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).

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Waiting Moments: Be a Warrior not a Worrier

One of the most difficult moments in life is the waiting moment. It is a time when everything seems still, a stillness that feels like stagnation. Waiting moments could range from little things to major landmarks in our lives. It could be waiting for a job, marriage, a child, visa, admission, scholarship, breakthrough in ministry and many more.

There is usually a feeling of uncertainty, stress, sometimes fret, frustration and impatience. Waiting moments are not sweet moments. During these times, our character and faith are tested and, unfortunately, many of us fail the test. Some of us run ahead of God, usually in the wrong direction.

We seek shortcuts, the consequences which we face later. Some also resort to complaint and murmuring which sometimes result in blasphemy. My personal attitude has usually been of anxiety and worry which leads to frustration. These are normal human reactions but the word of God teaches us a different approach altogether, that which is contrary to our normal reactions.

The key scripture is Philippians 4:6:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.”

We see in this scripture the right attitude in moments of waiting. The sum of it is that we are not to be WORRIERS but WARRIORS. So, prayer is very crucial in waiting moments. We are to re-channel the energy used to complain, cry, curse, murmur, and blaspheme into prayer. Instead of counting our loss, we are to count our blessings (they are a lot, trust me) and give God praise.

Anytime worry knocks at your door, pray. Anytime anxiety shows up, begin to thank God, blessing Him for being in control of your future. Your assurance is that Jesus has got your back covered:

“Casting all your care upon Him for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

It is a great privilege to pull all your burden and worries on Christ and go to rest. Jesus truly cares. Roll it, roll it all on Him! He cares!

Photo: FreeImages.com/Joshua Parent

No Regrets Where God Leads

I have noted that usually I don’t know what I really want. I am unfamiliar with my deepest desires. There are surface desires that I pursue based on my limited knowledge. It is only when God establishes His will regarding a particular matter that I realize that “Ah, this is what I truly desired!” It turns out that these desires are deeply seated so much so that I barely recognize them.

God is all-knowing (omniscient indeed). He searches our hearts and knows our deepest desires. David puts it better by saying,

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
    all the days that were formed for me,
    when none of them as yet existed (Ps. 139:15-16, NRSV).

Here are some examples that describe what I said in my opening paragraph.

For many years, I kept running away from a man who was going to be my husband. It was only after God had helped me accept him that I realized he was the only man I had always wanted for a husband. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts (Is. 55:8).

When I got pregnant, I said I wanted a girl mainly because she will help with house chores. I prayed for God’s will anyway. It was not until I got a boy that I realized that what I really wanted was a boy. My joy knew no bounds. I wanted him to look like his dad and grow to take charge of his daddy’s affairs. God’s ways are not our ways (Is. 55:8).

One other example was when I wanted to start my masters. I desired to travel outside the country. I was then working with the International Programmes Office of the University of Ghana. I had interacted with a lot of foreign students who encouraged me to pursue further studies abroad. You should have seen how hard I worked on foreign applications and how much money I spent on application fees. I was praying every dawn for favour with my applications. I was consumed with the desire to travel.

But the Holy Spirit (He is our helper indeed) directed me to pray for God’s will concerning my masters, which I did, yet still holding on to my desire. It was later that I began to see myself in my dreams working with the then director of the Institute of African Studies. I knew right away that God was directing me. So I went online to make inquiries about masters in African Studies and applied.

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Graduating with MPhil in African Studies at the Great Hall, University of Ghana.

To cut the story short, all my foreign applications failed; there was no funding for me. I ended up with Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana. I was taught by the director and lo and behold, I became her graduate assistant. The best part of the story is the wonderful learning experience I had, with very supportive course mates and amazing supervisors who took personal interest in my thesis.

“Ah! There could not have been any better place for me than this. Thank you Lord for your constant leadership,” I found myself saying a number of times. Indeed, God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Is. 55:9).

I can go on and on, but my point is “We make our own plans, but the LORD decides where we will go” (Prov. 16:9, CEV).

God is the Master planner. He will give you step by step directions that will lead you to your destination. Many times, like the fog light, you will only know what is ahead as you make a step in obedience to His will. So, in all aspects of your life and regarding all issues including the insignificant, seek His will for he cares and is willing to direct (1 Pet 5:7; Prov. 3:5-6).

There can be no regrets where the Lord leads. You try it!

Not Only About the Money: Sacrifice, Sacrifice and Sacrifice again

As I held the cheque of GHS7,000 in my hand, I felt like jumping, screaming and dancing. I lifted my hands towards heaven and exclaimed, “Jesus you are too good!”

I was holding the cheque I had not really bargained for or expected. It was such a good feeling because this cheque also came with the renewal of my appointment as a Graduate Assistant at University of Ghana.

Having completed my master’s degree, I expected to work as a Teaching Assistant at the Institute of African Studies. But there came the embargo placed on employment by government. I made arrangements with my colleagues for internal recruitment to no avail.

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On my way to class on a very hot afternoon

I felt devastated. I had started a new family and prepared a family budget with the anticipated salary in mind, because it was almost automatic for students who had interest in working with the Institute to be taken on after they had submitted their thesis. With this in mind, I had worked tirelessly on my thesis, spending sleepless nights.

It was therefore a big disappointment not to be able to work because of the embargo. And I couldn’t look for employment in the private sector because of my pregnancy.

My parents felt sorry. They called from time to time to find out if there had been any positive response regarding my appointment. All the time the answer was a NO.

Hmmm, what will I do? I kept praying, “Lord do something about my job”, but nothing happened. I had to depend on my husband for my every single need. Having younger siblings to sponsor in school made the family budget even tighter.

Nevertheless, I followed my love for the job. I loved the discussions we had during lectures. They were always insightful so I kept attending lectures. Apart from the love I had, there was also a need, one that I filled in. Two of our lecturers who handled the gender courses had traveled overseas, one for sabbatical leave and the other on a fellowship at Harvard. So I willingly stepped in to help.

“But who pays for your transportation?” my dad asked when I told him I was volunteering.

Well I took care of it on my own, for the love of the gender class and also to keep my mind active.

It is not as if it was easy for me. I was actually in my first trimester of pregnancy, battlingIMG-20160819-WA0003.jpg with morning sickness and weakness, and the hunger punks.

I remember carrying snacks to class to help manage the hunger. You should have seen me with my ‘big belly’ sneaking to lectures. I wanted to avoid too many eyes because I was shy.

School had vacated. I was resting at home when I received a call. “Patience, would you like to work for the Institute as a graduate assistant instead of teaching assistant?” I gladly said yes. I was called to pick up my appointment letter weeks later.

Guess what.

My appointment was with retrospective effect from 2015, during which I thought I was volunteering. Hallelujah! I was so excited. God had answered my prayers beyond my expectation. I was going to be paid for the full year I had been volunteering.

Oh my God! This world is something else. Sacrifice and selflessness always pay off. These are my core values. That is why I have worked so hard all my life and will continue to do so. Young people must cultivate these attitudes. Do not let money be your motivation for doing things. Of course money is good but there are other things that are most essential.

Think first about the impact you can make, the lives you can affect, the change and transformation that will occur because of your sacrifice. You will be amazed at the dividend you will reap later on.  I am glad to know that sacrifice and selflessness will be your hallmark henceforth.

P/S: Don’t ask for your share of the money. It’s all been spent.

Misplaced Priorities

My husband sent me pictures taken in 2010 in which I was saying an opening prayer at the inaugural ceremony of the Classics Students’ Association (CLASSA). I was the electoral commissioner for the association then. When I saw the pictures and showed them to my siblings, they laughed at me. I could not help laughing too because I was very skinny then.

As I observed the pictures, I was full of gratitude and praise to God. I could not stop pondering on God’s FAITHFULNESS. Even when we are unfaithful, He is faithful. You know, friends and family members disappoint us sometimes in various circumstances. But as for God, He never fails. He has sworn by His name that ‘I will never leave nor forsake you’ (Heb. 13:5b). 

IMG_0297Now, do you know why I never put on weight? Sacrifices, fastings, waiting, studies, sleepless nights. And why am I writing this? It is for you who say I am your role model. In life, there is nothing as important as the period of sowing because what we sow is what we reap. It is like putting up a building; the foundation is very important.

Whether you will build a story building or not depends on the foundation. The challenge is that a lot of young people are unable to decipher between the sowing season and the ordinary season. The sowing season does not last forever. It is usually for a short time. It takes the prudent soul to identify that season and take advantage of it to sow valuable seeds that bear great fruits during the time of harvest. And so the wise King Solomon says, ‘there is a season for everything under the sun’ (Ecclesiastes 11:10).

One has to stay committed to whatever he or she does, be it studies, trade or work. For it is deadly for one’s youth to be wasted. Same applies to our spiritual lives. At a tender age I sought to know God for who He is and to have a relationship with Him.

As I grew up, I climbed Atwea Mountain several times alone and sometimes with friends just to seek God’s face and His will for my life. The important thing to note is that I did not go there because I wanted a husband or a child or visa or anything. All I wanted was fellowship with God. I cherished the solitude I enjoyed anytime I went there.

There, I received new strength, new directions, and I came back refreshed. And you know my favourite prayer topic? ‘God help me to know your perfect will for my life and grant me the grace to walk in it’. Will you learn to pray such prayers daily? During prayer sessions in church when the leader says, ‘Ask God for your heart’s desire’, I always said, ‘Lord help me to always stay close to you’.

The amazing thing is that the more I waited on God, the more His power was released into my life and made impossible situations possible. To be brief, it is His power that broke every family covenant and set me free from bondage; it is His power that gave me distinction in my first and second degrees, an amazing husband and a lovely son in miraculous ways. His power has done the unimaginable for me. Indeed, in ‘the presence of God there is fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures ever more’ (Ps. 16:11).

IMG_0298But why am I sharing this as I do not like to write about myself? It is for myself, so that I do not forget my foundation and my source of sustenance. It is also for you to know how to set your priorities right regarding your relationship with God. God loves fellowship and not bargains. He wants your love and commitment. He does not want to be treated like a prostitute, but like a cherished wife. Do not come to Him with the long list of things you need—money, car, husband, child, visa, scholarship, among others—and behave as if He is a mean God when your responses are delayed.

What God really wants is a true relationship with Him, that of true friendship and love. No wonder the first commandment goes like ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind…’ (Luke 10:27). When this portion is fulfilled, then follows untold blessings promised in Deut 30:9-10:

‘The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground; for the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers… if you turn to the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul.’

When you seek to know God and love Him for who He is through his son Jesus Christ, His power will make things fall in place in your life. When members of the Great Commission Army (a missionary group I belong to) meet, we do not pray about individual needs; rather, our concern is to raise intercession for the universal church of Christ and for souls. Yet, you see God’s hand in the lives of our members. In 2015, we were blessed with three weddings of members and an outdooring.

There are some people I support with prayer, but I cannot invite to GCA prayer meetings because it will be boring for them; when they want a visa or a spouse, you are talking about making intercession for lost souls and the body of Christ! The day you learn to love God and place His business and matters of His kingdom first, the imaginable will happen to you. The Lord bless you.

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A Moment of Testing. It’s Only for A Moment

I begin with a quote from John Piper:

We will have everything we need in this life, including painful things necessary to bring us to glory.

This week has been a moment of testing. A test of my patience, a test of my faith, a test of my resolve, and a test of my joy. I got betrayed by a very good friend, and it cost me some good amount of money and time. I also lost my step-sister on Thursday.

But yesterday morning, in just a moment, in just some seconds, under the razor of the tonsor, God spoke to me in a way that I never imagined. He spoke through the barber as he shaved my hair. The message was clear. God spoke from His word, and as I sat listening to the prophecy that was coming through this young man, my eyes filled with tears.

He spoke about my soon-to-be launched book and how it was going to impact greatly on the lives of people. He spoke of the challenges I had faced that week and how He was going to turn all of them around for my good. He spoke to me. He spoke to me…through a barber.

It was in a barbering shop…with Christian music playing at the background. It was a barbering shop with printed sheets of scriptural verses pasted all around (cf. Deut. 6:6-9; 11:18-20). There was no way anyone who came to the shop could avoid reading them.

He spoke to me. He spoke to me. And by the time he was done cutting my hair, I had received healing, I had received encouragement, I felt a heavy burden lifted off me (cf. 1 Cor. 14:3). That wasn’t all. In the afternoon of the same day God spoke again, this time through my wife: “When challenges raise their heads, you count your past miracles and believe that this one too will be a miracle.”

God speaks to us in so many ways. He has prophets in both the mundane and spiritual moments of life. He doesn’t speak only through those with titles such as ‘prophet’, ‘pastor’, ‘reverend’, ‘bishop’. He speaks through His children, in whatever profession they are. And the great thing is, whenever He speaks, He speaks from His word, so you know He is the One speaking.

Let your profession and workplace be a tool for helping someone find joy, encouragement, comfort, and salvation in the Lord.

God is faithful. No matter what you are going through, if you hold on to Him, He will crown you with victory. You won’t drown.  

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

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. (Rom. 8:28)

“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. (Jer. 29:11)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isa. 41:10)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deut. 31:6)

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isa. 43:2)