3 Things That Happen When You Find Your Future Wife

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, each of us spends a fair amount of time looking for our future wife. Maybe it’s because we think a man isn’t a man unless he’s gotten a woman to agree to marry him. Or maybe it’s because we don’t want to be alone for the rest of our life. Regardless, quite a bit of time and energy can be put into the search for the future Mrs. You.

For some of us, this is a self-assigned mission, steeped in heartache and error-filled trials; for others, it’s an itch in the back of our brains, a passing thought of fancy that flitters in and out of our brainwaves from time to time. And whether the search is a full-time obsession or a shrug of the shoulders, what few of us fail to consider is what will happen (or not happen) once we do find the one woman we want to spend the rest of our days with.

Therein lies the majesty of the unknown.

For the sake of complete transparency, you should know that I’ve already found the woman who will soon be my wife. And I’m not just saying that in faith. I presented her a ring and she was kind enough to say yes to a lifetime with me. So when I speak of what’s to follow, I speak from a place of experience and truth, not misguided hopes and unfulfilled dreams.

First, you should know that when you find your one true love, things will change. Your life and way of thinking will change. And more importantly, you will change, as a person, a soul, and a man. But you aren’t being forced to change by her. No, she will love you just as you are, unaltered and raw. Instead, it’s that complete love that will make you want to change. You’ll want to be more considerate and thoughtful. You’ll want to be more responsible and mindful of her wants and needs. You’ll even find yourself smiling more, with no rhyme or reason to explain it. That one woman is a changer and whether you realize it now or not, she will change you from top to bottom without offering a single suggestion or passive aggressive thought. You will want to change because you know she deserves the absolute best version of yourself. And that’s what you’ll strive to give her.

Second (and this is important), when you meet your future wife, you’ll look back on the time you spent as a single chap and you’ll be able to rightly see every single mistake you made in this vicious fight known as romance. You’ll see how foolish and/or desperate you were. You’ll see the missteps and the mistakes. You’ll see where you tried too hard and when you didn’t try hard enough. You’ll see why things didn’t work out with that one girl, even though you were sure they would. You’ll see why you failed in love before because this love you have now will be impossible to compare against. [quote]You’ll see why you failed in love before because this love you have now will be impossible to compare against. [/quote]You’ll see that those past relationships couldn’t have lasted because they didn’t have what you have now. You weren’t complete in those past partners the way you are now. Through everything you’ve experienced and fought against, this love—this completeness—allows you to see why you fell short so many times before. It’s because it wasn’t with her. She’s the reason it works now and she’s the reason you know this is now forever.

Lastly, when you meet the woman you’ll marry, you’ll begin to work. And I don’t mean in the way that earns a paycheck or promotion. No, you’ll begin to work at this relationship in ways you never knew love required. Because you realize that her saying yes to your proposal isn’t the end of your journey, but only the beginning.

You’ve found her, but now you have to keep her. And through this given wisdom, you’ll realize that to make this wonderful, mesmerizing, beautiful gift work, you’re going to have to work and sweat and bleed. Because while love feels easy and breezy, it’s not. It’s a beast that requires work and struggle. And yet, while you work to make this relationship as strong as you can, you’ll do it with a smile and joyful step. Because even though you’re working and working and working, it’s with your best friend and the work isn’t a job, but a privilege.

The Bible says that he who finds a wife, finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22). And once you find this one woman who captures you heart, mind, and soul, you’ll know it to be true.

If you haven’t found your one true love yet, don’t be discouraged. Personally, I had to grow through a failed marriage and numerous failed loves and relationships to find the woman who made it all worth the fight. So don’t give up, do not surrender. Just be prepared for the day that you do find her, you will change, you will be made wise, and you will begin to work. This I promise you.

When Life Throws You A Curveball…

Things are going as expected.

In the ocean of life, it’s smooth sailing. All of the sudden, a rogue wave comes along and threatens to wreck your ride. What do you do? Do you let the wave dictate where you’re going, or do you forge, headlong into the thick of it?

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

(Hebrews 11:1)

Our responses to the curveballs of life are signified by our faith and trust in the author of our universe.

When life throws you a curveball…

I’m not going on the Quarterlife #48States Road Trip. Despite months of planning and preparation, the trip is over before it begins. Why, though? To answer that question, let’s sprint back over to Hebrews 11, which I referenced above. It’s one of my favorite and most revered chapters of The Bible.

The author of Hebrews mightily tells stories of faith in Chapter 11. In fact, he says “It was by faith” sixteen times before going on to say: “How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.”

What. Boundless. Faith.

33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. 

(Hebrews 11:33-34)

Their faith harnessed the power of a God that can move mountains.

A History Lesson

I’m reminded of my own story. Which begins with my mother.

In 1978, my sister was born into this world. She was supposed to be the only Schmidt child, due to internal complications. Roughly eight years later, my mother prayed, harnessing the power of a God that can move mountains. She said, “If you are who you say you are, give me a son for my husband.”

In the fall of 1987, my brother was born into this world at one-million-to-one odds. 364 days later, she got double for her trouble. That’s me.

What. Boundless. Faith.

At 2,000,000-to-1 odds, I stand on this earth as a result of a laboring of prayer. To put that in perspective, if you repeated this outcome 1,999,999 more times, I wouldn’t be here. Only the finger of God could have made life when there was no possible outcome for life. Ask my mom, though. Seemingly insurmountable odds were nothing for an insurmountable God.

When life throws you a curveball…

…it’s the perfect time for a home run.

Verse 40 says, “For God had something better in mind for us.”

Often, we settle for mere fractions of our God-vision. Or, we seek to implement his will ahead of time. To this, I exhort you: God’s vision for your life is exclusively yours and the author of time is always on time. Never early, never late.

It is for that reason that I can’t take the #48States journey in 2013.  And that is tough to say because I desperately wanted to take this trip. Still do, in fact. But I am unwilling to sacrifice God’s good for God’s great. And the companies that have partnered with Quarterlife have been great throughout this entire process. I am truly floored when I think of their willingness to fund such an amazing opportunity.

In the end, though, it’s about doing what we’re called to do. In this season, I must press the pause button because God has something better in mind. It’s called We Drop Love.

wedroplove-large

We Drop Love is God’s home run. We Drop Love is all about loving people–––whoever they are, wherever they’re at. It’s about dropping bombs of love, no agenda attached. It’s about an giant, audacious goal: to find 500 different ways to love people on a national journey next summer.

And so we wait. But waiting is good. Waiting always gives us the opportunity to become further aligned with God’s will.

While we wait for next summer, I am asking you to join us on the journey. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation and keep updated. Ask us questions. Suggest things. But above all else, let’s get moving. Together, we’ll forget the hatred and forget the judgment. You’ve seen the news lately–––there’s enough of it already–––but we as a generation can change things.

If we do, We Drop Love might be the biggest curveball yet.

Are We There Yet?

A few months ago, my family and I moved from Connecticut to Texas because God called me to be the Worship Pastor at a church here in Amarillo. God likes to shake things up in my life and do a lot of work through changes that take place in my life. And on the road trip here (to Texas), He did some work on my heart. Here’s what happened:

The bulk of day one on the road was spent in a U-Haul with my father-in-law, whom I shall now, henceforth, refer to as the “Marathon Driver”. No seriously–––the man is a machine.

Anywho, as the Marathon Driver and I were chuggin’ along, I found myself periodically looking at the little blinking dot on my iPhone maps that tells me where we are presently located. Okay, I checked it more than periodically, and some people would consider the time I have spent with my GPS map as obsessive, but who’s counting right? As I kept checking, the daunting thought of how much farther we had to go kept creeping into my head. And as the day dragged on, even with the Marathon Driver at the wheel and my professional backseat driving hard at work, somehow, we still got tired. As I got tired, the thought of how far we still had to go became a heavier reality to shoulder.

Strangely enough, right around the time we were about to stop for the night, something hit me. All at once a question tugged at my curiosity…

“What if I looked at how far we’ve come?”

As I scrolled back through the map and looked over the many miles we had traveled, the result was quite satisfying. We’d passed through western Connecticut, then crossed over to New York. We were in New York for approximately 47 seconds, or so it seemed, but the state that followed took an eternity to get through. I think I watched The Hunger Games (the whole movie) twice. That is, as we made our way through Pennsylvania and into Ohio.

Oops. Did I say The Hunger Games? I meant The Last of the Mohicans. Sure. That’s more manly. Right.

In Ohio we stopped at a Pilot, and since our U-Haul was too big to park with the cars, we had to park it in the back with the ‘Big Trucks’ (if you know what I mean). We were like a sapling in the midst of a giant redwood forest. I’ve never felt so wimpy in all my life. A couple of truckers were chatting when we drove up and then they stopped and stared at us, as if to say, “Get your wimpy U-Haul out of here and don’t come back ’till you get a real truck.” And as much as I just wanted to drive on, my stomach was ‘a-growlin’ so I gritted my teeth, swallowed my pride, and got a delicious burger with curly fries from Arby’s.

Then we crossed over into Indiana. Our goal was to make it over the Missouri border before we slept, but once 3am rolled around, it was too risky to proceed with such heavy eyes. So we stopped for the night in Cloverdale, Indiana…

Point being, when I looked back, we had come a long way from where we started. We covered five states and around 850 miles.

Sometimes our relationship with God can be the same way.

We can get discouraged by getting caught up with focusing on all our faults and how far we have to grow. This of course, is when its important to find encouragement in a couple foundational truths.

1. We should recognize that it is by God’s grace alone that growth can be achieved. He can and will help us, if we seek Him for it.

2. It is always important to remember that perfection is NOT the goal. Living fully for His glory, by the grace He provides is our goal.

3. When we feel discouraged about the long distance we still have to go (spiritually), it is a great encouragement to see how far God has brought us. Even if we have only been fighting the fight of faith for months, we will still be able to tell a difference between where we started, and where God has brought us.

Think back with me, to a sin in the past that used to rule over you. Then you started to seek God for help, and over time, He allowed you victory over the sin. This is encouraging because if we believe in God’s promises, then there is no sin that can stand against God’s power over sin in our lives. Our victory is found in Him. And just as He has conquered the sins of our past. So will He conquer the sins and shames of our present. “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Let us focus more on His inevitable victories in our lives, and less on our weakness. It is then that, as John Piper says, “God gets the glory, and we get the joy.”

 

Photo: michaelgoodin, CC

#12in12: The Gift of Undivided Devotion

Ed. Note: Happy Holidays, Quarterlifers! We’re really excited about QM’s new look; I hope you are as well. In honor of a great 2012 and and even better 2013 to come, we are doing #12in12, a tribute to the twelve best stories of this year. If you have an opinion of what you liked, let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

–Thanks, JS


 

4. The Gift of Undivided Devotion

by Jennifer Stoltzfus – February 13, 2012

This was Jenn’s first post, and although it took some prodding to finally get it onto Quarterlife Man, I’m 100% thankful that she wrote it. It’s full of Scripture, full of truth, and all in all just great writing. You will be better for reading it if you haven’t already.


It is always a privilege for me to share my heart through words. Whether they are written or spoken, it is truly my deepest joy. What I usually don’t have the privilege of doing, however, is sharing my heart to an audience that primarily consists of men. Though I am admittedly out of my comfort zone, I am excited to join this journey and walk it with you. Please know that I come seeking only to encourage you with the Word of God… nothing more and nothing less. I hope that by His grace I will do so.

If given the platform to an audience of men, there is much I would have to say. I would tell you that women are not a game to be won, so don’t make them one. I would tell you that to evaluate every woman you meet as a potential spouse is bogus. I would tell you to fight for her heart and show her you are different. I would tell you to watch the words that you use because she will replay them in her mind for days, weeks, and even months to come. I would tell you to value her as your sister in Christ far before you think about anything else (and if she’s not your sister in Christ you’ve got a whole other issue to overcome).

Read more.

 

Remembering the Wonder of Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

We sing about it, we buy gifts, we have parties, and we spend time with family and friends. But why is Christmas so special?

It’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas rush; to pack our schedules so full of events, that we often don’t have time to stop and think about why we celebrate in the first place. We send, and receive cards talking about the birth of a baby thousands of years ago, and we put out our nativity scenes with this same baby lying in a manger. But what is so special about that baby?

Christmas is about the birth of hope.

This is the time of year when we celebrate the fact that God himself, took on the form of man, lived a life which served as the example of perfection, loved us to the point of death, and then rose again, ushering in a new creation which is bursting forth from the midst of this one.  A time when we remember how the divine came to earth and conquered death itself.  A time to rejoice in how our God is a God who chose to relate to us, to experience all the things we go through, to face sadness, exhaustion, pain, rejection, betrayal, suffering, death, and then conquer them all and provide us with the opportunity to do the same.

Christmas is a time of celebration, a time of joy and hope, and a time of remembrance.  It is a time to sing, a time to fellowship, and a time to meditate on the truth of how God loves us so much, that he was willing to walk among us, and die for us, so that we could have a relationship with him.

We do not serve a cold, detached god.  We serve a God who understands, a God who empathizes, and a God who offers us the assurance that this life is meaningful, we have purpose, and there is nothing that has not already been conquered. He knows what you are going through, he knows the pain that life can bring, and he longs to wrap his arms around you and whisper, “I love you, and I’ve taken care of it all.”

 

This holiday season, take the time to think about what we really celebrate this time of year.

Remember the tiny baby, God himself, born in a manger, who now waits to cradle you in his arms.

At the heart of Christmas is a story of God, taking on flesh and blood, walking in our shoes, and saying, “I’m right here with you, I know how you feel, and I’m on your side.”

His death and resurrection is not something for the worthy, but Christ experiencing the loneliness, sorrow, and fear of death, OVERCOMING IT, and saying, “This too is yours.”

Merry Christmas!

[alert style=”success”]Sound Off: What are you doing for Christmas this year? Where are you going? Let us know in the comments below. [/alert]

An Observed Suffering: The Newtown Heartache

This morning my heart aches even a little more than yesterday for the parents suffering the loss of their child. For the families at the loss of their adult children. For the teachers. Even for the family of Adam Lanza, who along with his mother, killed himself.

A sweet friend put it this way: yesterday, they faced the nightmare head on. They got the phone call. They identified the children’s dead bodies. They mourned. When they awoke this morning–––had they even slept at all–––they were forced to face it once more, but this time with reality hitting a little harder. It was not just a malicious and vile nightmare their unrelenting brains conjured up. It was reality. It happened. Their child was gone and the world kept spinning. Lives kept going. Jesus never came back to rescue them from a crude, dark world. Not yet.

Twenty children gone.

Nine adults gone.

The murderer and his mother gone.

All three are unthinkable, evil tragedies.

 

We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize. . . but one who in every respect has been tested as we are.
Hebrews 4:15

Mass murder, torturing slavery, and brutal evil are all reasons Jesus came to us the way He did. What kind of Savior is necessary for the comfort of a broken heart from brutal loss?

This world needed a Savior who has tasted sheer horror and brutal torture. One that has been through what the families in Newtown are going through. One that has been through what the world has and will be going through. We never needed a majestic prince with locks of gold nor a comedian to help alleviate stress by bringing laughter. Not a preacher. Not a doctor. Not a genius. This evil world needed what no mere man could be.

The world needed a suffering Sovereign. Not just a sufferer, nor just a Sovereign. For the suffering man would not be strong enough to save, nor the sovereign man be weak enough to sympathize. This man, the suffering Sovereign, came to Newtown, Connecticut.

He planned to be crushed.

He was ready to be wounded.

Despised and rejected.

Submissive like a lamb to the slaughter.

Endured anguish.

Then poured out death.

Isaiah 53

The God-flesh, Jesus Christ, is the One drawing near to the broken in Newtown. No one else can love like He can (Luke 7:48). No one else can heal like He can (Mark 1:41). No one else can sympathize like He can (Isaiah 53:4). No one else can redeem like He can (Luke 12:8).

As a people being made into a likeness of Him, may we be quick to pour out those characteristics such that we have the Spirit of the living Messiah working these mysteries inside of us. We must work out what He is working in us. Salt of the earth, light of the world. This is the very reason the Messiah had to rise and become alive again after his murder. Not only to defeat death at its very core, but so that He may still be living and active with His Spirit right here on planet earth.

We are the ambassadors. May God make us tender vessels of the suffering Sovereign.

[alert style=”success”] Sound Off: How do you wrestle with what happened in Newtown? How does the existence of our suffering Sovereign help today? Let us know in the comments below. [/alert]

Do I Have A Choice?

We serve an awesome, mysterious God. We serve an infinite God, who can never be fully understood by our human, finite minds. There is no end to the depth of knowledge and understanding to be gained by our striving to know Him more, but there is joy and meaning to be discovered in our attempts to grow closer to Him. It is a journey which has raised many debates, and one such debate is the sovereignty (power) of God and man’s free will.

Man’s free will has been a question which has been discussed for centuries. Do people have a choice, or does God determine what people will do? It is an argument which divides Christians, splits churches, and has caused many to question the power and goodness of God. Within the debate, there are two lines of thinking which I would like to discuss; Libertarian and Compatibilist.

 

LIBERTARIAN

The Libertarian view would argue that man has the completely free opportunity to choose or reject God. That God does not intervene in a person’s decision, but that He creates, and then steps back and allows mankind to live life freely. They would point to examples in the Bible where people seem to make choices of their own free will (such as the Pharisees rejecting God’s purpose;  Luke 7:30), and ask why God would determine for people to act against Him.

The Libertarian view would say that the Bible makes it clear that God will hold people accountable for the choices they make in life. They would argue that there are consequences for our choices, and that the only way God could be a good, just, fair Judge is if people are free to make those choices completely on their own.

 

COMPATIBILIST

The Compatibilist would say that man has a choice, but that it is directly intertwined with what God has determined. That God is all-powerful, and that there is nothing He does not control. They would say that there are examples in the Bible of both free will and God’s determinism (such as Philippians 2:12b-13, which says to “work out your salvation,” [free will] “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” [divine determinism]).

Like the Libertarian, the Compatibilist would agree that God will hold people accountable for the choices they make.  However, they would say that it is only by God’s intervention that anyone would choose to do good.

 

AS FOR ME

I would say that I fall more into the Compatibilist camp. However, I am humbled by the mystery and awe of how God works. Does man have a choice?… Yes. Does God’s sovereign will reign supreme, and His plan already encompass our every choice, even before we are born?… Yes. So, is it free will or determinism?… Yes.

God created us with a choice, and for a choice; with the ability to make a choice, and for the purpose of making the choice He’s determined. It is a beautiful tension in which I live, knowing that, as Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord…” Knowing that Jesus says in John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you…”, AND in John 7:17, “if anyone CHOOSES to do God’s will…” It is not an “either/or”, but a “both/and.” Like Ephesians 2:8 tells us that we are saved by faith, but not of ourselves, for it is a gift from God.

So, I will choose God because I have no choice.  I will place my faith in Him, for there is nothing else I can do.  And, I will live in the tension, wonder, and mystery of choosing God because He first chose us (Ephesians 1:4).

[alert style=”info”] Sound Off: What do you believe? Are you a libertarian or compatiblist? Both? Let us know in the comments below. [/alert]

Waiting in Purpose

There is nothing harder for me than waiting. In a world of point-and-click, instant gratification, it’s hard not to expect everything to be accomplished in minutes or shipped overnight.

Lately, I have found myself waiting often, and slowly discovering the joy in doing so.

 

THE PREGNANCIES

My wife and I are currently expecting our second child (can’t wait to meet my baby boy, Bond), and those close to us know that her pregnancies have been rough. Morning sickness (Which is a horribly misleading word by the way. A better term would be “all-day, everyday sickness.”) is no stranger in our house. During her first pregnancy, we spent a couple weeks in the hospital because of her dehydration. The employees knew us well, and they often greeted me during my midnight caffeine runs with a friendly, unbelieving, “You’re still here?”. Though the second pregnancy has been better than the first, I still find myself wishing we could just have our baby tomorrow.

Then I have an evening with my little sixteen month old princess, Bella. My time with her reminds me to cherish every minute and not be so eager for everything to progress and change.

 

THE SCHOOLING

In the midst of work, a pregnant wife, and raising our baby girl, I am also attending seminary. Again, my mind is continually full of thoughts about it just being done. Meanwhile, the classes have challenged and stretched me, the people I am meeting have been an amazing encouragement, and the time is actually flying by.

 

THE LORD

And here lies my worst impatience.

Our God is a God of rest, and yet I often find myself frustrated and asking why I can’t just know. Why can’t I know what the next step is? Why can’t I know how He will work out the bills? Why can’t I know what the future holds?

I have been so all-consumed by my own impatience, that I have often missed the peace of waiting on the Lord. The God who releases us from the worry and stress of success, and into the peace of His will.

The joy of serving a God whose yoke is easy, and whose burden is light, is the realization that I am only called to strive to glorify Him and He will handle what succeeds.

I once heard it asked, “Can God trust you with His silence?” This question stuck with me, and has constantly can back into my mind during times of impatience. The question is really about whether or not you have the faith to wait on the Lord. Have you reached a point in your relationship with God that you don’t need an immediate answer to know that He is in control?

 

THE PURPOSE

Waiting is difficult, but often it is in the waiting that memories are created, lessons are learned, friendships are made, peace can be found, and God is ever present in the gentle whisper.

[alert style=”success”] Sound Off: What’s one area that you are finding difficult to wait in this season? Let us know in the comments below. [/alert]

Playing The Odds: Forever In Love With Hope

There’s a Powerball drawing tonight. It’s jackpot currently stands at a cool $550 million (up from $500 million at publishing time, just a few short hours ago).

All across America, people young and old, rich and poor, are buying tickets by the handful for a chance at winning the big prize. It’s a phenomenon that happened last spring and it will likely happen more often, too.

Ed. note: This is not a piece on whether lottery playing is “bad” or “good”. We talked about that during a roundtable discussion last spring (my separate thoughts here).

Why do we do it? Why does our culture subject itself to the pouring in of our pennies for the shot at a purse with astronomical odds?

 

We are forever in love with hope.

This isn’t some fourth grade, check-yes-or-no kind of love. This is an unadulterated, give me liberty or give me death kind of love.

We love hope.

“Because we’re in a recession, people love to have a rescue fantasy,” human behavior expert Dr. Wendy Walsh told CNN. “We have the Cinderella complex — there’s a fairy godmother who’s going to come in and save us.”

The fantasy is in full swing, despite the fact that the odds are bad–––really bad. It’s dreamers dreaming, only to come crashing down off of the high of hope later tonight–––at least until the next drawing.

As I wrote about last spring, the poorest households in our country spend an estimated nine percent of income on lottery tickets. Each play is a 1-in-175.2 million chance at opportunity to eschew their poverty or paycheck-to-paycheck life. It’s heartbreaking.

 

We need to be forever in love with the one true hope.

Forget the fairy godmother. She won’t save you.

We must begin to rely on Jesus for everything. All things. We serve Jehovah Jireh… literally translated as “The Lord Provides.” This takes faith and hope and love and it’s not without sacrifice. Look at Genesis 22, verse 2:

“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”

Despite facing the prospect of sacrificing his only son, Abraham completely trusted God. When Isaac asked about the sacrifice, he answered, “The Lord will provide.” Consider the emotion in that statement. Your son asks about the missing sacrifice and you know the answer. To me, that’s heartbreaking, and I’m not even a father. But Abraham carried on, raising the knife to kill his son before the Lord intervened, providing a ram to be sacrificed instead.

12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”

13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

We will never have a need that our eternal God does not know about. Not one. He is our covering. Can you feel the hope there?

As you heavily guard your numbers tonight or praise God for what you have, remember that. It’s a hope much stronger than any winning lottery ticket can ever provide. If that doesn’t work, heed the words of one of our generation’s greatest literary scholars, the Notorious B.I.G.:

“Mo money. Mo problems.”

[alert style=”success”] Sound Off: Do you have trouble translating worldly hope into hope that springs eternal? Are you playing tonight’s lottery? Let us know in the comments below. [/alert]

The Theology of “How I Met Your Mother”

I think I understand why so many people like the TV show How I Met Your Mother.

I recently had talk with a girl who I thought was pretty cool and who I wanted to pursue. Through our honest conversation she let me know that she was not interested in me that way and I was essentially friend-zoned.

Which was fine. Honestly, I learned a lot about how I approach relationships and what is important to me. Also, I felt very pushed out of my comfort zone to even have that sort of conversation with a woman. I did learn how to bring up and discuss something as complicated as a relationship.  So despite the outcome not going quite where I would have liked. I know God has shown me a lot.

Part of the reason I have not been upset about the girl saying no is because I am starting to understand the nature of God’s story.

I know that God has my relationships in the palm of his hand. I know that my God is in control. This understanding shifted how I view relationships. The girl (or guy) you have in mind is never the sole point of your story. Instead, God wants to use the journey of getting to know another human being to bring you closer to him. I chose to view this situation as a way that my faith in God could grow. Through this process of pursuing someone, I learned how to trust him particularly in what relationship he has in store for me. Now obviously, I would have liked to pursue this certain girl, but I know deep down that God has his own story and timing for me.

 

Here is where this connects to How I Met Your Mother:

For those unfamiliar with the TV show, Ted Mosby (the main character), is telling his kids through video flashbacks all the circumstances leading up to–––you guessed it–––”How I Met Your Mother.”

In a typical episode, Ted falls in love with someone. He dates her then she breaks up with him. The reason this show doesn’t become some sad drama is that at the end of every episode we share Ted’s perspective of living in the epilogue. He is looking back at his past and seeing how all those decisions led to him meeting his wife. So we hear him voice over, “That was how I met your mother’s roommate” or “that was how I first saw your mother.” We know that he ends up with his wife in the end.

We are all craving–––desperately craving–––meaning in the stories of our lives. We want to believe that all of our hurts and mistakes will mean something someday in the light of some grander story. For those who do not know God, they can only hope to someday look back and see “how I met your mother despite all this pain and hurt.” Only in retrospect can they see where their lives have led them.

But because we serve a good and loving God we know that Romans 8:28 is true for us, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him.” We know that every single issue we encounter is only the middle of the story. That God has a grand unveiling waiting for us at the end of days where he will say to us “Look at that! You thought the girl was the point of that relationship, I was just trying to teach you to trust me in your relationships!” or “I know that was painful, but look at how you are able to speak to those who have been through your same pain!”

I can just picture God in heaven speaking a celestial voiceover on my life. “And that was when Luke learned to trust me with his relationships…”

I am so thankful for a God who loves me, this crazy character. No matter what plot twists and turns I go through, he is writing a story with my life!

I can’t seem to find any good theological lessons from Barney Stinson yet… I’ll get back to you on that!

[alert style=”info”] Sound Off: Are you a How I Met Your Mother fan? Do you see parallel circumstances in your life? Let us know in the comments below. [/alert]