As I prepare to marry the woman of my dreams today, I can’t help but reflect upon the privilege of hope we have in God.
There is incredible power in hope. There’s a reason most sports fans are likelier to tune in for their favorite teams' first games of the season. Going into the start of the season, many are naturally filled with “hope” that this will be their year!
Paul's prayer for the Christians in Rome in Romans 15:13 was, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Peter explains in 1 Peter 1:3 how we have been “given a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
We have hope that not only has God forgiven our past failures and redeemed us to spend eternity with him, but also hope for here and now. At times, being filled with hope and anticipation feels easy. Other times it certainly does not. This has been true in my journey of meeting Elisabeth.
A year ago, a spouse seemed like a distant reality, even though I’ve desired to get married for as long as I can remember. While I recognized the many incredible blessings God had brought into my life professionally and spiritually, the desire for a spouse did not go away. I knew it was a healthy desire, but I also knew it was not something I was promised.
Even in the tension and uncertainty, God has steadfastly provided me hope through His promises like Romans 8:28- that He was working out all things for my good and His glory. He reminds me in Psalm 84:11 that “no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless” and that if it were for my best to be married, He would bring it about at the perfect time. God has gently reminded me many times that my hope is not in finding satisfaction in my earthly desires but hope in my faithful and sufficient God.
While I knew this to be true, I still found myself wrestling with this and inevitably deleting my dating apps, only to change my mind and redownload them a few weeks later. On June 1st, 2021, I was as single as single gets. I had zero prospects. On June 2nd, I matched on the dating app Hinge with a beautiful young teacher who made it clear that she loved Jesus.
Within weeks we had gone on many dates, and a short seven months later we were engaged.
While I had undoubtedly fasted and prayed for many years for God to lead me to a spouse, there was nothing I did on the night of June 1st when I went from desperately single to suddenly starting a relationship with the woman I will now marry today.
Put simply; God suddenly brought Elisabeth into my life by His great grace.
My prayer is that this testimony reminds you of the hope we have that God can answer prayer at any time, but I have been reluctant to share this testimony for a couple of reasons.
First, I acknowledge that married life will certainly bring about its own challenges as Elisabeth and I merge our lives together and commit to each other no matter what comes our way. I also acknowledge that there are people who have been much more faithful than myself and have prayed even more fervently than I have for a spouse yet remain single for reasons I can’t explain.
I can never pretend to understand the mystery of how and when God answers prayers.
But I also want to encourage everyone to rejoice in the HOPE we have in an all-powerful God that can change everything in a moment. While God seems to often work slowly in refining us into His image and leading us through different seasons of life, He is also a God of suddenly.
“Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. 'Quick, get up! ' he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists.” Acts 12:7
“Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.” Matthew 15:28
"And a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God." - Luke 13:11-13
Our Father is a God Who is able to do the impossible in an instant.
And this provides an incredible hope as we walk through the inevitable trials of this earthly life.
We get to rejoice in the reality that God is able to suddenly heal a terminal illness, restore the most broken of relationships, provide freedom to the lifelong addict, or bring about a job or relationship that we never thought would come.
The trials and difficult seasons of this earthly life can certainly seem unending and overwhelming, but let us rejoice in the reality that we belong to a God Who can change everything in an instant.
We would be very remiss also not to consider the reality that one day God will suddenly come to earth to wipe away every tear and restore all things (Revelation 21:4). He will also judge all of us. It could be tomorrow; it could be next year, it could be thousands of years from now. We do not know. But followers of Jesus have a hope that how things appear now is not how they will always be. This is hope not just for eternity but for the here and now as well.
Let us allow this to change everything about where we place our hope and rejoice in our living hope today.