I replayed the date over and over in my head. It was the best date I had been on in years. He did everything right, from making a reservation at an incredible restaurant, to picking up the check without hesitation and even following up later in the evening to make sure I got home safe. He made it clear he was ready to pursue me when he reached out for a second date. It was everything I could desire in a great date with an intentional man, but…! Isn’t there always a “but?” And this was a big one. He wasn’t a Christian, not even a little bit. He was attractive, had a steady job, he was kind and intentional, but he was missing the one quality I deemed deal-breaker years ago.
Recently, I discovered my community of single women has had similar experiences. Meet a great guy, have a great date, but he is not a Christian. So we remain single, praying and waiting for our God-fearing man to arrive and change our marital status. The wait can be exhausting and I would be lying if I said I didn’t consider a second date with some of the guys I’ve had great experiences with, especially as time ticks away and my desire for family and marriage seem all but lost. Just when I think I no longer want to wait and I am ready to give up,
I am reminded of the damage that can follow
when we deviate from God’s plan.
photo courtesy of Doug Gephardt
Single women aren’t the only ones who experience seasons of waiting. The Bible is full of stories about people waiting for God’s promises or for the desires of their hearts to be fulfilled. Many times they fail to wait and consequences ensue. I read these stories about giving up the wait and settling for less than God’s best and it gives me encouragement to endure.
In Exodus 19, we find Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness at Mount Sinai. There at the base of the mountain they make a covenant with God to obey him and in return they will be his chosen people (Ex 19:1-8). Then, the Lord calls Moses to the top of the mountain so He can give Moses instructions for this covenant or as we know them today, the “Ten Commandments.” Moses leaves the people to wait for these instructions and goes to the top of Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights (Ex 24:12, 17.)
“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, ‘Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him’.” Exodus 32:1
At first the Israelites waited for Moses to return, but after a while they grew tired of waiting. Their expectant hearts grew weary; the promise seemed lost, they did not know what had become of Moses or what had become of God’s covenant. So instead of waiting any longer, they decided to create a new plan for themselves. They longed for the beautiful promise of a covenant, but they were defeated in the wait and traded God in for a counterfeit. They chose to replace God with a golden calf made from their own jewelry. This god could not do anything for them, it did not even begin to measure up to the God who had just rescued them from slavery in Egypt, parted the Red Sea and all He had in store for them through His covenant promise. Yet after all God had done for them, they chose not to wait and instead took hold of a lesser option.
As I read through this story in Exodus, I imagine myself there with the Israelites at the base of Mount Sinai awaiting Moses’ return. Do they even know the magnitude of what they are giving up? Do they know the plan they are waiting for is better than the one they can forge with their own hands?
During this season of what feels like delay, there have been many times I thought about giving up the hope of finding the future husband I dream of, a man who loves God the way I do. I have wondered if it would be easier to choose my own golden calf and pursue a relationship with a good man who plans great dates. Then I remember the story of the Israelites and I realize it’s laughable that they would create a golden cafe for themselves and then proceed to worship it as the god who brought them out of the land of Egypt, rather than waiting for Moses to return from the top of the mountain with a beautiful covenant full of promise (Ex 32:2-6). Do I really want to jump into a relationship with a man who is not a Christian just to quench my desire for marriage? The answer is no.
Waiting isn’t always easy and it can be so difficult to hope for a future we cannot see. Even still, the plan God has for my life is better than any plan I could create for myself. Whether it includes a God-fearing man or not, God’s plan was created with love and it will bring Him the most glory. Marrying a man who took me on a great date but who doesn’t love God is not a great recipe for bringing glory to the Lord. And isn’t that what it is all about? Using my life to bring God glory? I cannot see it yet, but there is a plan for my life. His plan is what I want and that is what I will continue to wait for.
Samantha Ellis was born and raised in the small-town of Lodi, CA. She earned her BS in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, where she currently resides. In February 2019 she founded the group Her Keeper ATX, with the mission to cultivate meaningful community and genuine friendships for single Christian women. In her free time, she loves to discover new restaurants with friends, float in the water, and two-step to country music.