I have been thinking about love. Laugh now. Not however in relation at all to this post’s title, that was a random line that appeared in my head late this afternoon and had every excuse to make it on to paper somewhere.
These ‘love thoughts’ come after reading a goodly lot of The Road Less Travelled which is a fairly famous book by M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist (I can’t work out what religion he is, if any – I’d heard he was a Christian, but he is evidently hiding it or has writen specifically for the secular market. Entirely not definitive in my respect for many of his ideas for they are very good.)
I realise now a good proportion of the ‘love lecture’ that Tim Hein presented to us during a group focus class last year has been derived from ideas. So now Rowan (if you read this) I at least have a somewhat text form of what was said. If you do read this, I’m still waiting for that video/mp3 and have been meaning to remind you for some time. Please?
I will not spoil the book (for it should be read in it’s entirity for everything to fit together) by sharing too many ideas, but it has lead me to question a couple of things.
The whole ‘pray for your future spouse’ which in many a sense is a bit of guff . Of course God stands outside the free choice with this birds eye view and knows exactly whom we will end up with (be that one, or more people – due to death and sadly too often, divorce). The fact that we have free choice I think is extremely important when you look at this, specifically when you realise that you – in the matter of love, you could end up happily married to Mr.1, Mr.2, Mr.3… (or Miss#) depending upon a descision that will evidently have to happen. That saying, I do not think a ONE Mr/Miss. Perfect exists. For if we lived thus, it presents the perfect excuse of, “Oh wow! What a mistake I’ve made, this person isn’t my perfect companion.”
The person I marry (God willing that Bec marrying someone happens – I do hope so :P) the only person I ever have to make that descision with (til death do us part – excepted) will be my Mr. Right. God does know who this person will be. But under human standards, no ONE for me exists.
Hopefully that’s clear?
So, the with choice aspect (which I am again exploring tonight) – how does it fit with the common catch-cry in Christian singles circles of praying for their future spouse?
So that you know: I have been known to do this (praying for mr. x), after being inspired by some literature :P, I often don’t remember. But I guess I’m asking why?
I cannot afterall pray this person into perfection, pray for them to avoid mistakes in various areas, for we are human and God will teach us how he chooses. I am trying my hardest to comprehend how this non-ONE can be prayed for. If I could marry: A, B or C – does that mean I should just drop the prayer/focus because it alludes to the ONE that God can see. Or should I pray tangibly from the human position that I find myself in – which means if praying for the Mr Right, I could very well be praying for the whole eligible male Christian population?
I do not exactly know if I can draw specific conclusions for the above, because it is another of those annoying paradoxes. Laugh at me if you like, I find this interesting although it is probably quite irrelevant in the scheme of things.
With the good notion that a lot of this is irrelevant, and although God cares immensely about the intricate details of our lives (Read Hagar’s story) importance should perhaps instead be placed on the “who am I becoming”, rather than the individual that we one day hope will ‘complete’ us.
Instead of pouring our time into idealistic theories, perfecting this person, or hoping God will guide this person our way (I mean duh! Think about it, that’s just stupid!) we should be looking at our own lives. Communication with God about everything is vital for he created us for relationship and we can’t have that without it being a key part of lives as Christians. The ‘why of prayer’ is a massive topic and I wont track too far down that just now. Marriage and relationships are important to me – despite Marriage being a future endeavor – it should come into my conversations with God.
A lot of this all flies back to a definition of love, which is nigh impossible to achieve as it has so many facets. When it comes down to it, we are responsible (despite being the ‘two becoming one’ aspect) for ourselves and not in the shaping of another to fit our needs, our wants, or our ideals.
So what is an appropriate response to the waiting game as a single? We personally cannot possibly do the shaping of another before they exist in our lives. We can hope they wont make destructive choices now that we may have to later deal with. Primarily this is God’s concern between that individual and himself. Looking at prayer in relation to a future spouse rings slightly hollow when you track your motives backwards. It’s quite selfish to voice that person into perfection.
Perhaps praying for that person is not wrong, but we have to be careful of why we are praying. In Phillipians 1:3-8 Paul concludes a letter which I think is curiously relevant.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
If you read that to fit the circumstances I’m looking at, which I hope is not heretical 😛 but is taking things HUGELY out of context. You have to admit how much, “God can testify how I long for [all of] you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (v.8) rings true with the ‘single in waiting’.
The verses following explain how Paul is seeking God for them (church in Phillipi):
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
The fact that Paul already knew these people already could further align to why we shouldn’t be concerning ourselves with facination and focus on this Mr. Shaddow.
We can perhaps pray, that their (our Mr/Miss.One’s) love may abound more and more in knowledge… taking due note that the onus here is placed fully back upon that person and their relationship with their maker, specifically, “to the glory and praise of God.”
It has nothing at all to do with us.
I have seesawed all evening to the yes’s and no’s of praying for God’s choice of Mr. Right for me.
I can thank God for his plan for my life. I can look at who I am, what I would be like to be married to (a very scary thought), I can look at the qualities I cannot compromise on in future husband, I can understand that it comes down to a mutual descision and that I cannot choose wrongly. It might seem honorable to have this man’s best interests at heart, to ask to have God watching out for him – but I need to understand that God has been doing that long before I, or the lucky guy 😛 were born. My communication with God around this subject should I think instead be in trusting in who I know God to be and how he continually follows through. That he’ll shape me into the person I need to be, so that I can come maturely to that descision that I hope to one day make to share my life with another.