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An Arranged Marriage

August 31, 2012

For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

None of our children is engaged or married, but Bob occasionally jokes that we could arrange very suitable marriages for them.  He knows something about arranged marriages, since ours was an arranged marriage.  Like many arranged marriages, we knew each other for years before we married, and we grew to a deeper love over the years.

But our marriage wasn’t arranged by our parents; it was arranged by our heavenly Father.  I have reflected many times over the past thirty two years on the many events and circumstances that led Bob and me to the altar after five and a half years of dating, including a two and a half year engagement.  I reached the conclusion some time ago, that ours was and is a “marriage made in heaven”—that our meeting during the course of our work, subsequent dating and eventual marriage was God’s plan for both of us.  That’s not to say that it has always been a bed of roses.  To borrow a line from Ann Romney, ours is not a storybook marriage; it’s a real marriage.

About fifteen years ago, I taught a series to my Sunday School class, about learning how to discern God’s will for our lives.  There are many books and other resources on this subject,[1] which is of great interest to most people of faith.  The materials I used for my middle schoolers were geared to young people.  The course suggested several ways to test whether something is God’s will for a person’s life:  the test of time, paying attention to the providential circumstances, events, opportunities and people in our lives, following the guidelines of scripture, taking our concerns to God in prayer, and consulting the wise people that God puts in our lives.

How do we know what God wants of us in any given situation?  Peter Kreeft responds: “Jesus promised, ‘Seek and you will find; . . . anyone who seeks will find (Matthew 7:7-8).  If you are really asking the question ‘How can I know what God wants of me?’ because you love him and want to please him, then you certainly will find out what he wants.”[2]

God doesn’t give us the script of our lives in advance, but we know that his plan for each and every one of us is a good plan, and that if we earnestly seek to do his will, he will help us arrange our lives.  His plan for us will be revealed to each of us over time.  You can count on it.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

August 31, 2012

[1] An excellent book  for people of faith is God’s Will: Finding Guidance for Everyday  Decisions, by J. I. Packer and Carolyn Nystrom (Baker Books).  Peter’s Kreeft’s Your Questions, God’s Answers is a great resource for young people trying to discern God’s will for their lives.

[2]  Peter Kreeft, Your Questions, God’s Answers, pp. 25-26, (Ignatius Press, 1994).

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