Father Knows Best

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"Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes." Ephesians 3:20, TLB

I remember back in college making a list of qualities I was searching for in my potential Mr. Right. I think I'd heard a retreat speaker or singles pastor suggest it, and it seemed like a logical and fun! thing to do. It was like the grown-up version of making a Christmas wish list.

So I sat down and mapped out what I wanted. He had to love God, treat his mother like a queen, and not be intimidated by two-year-olds. He needed a decent brain in his head, a make-me-laugh-out-loud sense of humor, and a mostly-responsible-but-sometimes-spontaneous personality. He couldn't be a slacker, a slob, or a sports fanatic. And, of course, he had to think I was the best thing since Starbuck's.

When I finished my list, I tucked it inside the front cover of my Bible as an act of trust that someday God would fulfill my wishes and bring Mr. Dreamy to me.

Five years later, still single, I ripped the list in two and threw it away. Okay, part of my motivation was frustration with my measly dating life. But there were other reasons, too.

One of those reasons hit me when a married coworker sat in my office telling me how different her husband was from what she'd been looking for in a mate. "I thought I'd end up with an intellectual, a bookworm. But I wouldn't trade David" her Renaissance Man husband who makes pizza completely from scratch and built and furnished a greenhouse in their backyard "for anything. We complement each other so well." My ah-ha moment came when she said, "I thought I knew what I wanted, but God definitely knew what I needed." The love-struck look in the eyes of this woman who'd been happily married for six years confirmed the wisdom of God's choice.

Then there was my own experience a year or so later. I was dating a guy who had everything on my list but for some elusive, maddening reason it wasn't enough. So I let him go, trusting that someday someone would possess qualities that complemented mine in ways I couldn't even fathom yet.

In all the analyzing and overanalyzing involved in that relationship, I finally learned that trusting God isn't about our agenda it's all about his. Not that we just sit back and expect him to do all the work but we can't box him in with our expectations either. This is the God who created zebras and blowfish and snowflakes. Do we really want him to work inside our parameters?

So I chucked my list. Though I do still have a mental short-list of non-negotiables. Mr. Right must be a Christian. He must not be an axe murderer. And he must be breathing. (What can I say? My list has gotten shorter over the years!)

As for the rest, I'm leaving that up to God.


Camerin Courtney
April 5, 2000

2002 Christianity Today. Used by permission.