I am a young man currently in Bible college, and I have a "lady-friend" whom I have known for about a year now that I like and am seriously considering dating. Spiritually, I have found her to be mature, and our beliefs are essentially identical. However, I feel somewhat shallow/guilty because I have been struggling to decide whether or not to date her because of her health. She has had this medical condition (diabetes) all of her life, and as she gets older it gradually gets worse. In my own family's genetic pool, my father's side of the family has also struggled with diabetes — my grandfather died from it. I feel guilty because it's not her fault or anything she's done wrong; it's just a condition that she was born with.
I can't decide whether I'm just being unfair and not trusting God, or if I'm being wise by avoiding what could be a problem down the road for her and (if we ever married) our children.
Thank you for such an honest and excellent question. You shouldn't feel shallow or guilty at all about asking it or about your struggles with it. I can't tell you whether you should pursue her in marriage — that will come down to you and God — but maybe I can offer some insight to help guide you through that process.
I confess that I know very little about diabetes, so my first piece of advice is for you to find others who have more experience living with and being married to a person with diabetes to come to a better understanding of the unique realities associated with that, primarily with regard to childbearing.
So get a thorough picture of what the natural world looks like being married to someone with diabetes. Some of what you'll discover might surprise you in terms of how people and marriages can thrive with diabetes being part of the mix (in fact married diabetics do much better from a health standpoint than do unmarried diabetics). Some of what you'll discover might also be very sobering. Either way, you'll know better what to expect.
Then take that natural world picture and view it through the super-natural lens of following Christ, and see how it changes. It should alter the view dramatically. It isn't that the natural circumstances would be any different, although they certainly could be if God chooses to make them different (and that's part of what that altered view takes into consideration). What's more important is the supernatural view assures you that whatever God calls you to, you'll have all the grace, power and love to overcome whatever natural circumstances might develop. That's true of every marriage.
For instance, after you do your research you'll discover what levels and kinds of risks are associated with childbearing (and plenty exist for all of us regardless of whether diabetes is part of the mix, but we'll just stick with it for the moment). That's the natural information. From a super-natural viewpoint, though, the possibilities are limitless. God could supernaturally make it so that biological children would be no problem, or He could supernaturally give you both a heart for adoption, or He could do both, or neither. And if He does neither, looking through the lens of a sovereign, infinitely merciful and loving God raises our level of faith and trust so that we rejoice ahead of time in whatever He will choose, knowing that His will and pleasure is the absolute best for us and that He will provide everything we need to thrive in the journey He is leading us on.
One of the reasons God created marriage was so we could partner with Him in the thrill and delight of being supernaturally transformed within the context of intimate love with another person. And God uses the whole person — emotional, mental, spiritual and physical — to bring about His glory in our own life and in our marriage.
Does it always feel thrilling to be transformed? No more than the lump of clay feels thrilled when being pressed and prodded and spun by the hands of the potter. The question is, will we trust the Potter in life and marriage to bring himself glory and do what He knows is best for us as He creates His masterpiece? We will if we know Him.
If God leads you to marriage with your friend, you can unequivocally trust Him to provide all you need for both of you to thrive. Do your research; pray and trust the Potter.
Copyright 2009 John Thomas. All rights reserved.