Tonight, for some strange reason that I can't pin down, I'm thinking about Becky more than I normally do. Maybe it's because Mother's Day is next weekend. Or maybe it's because her birthday is on the 12th. You may not know this, but when Becky and I met in the cafeteria line at Biola, she knew in her spirit immediately that she would marry me. I, on the other hand, was a bit slower in coming to that decision. Actually a LOT slower. When I was growing up, I sometimes heard this saying:
The Lord leads the man to the work and the woman to the man.
Did you ever hear that? It seemed clear (at least to Becky) that he had led the woman to the man. But the man? A man's waiting means asking whether he is prepared to care for a wife. He may need to wait a long time to know. I knew I had to get down to business and figure out what God wanted me to do with my life vocationally. Then, in 1976, much to my amazement, I was asked to join the faculty at Biola, thus setting off a career in education. In that offer I began to see the slow and certain light I had been waiting for. I set off for Dallas, where I proposed to Becky on a beautiful summer evening at White Rock Lake.
To be honest, waiting on the Lord for a wife wasn't easy. Waiting on God meant that I had to give up my own agenda and find his will for my life. I dared make no demands on what he must do. I simply had open hands to receive whatever he should choose. And choose he did. Two years and eight months after Becky and I met in that cafeteria line, I proposed. Six weeks later we were married and I entered the classroom, not to leave it for the next 47 years.
When I was doing the base translation for the ISV, I recall rendering Eph. 2:10 as "For we are his masterpiece." You are I are indeed just that. We are his masterpieces, but as yet we're still incomplete projects. God's cutting and shaping takes time. He's still cutting and shaping me. He is a patient and, might I add, a gentle craftsman. Like a master jeweler, he works at it with slow, delicate, precise strokes. This means that we have to be patient -- with ourselves, and often with others. All we need is an open heart and open hands that are ready to receive what he shall choose.
And that, I feel, is the secret to waiting.