My wife is my soul mate.
I know what you’re thinking. Everyone’s been reading about how God doesn’t work like that. He doesn’t have a specific person out there for you, he just wants you to make a wise choice, and then commit to it. Just do what you want, and then honor God by sticking with it! And, silly little person, don’t you go quoting Jeremiah 29:11 at me, because that verse wasn’t written to you. It was written to a different people, in a different culture, long, long ago. There is no biblical basis for God having things planned out for us ahead of time. So go on! Choose someone and make a happy life together. Write cute things and share them online so that other people can be inspired by you.
This sounds great. Incredibly shareable. It even has viral potential. Unfortunately, it’s completely wrong. It seems your God might be too small.
First off, this notion of “you can’t use that verse – it wasn’t written for you,” just doesn’t fly. If we go down that road, then you can quite easily pick and choose exactly which verses do apply to you, and forget the ones you don’t like. Guess what? That whole business about “Thou shalt not kill?” That was written to a wandering group of former slaves on a different continent, thousands of years ago. Go and make disciples? Not me, I’m not a first-century Judean. Whew! I am so off the hook for all that hard stuff.
This is not an excuse to take scripture lightly, out of context, or to inject whatever meaning we like into it. The Bible is the Word of God, and as such, needs to be handled correctly. However, as the Word of God, it is in fact “alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).
This means all of it. Because God is God, he can use words that were written thousands of years ago, in a different part of the world, in a different language to speak to us today. Even in our personal, unique circumstances. When Paul said that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16), he meant it. And he meant all of scripture.
If this whole notion is sticking in your craw, consider this: you know how, every year at Christmas, you see Isaiah 53 quoted? You know, the “he shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace…”? Guess what? That wasn’t originally written about Jesus. Go ahead, check it out. It was written about someone else, in a different time, language and culture. While you’re at it, you might also want to look into how many times Jesus quoted scripture that was written to someone else, of a different culture and in a different time, and applied it to the people he was talking to.
Of course, God is bigger than time (read Psalm 139, 1 Peter). And language isn’t really something that slows him down (read Genesis 11, Acts 2). Since they are his words, he can use them where and when he wants. Including in my life, which was in fact planned out by God before time even existed (Psalm 139:16).
So, I think God does have some pretty amazing things in store for you. Whether you will be happily married or faithfully single isn’t really the question. I can tell you this much – if you keep your eyes on Jesus, it will be perfect. And by perfect, I don’t mean it will be easy. No matter who you are, following Jesus is never easy, and following Jesus with your spouse can be downright maddening. And amazing. Mostly amazing. If you can figure out exactly how that works, please let me know, but it does. Almost like God planned it that way.
So, about that wife of mine. Her life was planned out by God, too (Psalm 139:16 again). And if you don’t believe he had some pretty amazing ways of working in and through our lives, you need to come over for dinner sometime, because we have some pretty awesome stories to tell you about our lives. But not today. Because today is our anniversary, and we already have plans.