So here I was, my senior year, trying to get the very most out of what I was learning and prepare for the foreign field. I wasn't going to be sidetracked by anything.
Then I met Eric (Rick).
You can't trick me, Satan, I thought knowingly. You're trying to distract me. I'm not falling for it--or him!
I refused to go out with Eric (I told him I didn't want to date until the Lord brought me the man I was to marry), but I didn't have peace about it. The more I tried to avoid him, the more disobedient to the Lord I felt. It was as if God were saying, Stop fighting Me!
Me, fighting God? How could I be? I felt a little bit of the astonishment Saul felt on the way to Damascus when he thought he was defending God's honor and found out that he was standing in His way. When there was a conflict between missionary service and marriage, wasn't missionary service always the spiritual choice? I wasn't about to let my heart get in the way of my will, and as long as Eric wasn't called to Japan, I didn't want to marry him!
Now I had to reevaluate my understanding of God's priorities. Maybe God wanted me to marry Eric. It seemed crazy to me. Here I was, begging to be God's instrument and God was turning me down. I was presenting myself as a martyr (which wasn't hard, since Japan was home!) and God was saying, No, go ahead and fall in love!
Eric was as cautious as I was. We prayed before every date, "Lord, stop this relationship if You don't want it to develop."
We continued to date throughout the end of my senior year and during the summer and fall after my graduation.
At last we both recognized that God was in our relationship. At that point, our prayers changed to, "Lord, develop this relationship unless you want it to stop."
We were married two days before Christmas. I still didn't understand why the Lord would actually direct me to be derailed from missionary service. I assumed it was only temporary.
It had better be temporary, I thought, because Eric was from--guess where?--affluent Los Angeles! The next thing I knew, I was living in the one city in the world I had reacted so strongly against.
(To be concluded)
Today I am thankful for prayer.