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Amazing God in the Maze of Dating

by Ram Goli

Dating is complicated. As I survey the landscape of dating, learning how to find romantic love seems like a rigorous academic endeavor that some never graduate. Articles, blogs and books ranging from I Kissed Dating Goodbye to the upcoming leaked Cosmopolitan issue have helped me with everything in life — hair removal included — except with the matter of finding love. In a last ditch attempt to learn from nature, I contemplated mimicking penguins by dressing up in a tux and belting out my mating call on a cold Saturday afternoon at a local farmers market.

The wide range of labels relationships can fall under in our generation is frightfully baffling. When I rattle them off to my friends, I hear a grand chorus of knowing groans as they hear echoes of their dating past. Here are some lines you may have heard (or said):

  1. We are just friends.
  2. We are dating.
  3. We are courting.
  4. We are non-exclusively courting but not dating.
  5. It’s not a date; it’s a meeting.
  6. We are not dating, just enjoying fellowship.
  7. We are casually dating but seriously considering.
  8. We are not dating. We are just practicing so we can date others.
  9. We are dating non-exclusively, but we are only seeing each other, so it is technically exclusive.
  10. We are more than friends, not a couple, but roughly less than or equal to exclusively dating friends.

My ancestors in India knew that having so many options in choosing a spouse is a crime against humanity. With a stroke of genius, they adopted two:

  1. We are getting married.
  2. We are not getting married.

But seriously, there are two important events that happen to us over which we have no control but to a large extent determine who we are: the place we are born and to whom we are born. I’m thankful we are not asked to fill out an application to be born. With my luck, my application to join the world would have been rejected. God in His infinite mercy spared us from the burden of volition in these two events and appointed to us the period and place of our birth so that we might know Him (Acts 17:26-27).

The things over which we have control and the circumstances over which we don’t, ultimately shape us. It makes the complex you and complex me. Perhaps that truth parallels into other areas and relationships in our lives, including dating. Which perhaps explains why dating is complex.

As a Christian, I’m comforted in knowing I shouldn’t be paralyzed by the burden of choice or be apathetic to the determined will of God. Because there is a Grand Weaver behind the fabric of our lives, the complexities of relationships will become an exquisite pattern that we might not have imagined.

History is replete with examples that show God’s fingerprints in the midst of hopeless and broken circumstances.

You might be aware that Ruth is the ancestor of David (Ruth 4:18-22), and Jesus is a descendant through David’s line. The complexity of God’s involvement in Ruth’s life may not be evident in a cursory reading of the book of Ruth. Ruth is a widowed Moabite living in a Jewish land foreign to her, and Moabites did not have the most respectable beginnings. The father of Moabites was Moab, who was born out of a drunken incestuous relationship between Lot and his oldest daughter. What human mind could have orchestrated the coming of Messiah through a depraved relationship and a widowed foreigner?

As we look deeper into Jesus’ lineage, a pattern and plan emerge in the lives of few women, namely Tamar, Bathsheba and Rahab. These women were all clearly violated and may have experienced dark and lonely lives. They couldn’t have imagined that one day, Messiah would come not in spite of their painful circumstances, but through them. God threaded a design right through the horrible abuses of men to ultimately unravel death itself through the person of Jesus. I suppose the silent testimony of these women points to the truth that in the darkest times when we think God is doubtlessly absent, He is most truly present.

When I remember the handiwork of God in history and in my personal journey, I am able to handle the complexities of day-to-day life, even the ambiguities of dating. Dating is confusing at times, but God’s workmanship is more exquisite. It gives me hope that God is weaving a splendid pattern even when my crush doesn’t text me back. On the days I’m anxious that my soul mate may be swiping right to other guys on Tinder, God isn’t alarmed. When we are struggling with tough questions like, “Why is Charles Manson getting married before I am,” He is still at work pulling together a breathtaking design.

Ram Goli is an IT guy and says he both loves and hates to cook.

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