It was three years ago that I (Steve) wrote Boundless about my “Broken Engagement Blues.” And in the three years since, the Lord has revealed himself to me in ways that have gripped my heart, wrestled it free from my hands and taken it beyond anything my own striving could have accomplished, beyond anything my imagination could have hoped for. And yet I know this is just the beginning. Oh, how glorious He is!
When my engagement ended I was thrown into a darkness that for months prevailed. I remember at one point driving in tears screaming at God for meaning, for Him to show me what He had in store for me, for some sort of brief moment of painlessness. He answered that prayer as I imagined Him on His throne chuckling at me, smiling a smile of encouragement of hope, that He was in control and He had planned this from the beginning. And I began to laugh, a brief moment of painlessness. My frustration, not at God, but at myself for mistakes I had made, for lack of wisdom and discernment, was momentarily washed away as I found comfort in God’s sovereignty.
I ran after God for months. It was sloppy at times, filled with tears, as I felt alone in my pain. But God was gracious, and He began to weave in people around me. My best friend became my closest ally. I spent hours on the phone with my older sister who through her own past trials helped teach me how to think through and make wise and godly decisions. Though it seemed as if God was far off, and I was in a pit, He was training me to be a man, to learn how to love Him and seek Him in the midst of darkness. Resolved to live my life in utter dedication to His glory, I enrolled in seminary and became an intern at my sister’s church.
God’s sovereignty became increasingly clear as the role models and mentoring that I long desired began to be met as I grew from watching and listening to my new pastors and my sister’s husband. The darkness that had overwhelmed me was suddenly lifted in one moment at one of the first worship services I attended at my new church. I grappled with my heart as I sought to locate its most deepest desires and render them before God. I prayed and fought, and a year later, I was confident to say that my heart was submitted to Christ’s lordship. God’s glory had become my sole desire.
My passion for Christ and God’s glory continued to take hold, and I made a decision to be a risk taker. Not a foolish risk taker, but a wise risk taker who would put his fears and dreams on the line for God’s glory. Less than a week later a close friend (Camille) approached me about a trip to Africa to put together a VBS style Bible study for orphans. That would be my first risk. The second? Pursuing that close friend’s heart, a godly woman who was quite out of my league, and facing the fear of rejection.
The Lord’s plan was taking shape, and as I continued my climb to manhood, the first risk I took opened up skills and passions I never knew I had. In Africa, the Lord opened my eyes to a love for people and the ease at which I can assimilate and make friends in a culture not my own. And as I continued to pray, fighting what I thought was the Christian cliché of “I went to Africa and now want to be a missionary,” I knew I was called to serve in a larger context.
The second risk wasn’t going so well, and the Lord taught me once again that He is in control of all things. I reaffirmed my commitment to His plan and not mine, and a week later my prayer changed from trust to praise as I started to date the woman who would become my wife.
My marriage is difficult at times as our sin becomes increasingly clear to each other, but I can’t help but laugh in those moments as I once again imagine God on His throne chuckling at me. Marriage is worth every moment, not because marriage gives me joy, but because God gives me joy as I’m serving Him through loving and leading my wife. And God is worth the fight, worth the risk and worth every inch of pain.
Three years ago the Lord sent me on a path of manhood, and His sovereignty, love and care has driven me to live a life resolved to glorify Him in all that I do because He is worth it. And now with just a few classes left in seminary and my wife having just finished nursing school, we are ready for whatever opportunity He sets before us to serve Him and bring glory to His name.
So thank you, Boundless, for answering my e-mail and helping me understand what the Lord had in store for me.