Arranged marriages are so very different from those not arranged. For certain, there have been many couples who had no voice in the coupling and yet learned to love each other. But many have not. The vast difference between these two approaches to matrimony is seated in choice.
That is also the difference between living faith and religion. In religion there are so many ways to perform instead of love. To fake it, if you will. But when you choose to know someone and let that same one into the depths of your will, thoughts, emotions, it supersedes boundaries because love knows no bounds! It is a commitment by choice, an act of your will. Religion does not require nor need your thoughts, your will. You simply perform the expected actions.
If you believe in God, as I do, then you know that He is limitless power, limitless wisdom and worth. He can do ANYTHING, yet He chooses not to do some things. Those things all have to do with His greatest gift to us: our free will, our voice, our choice. He could make us love Him. But He chooses not to. He could slay those who do not, but instead He waits. His patience is unfathomable, but simple. He wants us to choose to love Him. He will invite us, draw us, but ultimately the choice to know Him intimately as a bride does her groom; that choice is ours. He has put so many examples of how to understand Him in 66 chapters of the Love Letter He crafted for us.
He shows us how to live with others, and how not to- because He wants to see us succeed. He is so very jealous for us. His heart longs to see us embrace Him, and even more, allow Him to embrace us. He sent His Son as a Living Love Letter.
He did not stop short of costing Himself a part of Himself. His very likeness was given to demonstrate how very much He wants us to be with Him, forever.
It is a choice. Like any relationship, business, friendship, family or romantic, it is a risk. Those who take the risk will find ups and downs, questions and answers, mystery and bewilderment. But if the choice is true, if it is sincere, learning the heartbeat, the preferences, even the humor of the Master Artist is the reward. I can’t imagine a greater opportunity, a more undeserved privilege. When I stop, really stop to think of it, He is the ONLY One who has offered this to us.
Let Him caress it; let Him tell you His secrets and help you understand Him, the .
It is in our nature to know -even the original fall of man may have been motivated by that desire to know. To understand how strongly knowing affects our lives, consider if you have ever asked or heard these questions:
“What is that strange sound?” ” Who sent you a text?”
“What is the weather forecast for tomorrow?” “Will I be called for a second interview?”
“What are the results of the blood test and scans?” ” Are you committed to this relationship?”
“Will I ever overcome this bad habit?” “Does anyone really love me?” and the statement
” I need to know someone truly knows me.”
Life is full of questions! And we ALL are seeking to answer them. But doubt can block that pathway.
First, A working definition of doubt is “to lack confidence, to consider unlikely”. Doubt & uncertainty are a difficult and debilitating things; doubt often leads one right into failure and uncertainty can paralyze you- cause you to not make decisions. Doubt knocks on EVERYONE’s door. But not everyone invites doubt in to stay. Why is that? What separates those who live with confidence and those who daily battle a barrage of questions and uncertainty? You want to know? Of course you do!
Knowing what you believe is crucial to living a life that brings fulfillment, some joy and one worth remembering.
Yet we all have struggles with the debilitating twins, doubt & fear. Laying a foundation of truth in your life makes it easier to shut the front door in the face of that obnoxious pair! You and I do not need to feel condemned when they come to visit, to be tempted is not a sin! But to open the door of your heart to doubt and fear is to crowd out the already growing faith and trust! These cannot share the same space. One or the other have to go.
Many claim to believe in God. A fine example of this is found in the gospel of Mark:
Mark 9, Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit
14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can’ ! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
The man believed in God. Perhaps he had also heard other teachings, like ones that are here today saying that there are many ways to God. But he was not certain that Jesus, who is the Living Word of God, would do as he had heard. He did not believe God. He did not believe what was said. That’s why Jesus replied to him with the statement of gentle rebuke “If you can”.
You and I CAN KNOW. We can know that Jesus came out of a motivation of love, not sin-based. We CAN KNOW that this HOLY God is also the God who loves, who forgives, who heals, who provides, who sees us, who hears us and who saves us. We just have to make the move- cross over into
It comes down to a choice (doesn’t everything?!) to be willing to be wild, crazy, and adventurous enough to leap into the arms of The ONLY One whose wrists, feet, head and sides were pierced through as He amazingly yet willingly said YES to you and to me.
And the leap is daily. And digging into His written word (Bible) is daily. If you don’t know where to begin, read John. And then Psalms. Each morning ask the Holy Spirit to teach you throughout the day. Ask Him to help you to KNOW.