I believe it was March of 2011 when I began communicating with a young man I had met through an online ministry I had begun the fall prior. He was smart, energetic and a very interesting person. He clearly had a good heart and a love for the Lord, from what I could see via the internet, and we agreed we should meet in person. We planned to meet at the Great Lakes Bible Conference in Wilmot, Ohio, where I had been invited by some new friends in the ministry.
The young man I had gone to meet was indeed very nice, but wrong for me in many ways, and I could see it almost as soon as we met. I can't really explain why, but I suddenly felt very uncomfortable at the thought of ever being with him. I kept trying to make it work, because I believed it was what God wanted. But no matter how much I tried, it was failing piece by piece.
I had gone there to meet a man who believed he'd come to claim his bride, and in, out of nowhere it seemed, walked my knight in shining armor.
Kyle was totally unexpected to me that weekend. I only barely knew who he was aside from the fact that he looked the spitting image of his brother Curt whom I'd met a few weekends before. The whole time I was trying to make things work with the other guy, I was hearing Kyle's praises sung and seeing his quiet, gentle eyes observing me.
I was terribly confused. What on earth was happening? What about the words God had spoken to my heart? Did that mean nothing? What was God doing?
It was about a week after that crazy weekend that I heard a messaged preached by Kyle's dad that forever changed my life. My family visited their church and Pastor Ted's message became the most influential one of my life.
He spoke clearly and succinctly of how God works in our lives today, and it was unlike anything I had ever heard. He shared how we as the Body of Christ are not be waiting for signs and voices from God to determine what we are supposed to do. We are to use "sanctified common sense", as one wise preacher once said, and he used the Apostle Paul as an example. There were many times in Paul's life where he used his own good judgment and wisdom from the Lord to make a decision. For example, in 2 Corinthians 2:1, Paul "determined with himself" that he should not come unto them. He didn't say "Lord willing." He used wisdom and common sense to determine that it was not a good time to do so. He also used the example in 1 Corinthians 16:5, where the Lord opens a door to Paul, and yet Paul chooses not to go through it (which kinda flies in the face of most Christian thinking).
In rightly dividing the Word, we recognize that in time past, God did indeed move His people where He wanted them to go. The people were under the law, and the law was an "if=then" system...if you do good, then I will bless you.
BUT NOW, something has changed, and as we also recognize that Paul is the apostle to the gentiles and the Body of Christ today, we realize that God has changed the way He deals with those He loves. We are under grace and grace says, "Here is the blessing, now go serve me because you love me. Do what you know is right."
The biggest problem with asking God to reveal His will in our personal lives is that He already has in His Word! We never have to look at our lives and wonder what God is doing, or trying to tell us, because He wrote a book telling us everything we need to know! We never have to wait for His voice, or look for His personal leading in our lives. He has given us all the tools we need. He gives us the wisdom to make good choices, and strengthens our hearts to be able to do the right things. Instead of making some leap of logic in trying to explain what God was doing in my life, I was able to find peace in knowing that He had strengthened my heart and given me the wisdom I needed to make the right choice.
Does this make me deist? Do I believe that my Creator does not in any way intervene in the lives of His creations? No. I do believe that He works in our hearts and minds through His word, and that we can enjoy a very personal, joyous relationship with Him. But I also believe in free will.
I believe that He steps back and lets us make those choices. I believe that the bad things that happen to us are just a result of life here on earth, and are not God trying to get our attention or teach us something. I believe that anything He wants to tell us about our lives here has been spelled out in His Word, and we need never sit in confusion about "what he's trying to tell us."
And it is in understanding this that I have true peace and joy in my life, and was able to evaluate the choices in front of me, and choose wisely the man I would spend the rest of my life with.
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ."