Where Choices Lead

 

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. –James 1:5 NLT

When I met my husband at the end of January in 1973, I fell in love with those twinkling blue eyes and everything about him. A week later I knew he was the one.

But in March fear set in. I was still feeling the effects of a broken engagement six months earlier. My shattered heart hadn’t had enough time to mend.

“This is happening too fast,” I told him one Friday evening after our date. Then I slipped out of his car and out of his life.

For the next two days, an emotional wrestling match waged war in my heart. What if I was passing up the love of a lifetime? Deep down I knew someone like him might never come along again. But this was my chance to play the field. I was young, free, and independent.

Saturday evening I stayed home. Alone. Miserable.

We had a signal in those days before cell phones. If the living room light was on and the window shade was up, I wasn’t home. If the light was on and the shade down, I was.

I kept peeking through the drawn shade, hoping he’d stop by. I kept that light on and the shade down all night long. By Sunday evening, I made a choice. I grabbed my car keys and went looking for him.

Here we are, about to celebrate our forty-fifth anniversary. I shudder when I think of how close I came to losing him and missing out on the life we’ve had together.

Every choice we make carries with it consequences, some good and some not so good.

When I read the book of Ruth a few weeks ago, it struck me that this story that so beautifully shows the sovereignty and faithfulness of God, is a story of choices. Each of the four main characters had a choice to make. What they chose determined future joy or sorrow, rejoicing or regret.

Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, chose to step out of God’s will and not trust God to provide for him and his family’s needs. He moved his family to Moab, only 55 miles from his hometown of Bethlehem.

The result was disaster. He died in a foreign land, his sons married Moabite women, not women of the Hebrew faith. Then the sons died, leaving Naomi and her two pagan daughters-in-law without provision and protection.

Naomi chose to return to Bethlehem. Stepping back into God’s will led to more blessings than she could ever have dreamed of.

Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, chose to remain with Naomi rather than return home to “her people and her gods.”

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay,” Ruth told her. “Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16–18).

Ruth’s choice of loyalty led to the love of a lifetime.

Boaz, Elimelech’s relative, chose to honor the law of levirate marriage and take Ruth as his wife. The result was hope for all mankind. The child they had, Obed, became the grandfather of David, whose line produced the Messiah.

The end result for all but Elimelech was joy.

Every choice we make has consequences. Asking God for helpfor wisdom, guidance, and directionwill lead to the right choice, if we choose to listen to Him.

What choices are you facing today?

 Help me, Lord, to choose the right priorities, the right people, the right places, and the right Provider—You. Amen.

Read and meditate on Ruth 1–4.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Stray or Stay?

Me and Dean, December 22, 1973

 

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled. – Hebrews 13:4 (RSV)

You shall not commit adultery. – Exodus 20:14

Hippie wanna-be that I was in the early 1970s, I still chose the traditional wedding vows: “To have and to hold; for better or worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and health; to love and to cherish; forsaking all others, till death do us part.”

On that day my heart focused on the “better, richer, health” part of that promise. After all, doesn’t true love conquer all? Three years later our first child was born, and romance turned to reality. For the next 20 years, we struggled with raising three children on one income, building a house, and fighting the usual battles with life. The better became worse, richer became poorer, and, while our general health remained good, our bodies began to remind us that we weren’t getting any younger.

Then, 23 years after saying “I do,” I ran away from home. There were other factors in my decision to flee to my brother and his wife in Alabama, but my intention was not just a casual visit: I asked him if I could live with him. He responded by purchasing me a two-way plane ticket for a nine-day stay.

The morning before I left, I asked my husband to pray with me. In the predawn darkness, we knelt before the love seat in the living room, and I wrapped my arms around him. I visualized holding our relationship, like a wounded, broken bird, in my cupped hands and raising it up to heaven.

“Lord,” I prayed silently, “I’ve done my best, but things just keep getting worse. Make it better. Please. I give it all to You. I don’t know what else to do.”

There were no issues such as addiction, unfaithfulness, or abuse. It was simply that there seemed to be nothing left – no love, only heartache, disappointment, and frustration. We never talked heart to heart.

I spent the next nine days praying, reading, and searching for answers.

“God will make a way where there seems to be no way,” my brother told me before I returned home.

Seven years later my husband and I knelt before God again. This time it was in church, at his request.

“Let’s go up and thank God for our relationship,” he whispered to me during the altar call.

As we prayed together, his arm wrapped around me, and I remembered that dark morning when I didn’t think there was anything left. I was wrong. There was: God. Through His power we were able to work through the issues that threatened our marriage.

Dean and me on a day out with family, March 18, 2017

Not that things are hunky dory, even now, during the empty nest years and we have time for each other. At times we’re like a couple of quirky, squirrelly old folks. But we’ve learned that love is not only a feeling. It’s also an act of the will.

What happens when passion ebbs, our bodies begin to break down, and the hormones dry up? Modern society would have us believe that we can find fulfillment in pills, watching porn, sleeping around. But that’s not what God’s Word says.

“Honor your marriage and its vows, and remain faithful to one another, guarding the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband” (Hebrews 13:4).

Honor means to prize highly, to cherish, to show respect for, to treat as precious and valuable. From the romance stage to the reality stage to the revival stage, marriage is a choice, not a fairy tale. If we commit ourselves unselfishly to our spouses, love them as Christ loves His Bride, the Church (sacrificially), then we won’t be tempted to stray – but instead, with God’s help, stay and make our marriages all they can be.

January 2016

Bless our marriage, Lord. Help us to resolve the issues that threaten our commitment to each other. Amen.

Read and meditate on Ephesians 5:21–33; Psalm 119:97–112

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.