An Algorithm of Waiting

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I filled out a questionnaire, thoughtfully wordsmithed some answers, and uploaded a couple of my favorite current pictures—is this what the start of a relationship looks like in 2017? Me waiting for profile views and wondering what is wrong with me when I get none? Or better yet, only getting matched with guys who love country music and whose favorite leisure activity is “shooting.”

To clarify, there is nothing wrong with George Strait being your favorite singer, but that could not be further from my musical tastes. And if you go shooting for sport, that’s fine for you, but I am anti-gun (a personal belief that after 10 years of living and serving in the urban context, not a political statement). Why can’t the algorithm factor this in?

And yet here I am trusting that this is what I am supposed to be doing. Ten years ago I was in a prayer room at our ministry center when I heard the Lord speak to me. I prayed for openness and peace and He answered with a string of words I was unsure I was actually hearing. Up until this day I was 85% committed to the single life for the sake of the Gospel. Afterall, what man would want to join me in the hood, forever? So that day in the prayer room changed it all. The Lord answered my prayer for openness and peace with, “You were made for relationship, and will one day be married.” It was not audible, but I am certain that is what was communicated.

These were not the words I wanted to hear. I was hoping for something like, “Peace will come on Friday and openness is something we will work on, there is a special grace for that.” But no, I received an unexpected answer to a request I thought was routine. And that is how the Lord tends to work; I want peace and He wrecks my life, I want to rest in Him, and He decides I need a white water rafting trip through rivers of frustration and jagged rocks of trust. When I want to sing It is well with my soul, He seems to want me to mean it. And I tend to enjoy the challenge and thrive on the adventure.

So when marriage was the answer to my plea, I did not want to hear it. It took two years to embrace the answer I did not want, and then it became something I was waiting on. It became this unfulfilled promise of the Lord. I joined Sarah in the long game, no Nine-Month-Mary for me, and it has been ten years of my lack of faith and His continual faithfulness.

I’ve considered taking things into my own hands, you know, becoming a serial dater—whoever, wherever—until something sticks. But that leads me back to all those biblical tales of not waiting on the Lord: King David, Sarah, Moses, the Israelites, the list is long and those highlights let me know that my God is a Deity of His Word. He saved Rahab and her descendants, delivered His people from Pharaoh, gave Hannah a son, and He sent the He Messiah for His people. I am so much like the folks of the Bible—they thought the Messiah would come in as a strong political leader, bashing the system and instituting justice; Sarah thought she would be a young and spritely mom; Mary thought she would be married before conceiving. I always thought I would meet my match in the context of service in the local church. God has other plans.

So I will wait on the Lord who is a God of promise. And when I grow impatient, I will wait some more, and when I feel contentment for a season I will praise His name. And when I am unraveling, I will look to the past. For I know what the Lord said, and He is faithful.