What I Did While I Waited Three Years to Obtain Two PhD Fellowships

This is the second of a three-part article on why it took three years to obtain two PhD fellowships, and how God used the waiting period to turn things around in our favour. You can read the first part here. In today’s post, I share the things I did as I waited for this day to come.

The waiting period was somehow frustrating. I was on a 3-year non-renewable contract with the university, and this meant that I had to obtain a funded place on a PhD programme by the year 2017, otherwise I would have to look elsewhere for employment.

The policy itself—that MPhil holders seeking academic appointment at my university could only be employed for a non-renewable contract period of 3 years—was frustrating, especially given the staffing situation in some departments.

What made the situation more frightening was that in addition to my immediate family, I was taking care of my dad, and two siblings who were in tertiary school. If I wanted a more sustainable employment in academia and especially in my university, I needed to obtain a PhD as soon as I could. So, what did I do when this was not forthcoming?

I took care of, and bonded with, our son

I mentioned earlier that my going to Cambridge would have coincided with the birth of my son, Nyamedea, and I couldn’t imagine the trouble both my wife and son would have gone through after the Caesarean Section. Even with support from family members and friends, it would have been hell for them without me. And this is why.

Patience went through the surgery in April and she needed to heal. While we had her mother come stay with us for some weeks, often Nyamedea will sleep only when I carried him in my chest and paced back and forth. I would do this for hours until about 2am when the boy would put to sleep.

Then in August of the same year, Patience started attending to her duties as Graduate Assistant at the Institute of African Studies. Nyamedea was just four months old and we couldn’t afford to put him in a crèche.  School was in session for Patience’s mother who teaches at Sefwi.

What this meant was that I had to bring him every morning to my office. My office became a crèche and ‘collection site’ for food particles. For those who have seen my video updates on how I bond with my son, you will understand where it started from—it’s mostly a result of the time I spent with him in those formative months as a baby.

I was very privileged to have my own office, and to have very supportive staff who would offer a helping hand during times when I had to go teach a class, attend a faculty meeting, or when Nyamedea’s cries for attention were just unbearable. Even staff from other offices were willing and ready to help. But there were those days when no matter what I did, Nyamedea would cling to me. During those days, I wished there were paternal leaves for fathers.

The whole experience affected my research output and health. That year the Dean wrote on my appraisal form that I should be encouraged to publish, and I developed severe chest pains for a long time from carrying Nyamedea to and fro my office.

I engaged in research activities and networked with other scholars

Before Nyamedea’s birth, I had been engaged in some research projects. I went back to them, presented a seminar paper, and participated in two international conferences, one in Chicago, USA and the other in Edinburgh, Scotland. My return to research resulted in the publication of a paper by the third quarter of 2017, and by the middle of the fourth quarter, had resulted in the acceptance of my paper abstract for a conference in Leicester, UK.

I continued focusing on improving myself by seeking advice from my mentors and by networking with other scholars from Africa and beyond. It was through such engagement that I got hint of the Lisa Maskell Fellowship and applied. Without the networks I built during this period, I doubt I would have been telling this story, and without my position as faculty member, I wouldn’t have received funding to attend these conferences.

I improved my language and teaching skills

If you recall, in my last post I wrote about the demands a PhD in Classics required. I began going through my previous lessons in Greek and Latin and reading more to improve my proficiency. Then I engaged a private tutor to teach me French.

Although I couldn’t make it through the number of months I set for myself due to work and family demands, the three months I spent learning some French was worth it. I can’t say I have met the requirements I desired, but when I go back to it, I know it won’t be as difficult as when I began.

I also continued to give myself to teaching in my department, and was privileged to attend two workshops that shaped my teaching methodology and philosophy. My three-year teaching period also enriched academic life in the department and helped improve staff-student ratio.

We mounted a PhD programme and successfully applied for a full fee-waiver for the first four years of the programme

There was no PhD programme in Classics in Ghana but by 2016 my department had a programme approved on paper which had not been advertised. Together with my former head of department, I pushed for the advertisement and commencement of the first ever Classics PhD programme in Ghana and successfully applied for a full-fee waiver for admitted students in both the Classics and Philosophy PhD programmes.

So, I used the waiting period to help create opportunities here in Ghana not just for myself, but also for my colleagues and those who would come after us. I remember being asked by a well-known professor what I wanted, and I said I wanted PhD funding for myself and my colleagues. Then she said, “let’s talk about you”.

But I didn’t want to be successful alone—I wanted to carry my colleagues along. And so, I became a constant reminder to follow up on our proposals. A month after obtaining approval to our proposal for fee waivers, I received the two PhD fellowships—the very news that has generated these series of articles. I declined one, which then passed on to one of my colleagues. And while I am not a beneficiary of the fee-waivers due to my acceptance of the other fellowship, I am excited that the rest of my colleagues can complete their PhDs within the next four years.

I audited a postgraduate course in gender at the Institute of African Studies

My initial PhD proposal was on class and equality with a departure from gender equality. But on further reading and discussion with my mentors, I made substantial revisions to the proposal by focusing on gender equality in Platonic and African philosophical thought. It was this proposal I submitted for the PhD fellowships.

In order to enrich my understanding of gender in African cultures, I audited a postgraduate course in gender at the Institute of African Studies. The professors who led the seminar were very helpful. I discussed my proposed study with them and they were excited to have me audit their seminar.

I contributed to discussions, critiqued papers and made presentations on them. I am sad to say, however, that due to work demands, I could not sit through the whole semester, but the few weeks I spent there enriched my understanding of gender and helped to refine my PhD proposal.

I continued putting my gifts to use

I didn’t let the frustration from the delays prevent me from serving people. I provided mentoring, counselling and career guidance to numerous young people from within and outside the university.

I set up a mentoring class in my department to help students navigate aspects of life that were not discussed in lecture rooms—something to get them prepared for work after school and life in general. We met every Tuesday in my office from 10am to 11am. In addition, we hosted a bible study in my office every Tuesday at lunch time for our mentees.

I gave myself to speaking and counselling sessions with individuals and groups. Together with my wife, I helped newly married couples to understand the challenges of the first year of marriage and how to manage them.

At church, my wife and I continued to serve as Junior Youth teachers, and I helped my congregation to develop a mentoring programme for young people, while I continued to write for our blogs and organise Christian conferences—including the Mimesis Christou Bible Conference and Missions and Family Life Conference.

I published a book and took a course in ministry

By March 2016, I had published my second book on Christian spirituality—Are You Waxing Cold?—and spent some time talking about the subject of my book in congregations. As someone who has been involved in Christian ministry since age 17, I took the opportunity to get some training at the seminary, both to refine my own theological views and to make me effective in reaching out.

The training helped bring to fore the errors in my theology and provided me the skills for doing proper biblical study and interpretation. It also helped to enrich my speaking and writing ministry.

And, finally, I prayed!

Though not in chronological order, these activities happened within the three-year period I was feverishly seeking opportunity for a fully-funded PhD programme. By now, I guess you have learnt some lessons, but in the final part I will bring out these lessons more clearly for your own encouragement and purposeful waiting.

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I Caused It but God Did It: Why It Took Three Years to Obtain Two PhD Fellowships

Last week my wife Patience shared a testimony of how she secured a fully funded PhD scholarship, and she used that to communicate a very important lesson on acting on our beliefs and prayers.

Two months after she commenced her PhD, I received two PhD fellowships—a Lisa Maskell Fellowship to study Ancient Cultures in the Department of Ancient Studies at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship to study Classics at the University of Ghana.

I was among about 18 students from Africa and 10 from Ghana respectively who were selected for these prestigious fellowships. But not many know that it’s taken me three years to finally secure a place on a fully-funded PhD programme.

In this three-part article, I want to share with you why securing a funded place delayed, what I did myself to cause the delay, how I made use of my waiting period, how God used the delay to work out His plans for my life, and the lessons I have taken from the three years of waiting.

Some background

Immediately I submitted my MPhil dissertation, I began making plans to enrol on a fully funded PhD programme. Considering the academic path I had chosen and the investments I had made in acquiring an MPhil degree without financial support, it was crucial that I secured a place on a funded PhD programme if I ever wanted to start a PhD by the end of the first year of my marriage.

Yes, I wanted to get married first but I had no fiancée (the story of how I got married two years after this will be for another day). And to get married as planned, I needed to be financially stable.

Once my work was submitted, I put in an application for Teaching Assistantship, then in August 2014 I was appointed Assistant Lecturer. It was a month prior to this—July 9, 2014—that I proposed marriage to my platonic friend of six years. By the following year, on July 25, 2015, Pat and I were married.

So, it seemed my plans had gone through smoothly, and I was ready to commence the process of obtaining a funded place on a PhD programme. Since no university in Ghana had a PhD programme in Classics at the time, my options were limited to schools abroad. However, it will take me two more years before my plan will materialise, and these are the reasons why.

I limited my options

One of my goals was to complete a PhD in a maximum time of four years, so US schools were out of the question—it takes 5 to 6 years to complete a PhD in Classics in the US.

Besides, to read a PhD in Classics, I needed to have done three to four years each of Greek and Latin at advanced level, read some primary sources in their original languages, and while on the programme, acquired proficiency in two additional foreign languages (including German, and French or Italian).

I couldn’t have met these requirements immediately and I was not ready for the long journey. I also told myself that if I was going to study outside Ghana, it would be better to do it beyond my continent. I therefore limited my options to the UK, Canada and Australia in the first few years.

But all my applications to these schools were rejected, except those for Cambridge in the UK, Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, and University of Sydney in Australia. However, the admissions came without funding.

I deferred my admission to Cambridge hoping to secure a Commonwealth Scholarship, but I failed to make it to the final round. By now I had spent so much time and money on preparing and submitting applications. I was both frustrated and tired. All advice to consider other options had fell on deaf ears.

I was obsessed with the top-notch schools

I don’t mean to say one should settle for schools that are sub-standard, no! And in no way am I demoting Stellenbosch University or the University of Ghana. Both universities have reputations to boast of, especially in Africa. But during this period, no university in Ghana had a PhD programme in my field of study and there was no access to funding to even consider these places.

But I should have created a balance and not applied only to first-rate schools. There are schools which may not match the likes of Cambridge and Yale, but they may be very good in their own right. I failed to apply this principle. All the schools I applied to were leading schools in their respective countries.

What this meant was that I was competing with foreigners who might have spent their secondary school period studying Greek and Latin and other foreign languages at advanced levels—and here was I, with limited preparation in these languages, applying for a position on the same programme as them. The least I could have done—an advice I failed to take—was apply to their one-year masters programme and then move on to do my PhD afterwards. 

I did not take my time to prepare

Looking back at the whole process, I did not take my time to prepare. I was so much in a hurry. It was like I had to do this now and now! My MPhil period was a very hectic and troubling one—I was self-financing my education, studying and working full-time, and taking care of two siblings and a father.

I slept on average three to four hours a day. I went through a lot of depression. One night, I boarded a mini-bus to Madina, alighted and walked from one end of the road to the other, returned to my hostel and slept. A month after submitting my work, I started working, then a year later I got married and started thinking about PhD. After going through all that, I should have taken my time to prepare.

We failed to plan well

My wife and I may have failed to plan well. I say ‘may’ because we both wanted a child in our first year of marriage, and I wanted to commence a PhD by the end of that first year of marriage. We were very unreal about the cost of carrying forward such a plan. Even if I had secured funding for the Cambridge PhD, I doubt I would have been able to take it up, for in the very month I was scheduled to leave, Patience delivered our son through Caesarean Section.

But, we did not want to hold back the possibility of having a child while we looked for a PhD at the same time. Our plan was for me to start and finish a PhD first, by which time we would have two kids, then my wife could commence hers while I took care of the kids. So, the failure in our plan was not in asking for a child and a PhD, but in failing to calculate the real cost and failing to design realistic timelines.

God may have been trying to save me from a wrong timing

While I acknowledge the part I played in causing my own delay, I believe, to some extent, that God was saving me from a wrong timing, and He was using my own mistakes to do this since I was not ready to listen to His voice.

Truth is, while my wife and I prayed about our plans for PhD, in our hearts we were not ready for anything that would cut short our plans. I believe if God had said, “Michael, your time to leave will be in January 2018,” I would have shouted back, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” Our hearts were closed to any voice that would not agree with us.

This is what desperation and lack of trust can do. I had just three years on a non-renewable contract with my employer. So, at all cost, I needed to get a PhD to stay in full-time academic appointment. Otherwise, we were in for the hard times I experienced during my MPhil. However, my timing of applications may have been wrong. In our desperation, we couldn’t trust that God will bring everything into perfect timing before the end of 2017.

Updated: 09/02/2018

Continue to Part II of the article.

God Has Done It Again: Acting on Prayer and Belief

Have you ever got to a stage in life where you seemed stuck and did not see the way forward; where the path on which you walked seemed crooked and you wondered if you would ever find the highway?

That was where I found myself. I had completed a masters degree, yet found myself without any meaningful employment because of an embargo on employment. My brain had become fuzzy with pregnancy and childbirth. I wondered if I could pursue my goal of further studies now that I was a wife and mother. My lifelong dream of being in academia was dim.

The fact that my better half also had to do further studies made the situation dimmer. The cost of pursuing one PhD is that huge let alone two. I had doubts I could put a proposal together or bring myself to sit by books like I used to. I guess you understand the depth of my hopelessness.

But I had an option—to pray, believe, and act. I trusted God for his perfect will for my life. I discussed the possibility of applying for a PhD programme with my mentor who gave me some ideas about possible places. Within a few weeks, I had put together a PhD proposal.

One morning I visited the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) and the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) to make enquiries about their PhD programmes.

The feedback at RIPS was not positive so I went to ISSER where I was impressed about the courses on offer. I also realized for the first time that they had few scholarships available. I informed my hubby about the courses and before I was aware, he had purchased the forms and put in an application for me using the proposal I had prepared.

I was invited with several others for an interview. There were just five slots for funding. I had sleepless nights over an interview I thought didn’t go so well, but I did what I know to do best, to pray.

And bam! God did it! I was among the five people who received DAAD funding for a PhD in Development Studies at ISSER. The funding also included a two-month internship in Germany. God did not only pay for school fees but provided for my monthly sustenance. God is good indeed! His faithfulness is for ever more. I give God all the praise. His grace I do not take for granted. His daily kindness I greatly appreciate. If it had not been for the Lord on our side, where would we be?

Set on course for the future by God’s grace, I trust daily for his provision, grace and mercies. And because he began with me I have full assurance for the grace of glorious completion.

One thing is for sure, if the Lord has not responded to your call, it is because he is working on something big. If your path seems crooked, keep pressing on, the high way is a few steps ahead. God will surely come through for you.

If there is any barrier to your breakthrough, may God’s mighty power cause it to be lifted. Receive the grace of a warrior and press on till the end. Jesus has paid the price for your victory! Walk in it.

In this new year, may God give us the grace to continuously trust him for his perfect will in our lives. May the Lord go before us and make the crooked places straight. May He break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron (Isaiah 45:2). May he give us increase and abundance.

PS: Much love to my mentors Drs Deborah Atobrah and Benjamin Kwansa for their encouragement, references and guidance with my proposal. You are a true blessing!

Shout out to my wonderful colleagues who make the journey enjoyable. Thanks for the guinea fowls, kebabs, potatoes, free lunch, and lifts. Much blessings for you all. Because God himself is our help, we will hold each other by the hand and complete this journey together. Cheers!

This One Thing: Set Your Priorities Right This Year

There are times we present our desires to God and wait patiently for them to be met. We wait, first with faith, but as time passes we become anxious, frustrated and helpless. We wonder, “Is God unkind or unable?” “Don’t I deserve what others have?” “Or have I committed some unpardonable sin?”

At a period in my life, I cried many times and walked without any joy or sparkle in my eyes. If I was not knocked down by a car, then it was grace, because drivers blew their horns at me, as I was so absent minded while I walked. It was as if I was ready to die for this one thing I so badly needed. It seemed my life was incomplete without it.

I lost sight of the abundance of God’s blessings in my life: the breath of life, the financial breakthrough, the job, the good health I shared with my family. I lost sight of them all for this one thing I did not have, hopping from one prayer meeting to the other until I lost my attitude of praise and did not want to pray any more. How forgetful one can be!

But one day, the Holy Spirit ministered to me in the following verse:

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all other things will be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).

As a Christian, why had I not received all the “other things”?

The Holy Spirit was there to help me find the answers and to learn the following divine truths:

First, God is interested in the salvation of my soul before all other things.

In the same way he is interested in the salvation of other souls before all other things. He is, above all things, committed to reconciling the whole world back to himself. That’s his primary business.

He is also looking for people whose primary goal is to be available for his use in the ministry of reconciliation.

Yes, He is in the business of giving material blessings, but they are all geared towards one goal—the salvation of humankind.

Second, God’s will often does not fit into our individual aspirations, desires and goals.

God works with a time table that suits his plan for the salvation of my soul and the world. Interestingly, this time table is not like what I have as an individual:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Is. 55:8).

God is sovereign, all wise, all knowledgeable. No human can fully fathom his being and character. And he is meant to be known through personal relationship and through his word by the help of the Holy Spirit.

Believers are to submit their will to God’s. He is the master planner who holds the perfect and beautiful master plan. Believers need faith and absolute trust with patience and perseverance to be able to accept and conform to God’s will for their lives.

What do we learn from these things?

We need to set our hearts and minds right. There should be a rearrangement of our priorities—to have eternity in mind and know that it is urgent that we do so. Time is running out. Souls are dying everyday. There is no time to procrastinate or delay:

But this I say, brethren, the time is short, …for the form of this world is passing away (1 Cor. 7:29-31).

God knows that we need resources in fulfilling divine assignment. When we set our minds and hearts right, commit and make active move towards his work, we will use these resources in ways that please him. But when we do not set our hearts and minds right and realign our priorities to fit into God’s plans, these resources can become burdens rather than blessings.

What resource do you have? How are you using them to fulfil God’s will? May God help us to set our priorities right this year.

Have a happy and prosperous New Year!

Photo: FreeImages.com/Joshua Parent

Destiny Aborted, Mission Unfulfilled

God has several ways of getting our attention, and today he did get my attention. I had an emergency that landed me in the children’s ward with my son. Few hours after we got there a little girl of about 3 years lost her life.

Her mother cried uncontrollably. She could not believe that her daughter was gone, I mean gone forever. She screamed and screamed, then went into a state of denial. She assumed her child was just sleeping so started calling her pet names to get her to wake up. That was the point everyone in the ward could not hold their tears back. I looked on, not knowing how to process what I was observing.

What is the difference between this pretty girl who lay on the bed and the other kids in the ward? 

Breath!

It’s that which we take for granted. That which we forget to thank God for.

Breath!

As she was gathered and sent to the morgue, I saw a future cut short, a destiny unfulfilled, a purpose forfeited. Whose fault was it? Very difficult to tell!

It was then that the Holy Spirit got my attention.

What I was observing was the sad truth about humanity. How often we die before our time, how often we die without accomplishing our call and assignments. How often we go back to God with unused talents and unfinished businesses.

This realization saddened me but also got me scared as I examined my own life.

I wondered if I had been living the life God wanted me to live, whether I had touched the lives God wanted me to touch. And whether I had made the difference God wanted me to make; whether I had not pretended to hear, or given too many excuses in responding to, his voice in the first place. And whether I was not too consumed in acquiring degrees and making family, all of which are important yet count very little in the face of eternity.

How easy it is to lose focus, to be too familiar with our environment so much that we fail to make any impact. How often we postpone that which we ought to do today for another day. I could not help but ask for grace to be all God has called me to be, to live my life to its fullest not only in years but with purpose.

It is now your turn for self-examination.

I pray that God brings comfort to this little girl’s family. I pray that God protects all children over the world and secure their purposes on earth. May they become what God wants them to be in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

All You Need to Know About Missions and Family Life 2017

Our discipleship ministry, Mimesis Christou, in collaboration with the Great Commission Army, is organising a conference on Missions and Family Life. See details about the conference in the post.

Mimesis Christou

The conference is being organised by Mimesis Christou, a discipleship and mentoring ministry, and the Great Commission Army, a missionary organisation reaching out to peoples in the north of Ghana and in other African countries.

The purpose of the conference is to give an all-encompassing training to young people covering missionary work and family life.

In this regard, the conference seeks to expose young people interested in ministry to relevant information and tools needed in planning for their future and encourage them to strike a perfect balance.

There’s evidence of dysfunctionality in Christian homes where the pastor is committed to ministry but does not devote time to the family. The children are therefore left to their own plight or to the ‘singular’ care of their other parent, and are often susceptible to negative peer influence.

Missionaries (especially those engaged in full-time work) also need to be supported financially…

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Choosing A Life Partner: It’s Your Choice But Let God Lead

The search for a life partner can be stressful and confusing, but more especially when we rely on our own wisdom and ignore the leading of the Lord. While the choice is ultimately ours to make, letting God lead us in the process brings us peace.

It does not mean that marriage will be a perfect one; but it means that we will be starting from a good foundation, and if both partners cultivate the ingredients needed for a successful marriage, then that adds to their joy.

Why should I let God lead?

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer.  17:9, NIV).

Only God knows the deep intents of the heart of man. Friendship and familiarity can reveal who a person is but only to a limited extent. That is why you hear people say, “I married the wrong person,” “He/she has changed so much”. There has been no change really but just a revelation of the person’s true self; marriage has only revealed what had been lying inside. We have not even mentioned people who intentionally pretend just to get a person married to them. So, you see, it is just frightening.

But God can save us from making terrible mistakes in choosing a wrong person for a spouse. And God does this in so many ways. Those who let God lead them can be assured that even in circumstances where they are blinded, God is able to bring them out of ill-motivated courtships and relationships set to fail in marriage.

The question of the heart of man and how humans cannot see as far as God can, is seen for instance in the anointing of David as king over Israel. Given Saul’s disobedience and subsequent rejection by God, God sends Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons. While Samuel thought Eliab, one of Jesse’s well-built, fine sons, was God’s chosen, God said to Samuel,  

Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).

Eventually, God’s choice was the young boy David. Why did God not choose the more gallant and well-built men?

Because he knows the heart of man and he knows what the future holds for every intent of man. 

Yet, it does not mean that God’s leading at this stage will produce a perfect marriage. It is important to note that the ministry of marriage is not one of imposition. Rather, it’s about you and your partner collaborating with God, like a ‘three-fold cord’, to use your marriage to bring Him glory (cf. Eccl. 4:12b).

Making a right choice of partner, then, is the first step. From then, a lot depends on the couple to cultivate the necessary ingredients needed to grow a successful marriage—it doesn’t come automatically.

One key ingredient for a successful marriage is oneness—oneness with God, oneness of vision, and oneness with spouse on all levels. Any marriage that has failed, no matter the reasons given, missed out on this key ingredient—oneness. If you cannot guarantee this key ingredient as you prepare to marry a potential spouse, break off the courtship.

Sometimes our ways may seem right to us, but may lead us into dire consequences (Prov. 14:12, NIV). Marriage is a long, winding journey. We cannot see the end of that journey from the beginning. But God does. Everything may be perfect today, how about tomorrow?

It is only prudent to let the Lord lead you when considering who to walk the long corridors of marriage with. Do you want the peace that comes with walking the long journey of marriage with a right partner? Think, observe, watch, reason, but let God lead you in your choice and in your marriage journey.

How do I let God lead?

  • Give God say in your plans

A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs His steps (Prov. 16:9, NKJV).

Planning our lives is very important. Illustrating with the example of the ant, the writer of Proverbs even advises us to be prepared in and out of season (Prov. 6:6-12).

In planning our lives, we sometimes need to consult with people for advice. If we want to let people to be involved directly in our plans, then it means giving them the opportunity to make suggestions to us.

But to let God in on our plans does not merely mean He playing an advisory role in our lives; rather, it describes a relationship that involves consistent deliberation and trust, and a willingness to cut short our plans and move in God’s direction when that moment arrives. Yes, plan. But when God cuts in, be willing to listen and follow where He leads.

  • Wait on God; don’t go ahead of Him

Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. (Is. 26:8, NIV)

Sometimes, finding a partner can come off as hopeless, thus many fall into desperation and eventually refuse to obey God’s word. It may be giving in to sexual sin to be accepted by a potential spouse, or giving in to anyone available because ‘you are not growing any younger’.

But letting God lead means waiting on God. It means making Him your utmost priority, and making marriage secondary. Your life must not be dictated by the pressure to marry but by the desire to glorify God.

It’s not a question of whether you marry at 20 or 40. If it’s tarrying, wait! Don’t compromise your faith in God. You need to trust that God will lead you to the right person in His own time, and that He is able, even in the most difficult situations, to fulfil His promises to you.

Contrary to what some people think, waiting on God does not mean praying and fasting for 21 days for a spouse. We must not have the kind of relationship that is transactional: “Lord give me a spouse and I will serve you”. No! True waiting results in obedience to His word and a focus on pleasing Him alone and not our selfish desires. We must desire to serve God whether we will marry or not.

Walk in His word while you wait; make His name and renown your desire while you wait (Is. 26:8, NIV). Instead of fretting during your period of waiting, take stock of the lessons God is teaching you and the processes He is taking you through in anticipation of that ‘thing’ you desire.

You, LORD, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in You (Is. 26:3, TEV).