“There he is.” I thought to myself as I entered the dimly lit room. It was that guy I had been interested in a year ago; so much had changed since the last time I had seen him. He had become even more mature, I had hit that “magical” 16th birthday, he had gotten taller. Later that day, I got to have a quick conversation with him. Though it didn’t go any further than “how are you?” my stomach was filled with butterflies and my mind was filled with questions:
“Does he notice me?”
“What does he think of me?”
“Could he be the one?”
I eventually came to my senses and realized I had not surrendered this desire to the Lord. I wrote in my journal that night: “He belongs to Christ! And it may never be God’s will for this guy to even give me a second look. What is my attitude? Am I desiring to point him to the Lord in all things, or do I seek to uplift myself? The last thing a follower of Christ needs is someone trying to come between them and Christ. I need to keep my emotions from flying off the handle, but I can’t [on my own strength]. Only the Lord can supply such strength.
The love life can be an area of great struggle, but it can also be an area of great victory. Who do I want to be on the throne of my heart? There are two options: Christ or myself.
If I allow myself to be on the throne, the Enemy is automatically victorious; my flesh wants to perpetuate the agenda of hell, but a transformed, set-apart heart seeks to glorify Christ to the fullest.
Back to the story. There came a point in my relationship with this guy when I realized that I may never see him again. “ What should I do?” I thought, “friend him on Facebook? Send him an email?”
The Lord seemed to say “no.”
As I walked away, I felt crushed. I wrote in my prayer journal, “I feel like a part of my heart has been ripped out. I laid him on the altar before you, but I had no idea how hard it would be to walk away from the altar.” I’m not the only one who has had to lay someone on the altar; Abraham was told to sacrifice his son:
“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him ‘Abraham!.... Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love… and offer him there as a burnt offering’... Then they came to the place of which God had told them. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar…” - Genesis 22:1-2,9
God knew what was precious to Abraham, and God knows what is precious to you and I. Is He cruel in asking us to lay down our love lives before Him?
God sees my microscopic dreams and wants to give me something so much bigger and better than I could have ever imagined. Only He knows what is truly best. It’s as Elisabeth Elliot has said:
“God never withholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful, ‘severe mercies’ at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our heart’s desire except to give us something better.”
Have you given your passions over to God? Do you trust that He will bring a man into your life when He sees fit?
I have “lost” control of my love life, but it is in the hands of the One who sustains the universe. A God-scripted love story is always worth the wait and worth the surrender. In my case, surrender was painful, and I’ll guess that it will be painful for you too, but our Lord holds us in His arms; He covers us in the shadow of His wings (Ps. 57:1). Take heart my friend!
“One does not surrender a life in an instant. That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.” - Elisabeth Elliot.
Will I ever see that guy again? I don’t know.
...But I do know that with each decision I make, I proclaim “this is an acceptable thing for the servant of the Lord Jesus to be doing.” Am I taking that seriously? Or do I make decisions in light of my current feeling? If I allow my emotions to reign, my outlook will be affected, my ability to minister to others will be diminished, my focus on Christ will be blurred.
Losing control of my love life is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. But I didn’t just “throw it out the window,” I had to lay it down at the feet of Jesus, and every day I have to keep doing that; it is intentional abandonment of my hopes and my deepest dreams to the Lord. It is deliberate confidence in God’s perfect plan. I don’t always understand, and I won’t always understand, but that’s the life of faith-- conscious trust in the character of God even when you can’t comprehend His way.