And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28, New International Version)
One of the most amazing mysteries of my faith (besides the idea that God could become human and atone for all of my misdeeds) is encapsulated in that verse. I’ve marveled not only at God’s mercy but also his might since my first steps as a baby Christian. Both before and since setting out on this journey I’ve done things in knowing disobedience of God’s will. But even those blatantly rebellious acts have been worked to my best. Unreal… and yet so true.
I remember sitting through a lot of “girl talks” in those early days. In one such session, girls discussed how far was too far in a “Christian relationship.” I knew my newfound faith would challenge me to approach relationships differently, but I didn’t know the bounds.
I did know that, wherever that elusive line of physicality had been drawn, I had ventured far past it. I secretly hoped that, when I found the man with whom I’d spend my life, he too would have a “checkered past” and therefore would find my missteps easier to swallow.
Then I changed my mind—instead I longed for a man whose Christian upbringing would provide me with a family of faith unlike my own. The hurts I saw in my own family life would be healed in my interactions with his. Meanwhile, he would shine brightly before those I love in a way I was afraid I could not.
You could call me naïve.
My desires have long since abandoned both extremes. Now I merely desire a man who will strive to push my gaze heavenward. Whether he be a redeemed “heathen” or a genteel sort who has long embraced the umbrella of God’s grace doesn’t matter.
That’s the beauty of regeneration. Perhaps the man I will marry (if I marry) has made as many or even more physical mistakes than I. Perhaps he is as pristine as the day is long. It truly doesn’t matter if he falls to either extreme or lands squarely in the middle.
What matters is that Jesus has made him clean, as He has me. I’m not proud of what past I have, but I don’t view myself as damaged goods. Christ’s grace covers those and every mistake.
And He used them to bring me to Him. It’s strange, but He is a beautiful mystery.