I want to tell you a story. A true story, a story that I have watched unfold and play out in the most wondrous way.
It’s a beautiful story, a story like no other. One that I think will encourage your heart if you are weary. One that will strengthen your faith; one that will cause you to see God’s hand in the life of other people, and, prayerfully, cause you to stand amazed at God’s providence. At His sovereignty.
One that will show you that God really, truly has a plan for you life; one that is perfectly tailored to glorify Him the most. Even if we find it disappointing, even if we find ourselves laying to rest cherished hopes and dreams, even if we can’t see the end of the journey we are on, God can. He knows. He has ordained it all, and He has called it good.
To be honest, it’s not really my story to tell.
And that is why I have hesitated so long in sharing this with you. I’m not sure my writing can do it justice, and I’m not sure my words will amply describe the tale I’m about to tell.
Several years ago a young man began to pray for a wife. Knowing him, I’m sure he prayed earnestly, fervently. The Lord didn’t send him a wife; instead he brought him to a church that preached Christ crucified. He brought him into a church filled with older, mature Christians; Christians who could mentor this man in his faith, and could encourage him as he needed it.
The one problem: this church had no young people there. He was the youngest, there was no one he could marry. Because of this, he almost didn’t stay at this church. But he did, because he knew it was the Lord’s will.
He was willing to give up his dreams of marriage and a family, if that was what the Lord asked of him.
The years passed, and I’m sure they felt long to him. He became an ordained minister. He attended the marriages of friends. The pastor and friend he had mentored under left to go and preach in Alaska, and he was left as the temporary shepherd of the little flock.
Yet, he prepared, faithfully, for a wife if the Lord saw fit to send one to him. He spoke of her. He prayed for her.
He loved her, even though he didn’t know who she was.
Seven months ago, a family walked into this man’s church. They were quiet; they were unsure. They just knew the Lord had brought them away from the church they had called home for seven years.
Some went unwillingly, disliking the change and the discomfort and the fact that they knew no one at the church. Most of them had never been to a church where everyone was a stranger — there had always been a familiar face there to smile at.
But not here.
Some were angry about leaving. Some were sad. Some missed everyone they used to know.
The family came back a second week, and a third. Eventually they realized that the other pastor of this church — the one that had left for Alaska — had been at a conference at the church they had left. They had met him, once, a long time ago. The whole congregation was familiar with the other church, and knew some of the same families they did.
It got around the church grapevine that one of those girls in that family could play a piano, and church just wasn’t church without a piano player. So this man, as the acting pastor, sat down one Sunday, and asked if she would be willing to play for them. He had been playing the guitar, and asked if he could come over to go over the hymns together.
The parents, being true southerners, wouldn’t hear of him coming and not staying for a meal. So he came over after work one Saturday, and spent the evening.
And he came the next week. And the next. And the next.
At first it was simply to practice, but eventually they no longer played together; the whole family spent the time talking and getting to know each other.
He came to feel like a brother, and fit right into the family. He brought his sisters over; the family went shopping with his mother; they met his granny and he met their grandma and grandpa. They spent whole days together, shopping, and playing and laughing and talking.
One day, this man asked to speak with the father of the family. The mother was there, as well, and he shared how he felt the Lord was leading him to marry their second daughter through tears.
Up ’til this point, there had been no talk of romance. Nothing of dating, or courtship, or interest of any sort, besides the brotherly kind.
The whole family had been praying for this man to find a wife for the past several months; they just had never thought it would be one of their daughters. They were overjoyed, and gave their blessing. After speaking to their daughter, they realized she had been praying specifically for her and this young man for the past two months.
They met with the young man the next day, with their daughter. They came home, and told the rest of the family that night, with a backdrop of Christmas lights and carols.
They already knew they would be getting married.
They had come to know each other, not under the guise of a romantic relationship, but through friendship. They each knew the faults of the other, and they each knew the others strengths. They were already friends, and were destined to quickly become best friends, for life.
And so began a relationship, that quickly ended in rings and wedding dates and gave us eight weeks to prepare to have the home circle broken apart for the first time.
As I type this, I am watching these two together, my sister and my soon to be brother-in-law. They sit on the couch across from me, fingers entwined. She is smiling, and he is smiling. Both of them have a hard time paying attention to anyone else, and they are finding it hard to follow the conversation around them.
It’s slightly awkward to watch.
But it’s a sweet awkward.
I’ve dubbed it, much to their chagrin, “living in the clouds.”
It’s a wondrous thing to watch their love for each other develop and grow. It is a special privilege to share in the plans of the future of these two dreamers who are living in the clouds.
In eight weeks, I will have the older bother I have prayed for my whole life. The older brother I never thought I would have.
“To God be the glory, for ever and ever!”