This past week my friend Meghan Weyerbacher published her first book, a contemporary romance that tells the story of how love grows in the heart. It’s available by clicking here to go to Amazon, or you can copy the link in the photo below to go to Meghan’s landing page on her blog. Meghan manages to draw the reader in with humor and a great story-line, and then leads your heart to look at deeper issues. If you are a fan of a good, clean contemporary romance, I would encourage you to read this book. You will not be disappointed. I was so glad to be included in her launch team!
Since the launch day for her novel came only days before my 40th Wedding Anniversary, my mind set to remembering the ways that God caused the love to grow between my husband and myself. . . .
Last week we drove past the church and these oak trees, under which we met each other, more than 41 years ago. My youth group had gathered outside in the fresh spring air for our weekly Bible Study, when a new face walked up to join the group. I was only barely interested that night, since I had a huge History Final the next day, and I had brought my notes along to study in the spare moments. But as the heart of this “new boy” kept asking questions, and obviously was hungry to know more about Jesus and the Bible, my curiosity became piqued. This was not the normal jaded church-boy that I had grown up with.
As we found ourselves being placed on the same committees, and serving together in the same outreach activities, a friendship began to grow. My heart had become snagged before I knew what was happening. But when he took me aside to explain how God had called him to a life of singleness, and he was so excited to live wholeheartedly for the Lord, I was even more attracted to his commitment to the Lord. Then he said, “I understand if you can’t keep meeting with me, but I sure hope that we can still be friends. I have really appreciated our study and prayer times together.”
Yes, you read that right, our basis for getting together was so that we could study and pray–not the normal teenage activities. 🙂 I paused before I answered him. I knew that my heart was already attached, and I wanted to say, “No, I can’t keep meeting with you, it’s much too hard on my heart.” But the words that came out were “I will be the friend to you that God wants me to be.”
God opened the floodgates before us over the next few months, and showed us the depth of what my husband’s first test as a new believer really meant. He plunged the heart of this church-girl into the deep places of trusting God like never before, and He revealed the beauty of how He sometimes saves the best gifts for those who are willing to lay everything before His feet.
A little more than a year after we met, we were standing at the altar of that same church, surrounded by dear friends, as the Lord joined us together.
Memories of that day were stirred up even more deeply last week as we gathered around the hospice bed of our Best Man. As we retold the stories of years ago with his family, I found my heart asking God,
So, I know how the love began, but how did You cause the love to last, Lord?
The love was a seed planted by God, watered and nurtured by His Word. It was based in the answer that He set in my lips that night so many years ago:
I will be the friend to you that God wants me to be.
Before my husband came to the Lord, he would never have given me a second look, because he thought I was not his type. It took many years for me to find the healing needed for the hurt of knowing that. But in those waiting years, God had been saving our hearts for each other, knowing the friendship that would blossom because of the Love of God set in our hearts. And it is that same kind of friendship that our Lord has caused to grow in each one of our hearts, for those who are called by Him:
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
As I stood in our motel room last week, looking back over the years, I heard the Lord’s sweet whisper to me:
Because you waited for my choosing, because you trusted in My plans, I gave my gift of love to you.
What had been a time of wondering and questioning became a time of rejoicing, even as a friend we both loved stood at the door of eternity. He was going to meet the best friend of all. Every friendship granted here on this earth is only a shadow of the deepest friendship we could ever imagine.
The love that lasts? It’s the gift of friendship planted in the hearts of those to whom God longs to show HIMSELF.
We think that we aren’t worthy of friendship with God. And we’re not, except that Jesus came to make us worthy. While we weren’t giving God a second look, He sent His Son to die for us so that we could be friends with Him. He longs to be that best friend with each of us.
He looks into our weaknesses, and longs to carry us to His heart. He sees the shame we feel, and longs to wash it all away. He sees the wounds of being passed over, not chosen, and says that He has always chosen us. He sees only perfect love, the perfect gift of a true friend.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you . . . “
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