah 30:18) As is usual with the Lord’s dealings, more of God’s mercy can be seen now than in those years of waiting. Waiting can be rather heavy business, like a big rock in your path, and the Lord knew we would get weary. If you are in this place in life, be encouraged by this scripture: “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31) Many times I prayed, “Lord, if you don’t want me to marry, please take the desire away.” The Lord gave this scripture for an encouragement: “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer…. And the Lord answered me…. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Habakkuk 2:1-3) The Lord was teaching Habakkuk to wait in faith for an answer. What a privilege to share in some of the same teaching the Lord had given Habakkuk! I prayed, “Lord, if you do have a companion for me, give me love for the one of your choice. If I am attracted to anyone who is not your will, please do not allow it to happen.” I really wanted the Lord’s will more than anything. I knew my own choice could bring me disaster. While waiting on God, the devil will make you think you ought to be “doing something.” But the Lord got it across to me that if I were waiting and “doing nothing” as far as seeking a husband on my own, I was doing something! Just waiting on God was just exactly what He wanted me to do. What a great sense of security in God that thought brought.
Then there were campmeeting times with the opportunity to meet other young folks from various places. These meetings can be a great blessing, but the devil comes along, too, to detract your attention from the spiritual if you allow him. It is only natural for one to wonder whom the Lord has for you and also to be tempted to look around on your own. In communication with the Lord, instruction was given to get my eyes off the boys and to keep it on Him; that my attention should be directed in becoming a spiritually proper mate. We were taught it was wrong to date and trifle with affections. Nor were the older ones willing to accept responsibility to act as the Holy Spirit in choosing spouses for the younger. They instructed us to seek God and forsake our own thoughts, as God only knew best for our future. They prayed for us and were willing to agree in prayer and give counsel. I appreciated this so much. It was sound and did work, if you had totally died out to yourself. That is the concern. Many have thought they had the mind of the Lord and have been mistaken. Their own desires overshadowed what the Lord had in mind to bless them with.
I am reminded of a little story to illustrate this point. A mother had in mind to take her little girl to the store and buy her a beautiful doll. Upon entering the store the little girl immediately fell in love with a little, inexpensive one. The mother was ready to move on, as she knew there was a better one. The little girl cried and begged for that little doll, not knowing that Mother had something much better, if she would just wait. In this case the mother insisted on the child giving up the object of her affection and led her to the best choice. But the Lord doesn’t insist on us giving up our own way. He wants us to volunteer our will. I was afraid to take my own way. The scripture was heavy upon me, where David was speaking of the Israelites: “They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalms 106:13-15) Marriage is the most important decision one can make in life besides that of choosing to serve the Lord. So great an impact it has on your life it can mean your destiny in eternity. It has been said that if you marry out of the order of the Lord, you have to struggle very hard to keep what spirituality you have.
The Lord allowed me to work at some jobs at home and also in protected environments. During my 26th year, the Lord began to talk to me about a vacancy at a gospel printing house. I really didn’t want to go, and waited, hoping someone else would be burdened to fill the need. Prayer requests were put in over and over that this need would be filled. “Lord, can’t you send someone else?” But the Lord didn’t. I was the one who was supposed to go. Word was communicated to my parents. They were not against it, but Daddy did say he hated to see me quit the good job. I was one who always tried to please my parents—-so this made me hesitate. Prayer was continued. We went to a gospel meeting where a young minister preached on the great need of consecrated service, and how many places were vacant for the want of consecrated laborers. This greatly increased my burden and then I was ready and willing and anxious to go. It also touched my father’s heart and upon arriving home, he gave his willing consent. As I look back on the three and one-half years spent there, I can truly say it was some of God’s preparing ground for my marriage. It was a good education in a lot of ways. I lived with two other girls and a housemother during that time. It was a real eye-opener to see how different people can be in all the habits of life! How good the Lord is to train us for what lies ahead. “How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33) Surely He knows what is best.