Sometime in April this year, our Pastor preached in church about the Israelites wanting a king.
“Give us a king,” they cried, “that he may fight our battles for us.” (rephrased from I Samuel 8)
All throughout the time he was preaching, I thought of how I wanted not a king as they did, but a husband. I was so convinced that I was ready for marriage, and I was asking the Lord why He was not giving me a husband yet.
It’s funny, because just three months before that message (January) I had resolved to learn to be content in Christ alone, and there I was, on the far side of the spectrum of contentment. But I said, “Lord, why can’t I have a husband now?” (Typical Christian single girl struggles, I guess.)
I wanted a husband, because I felt alone, and I just knew that if I had a husband, he could help me out and counsel me, and I could have someone to lean on. I knew that I wouldn’t have to go through problems alone.
Boy was I wrong on so many levels. God later revealed some very important things to me that made me realize that I knew nothing, and that at the moment, I did not at all need a king–err, husband:
1. I was asking God for someone else to fight my battles for me when in fact, He was already there willing to fight them for me.
2. If I think that my husband will be capable of fighting and winning my battles for me, and that he will be as good as God in doing so, I am wrong. Dead wrong, because
3. Having a husband will not reduce my problems or make my crises disappear into thin air. The husband I will have in the future, Lord willing, will be as human as myself, and he will be coming with just as much baggage as I’ve got, just different, and some that I might have never ever imagined.
4. Marriage will not be “happily ever after” once the wedding is over. Rather, it is the beginning of learning how to live with someone else I did not watch grow up. His family would have had his entire 20-ish years of existence to figure this out and slowly get used to this, for them to now be able to say, “This is how he is, can’t change him, and we love him still anyway.”
I only get a crash course in learning about his good and bad habits, his attitudes, moods, preferences, hobbies, and everything else in his life. I only get all of 3 minutes to say the wedding vows, which basically summarizes, “I don’t know the whole of you, I didn’t have enough time (I was about 20 years short of time!), and when I start to finally understand the surface of all of you, I promise not to get angry when I can’t change you (because I never can), and to love you still anyway.”
5. In the same way that I think that having a husband will mean that the heavy burdens I bear will be halved between us both, having a husband will also mean that the heavy burdens he bears will be halved between us. It goes two ways. A husband is, after all, not Superman who comes to rescue me from a burning building nor Prince Charming who whisks me away to a far-off kingdom on his white horse. He is not there to take me away from my reality into an ideal world where everything is perfect and back to zero, but rather he comes to become a part of my reality, an addition to the life that i have already accumulated.
During the honeymoon months, sure, it may feel like “keeping house” is “playing house,” but as months grow into years, it tunes down to the reality of the life that is. There will be days of no excitement or romance–lots of them, I’ve heard–but there will still be me and him.
I understood then why the Israelites started asking for a king: they had stopped looking at their big God and started looking at all the other nations around them. They were no longer content to have God lead them because they got distracted.
In fact, that’s the secret to contentment right there:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will go strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
The moment I stop looking at Him, I will start whining again for a king (or maybe a horse, and a carriage to go with it), and I know that those things will never live up to my expectations.
That all being said, I still have desires and hopes and prayers, but as I continue looking at Christ, I find that He is more than enough and so much more. I find that if I look at Him, it is so much easier to trust that if He will, I will live and do this, or that.