God, if this is not what You have for me, then don’t even let him contact me. I stared at the words I’d just written in my prayer journal, and wondered if I really meant them. I knew my tendency to pray what I should pray, even if my sincerity was questionable.
A friend had approached me about setting me up with a guy he knew, and while historically, set-ups had a zero percent success rate for me, I hated to say no. After all, this friend knew me better than some of my previous matchmakers, so I felt like my chances were decent, at least. Still, I was 32 and tired of dating games. As much as I wanted a relationship — even just a date — I was too tired to invest my heart only to be disappointed.
I was pretty sure God knew that, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to remind Him, so I scribbled the prayer. If this wasn’t what He had for me, I wanted this guy to conveniently lose my number and never even reach out to me. Being ignored was easier than being rejected.
A few days later, he contacted me, and what followed was a two-month whirlwind of every jubilant emotion God created. Delight, joy, giddiness, breathlessness, desire, hope and even the big one: love. The elusive verse from Song of Solomon had settled over me at last: “I have found the one my heart loves; I held him and would not let him go.”
Unfortunately, he could let go.
A mere two months into this beginning-of-forever, he backed off. Way off. He needed some time, and I willingly gave it to him. The silence and separation rubbed my soul raw, but I knew this was from God. After all, I’d asked God not to even let this guy contact me unless it was what He had for me. This must be a test to see how deeply committed I would be in the face of hardship. And I would pass the test. Even if it killed me, I would pass that test.
Weeks passed, and I lived in physical and emotional wreckage every day. I couldn’t eat, which was a first for me. Pounds melted off, some from not eating and some from the flood of tears that rarely shut down. I didn’t care about much of anything in life except praying for restoration of this relationship. I went through the motions of my days — going to work, taking showers and doing laundry, but my mind and heart were in constant prayer for reconciliation.
It never came.
Eight months after the first pages of a love story were penned, the final chapter formed, and I was forced to understand my forever would not, in fact, be starting now.
I went back to that prayer from months before. Why did you do this to me, God? I specifically said to You that if this was not what You had for me, I didn’t even want to begin. Why would You let him reach out?
Not until then did I realize what I had actually asked of God. When I said. “If this is not what You have for me,” I meant, “If this is not the man I will marry.” But it’s not what I said.
That relationship was indeed what God had for me. Not in a matrimony sort of way, but in a faith-molding, life-pruning sort of way. My walk with Christ needed to grow and deepen. I needed to be refined and purified, and the only way God could get to the depths of my soul the way He needed and wanted to was to address my heart’s deepest desire.
Losing love wrecked much of my life. But the wreckage was necessary for reshaping.
Seven years have passed since these days of loss and confusion. Much has changed in my life, and most of it has been for the better. But even with joy and promises finally fulfilled, I look back on this season of anguish with much gratitude.
It was what He had for me. His plans and ways didn’t match what I imagined, but they were what He knew I needed. I am the woman I am today because of the pain of that season.
I didn’t pray what I intended in my heart, but He answered what He intended in His.
Bekah Shaffer loves capturing life and sharing it with those around her. She speaks like she writes: without pretense, full of vulnerability and with a deep desire to let those around her know they do not walk the road alone. Bekah incorporates humor and joy into her writing and speaking, but she’s not afraid to delve into difficult topics and speak truth. Bekah is the author of His Advent: Still His Greatest Gift and Be Still: Learning to Know He is God.