During my freshman year at Arizona State, I was riding my bright yellow bicycle to an economics exam when my bike chain broke. It split right into two pieces.
Annoyed at my misfortune, I walked my bike the rest of the way to the exam (I have moments where I'm still thrilled over the fact that I will never have to study economics ever again), and after it was over I walked it to the campus bike shop. They told me to come back in an hour or so and I would have a brand new chain and fully-functioning bicycle. So I went to get lunch, and then I walked back. The bike repair guy said, "I have good news and bad news. The bad news is we didn't have any more gray bike chains. The good news is that we had a bright fuchsia one, so we put that one on your bike." I was ecstatic. "Oh, and it also has sparkles. I hope that's OK, too. And since it's not what you asked for, we gave you a 50% discount."
God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
This one fantastic moment in the bike shop was a simple and concrete representation of so many things our good God has done in my life.
We often ask God for things or tell God what we need, and God always responds in some way, shape, or form. Indeed, His response is often a surprise, not always what we expect, and does not often come on our own timeline. He may give us something we did not think we need or something that is a little different. I am sure you can recall some of those moments in your own life.
Presently, I can see this scenario in the love story God is writing in my life. God has certainly given me a wild love story for the books. It will take me a very long time to write out the whole story one day, so I will share just a part of it with you.
I wondered for a long time in my teens and early twenties about what authentic love would be like. I went on dates with plenty of jerks, and over time this ultimately led me to hope...maybe I'll find a nice guy one day. 'Nice' was the bar I wanted to reach. My expectations were mediocre, in the same way that I hoped for a gray bike chain that one day in the bike shop. I thought a gray one was all I needed. I thought a nice guy was all I needed, too.
God certainly gave me more than 'nice' and the surprise was that the man He wrote into my life lived in Europe. His name is Daniël and not only is he nice...he is convicted, strong, compassionate, selfless, and holy. In every women's session I give, I tell the women about a letter Daniël wrote to me. After spending some time together and before we began dating, he wrote me a letter that ended with this...
"I have desires to honor, protect, and serve you, but most importantly lead you closer to Christ in every possible way."
Yes, I hoped for a guy who was decent and good. God has given me more than that…much, much more. God gave me a man who has shown me Christ day in and day out. I did not know what authentic love would look like in my own life, and Daniël has shown it to me in every way. Dating someone who lives 6,000 miles away takes a very serious, strong, and deep commitment. Daniël has stopped at nothing to commit to loving me, to sacrificing for me, to leading me to a stronger prayer life, and to helping me love myself for who I am. When the going has gotten rough, he has carried me forward. He prays for me and with me. He respects my body as my own and we choose chastity together and he makes me know well that I am honored and loved. And when it recently came time to really dig in and sacrifice, he did not flinch. He moved his life halfway around the planet to show me what true love really is…true love is great sacrifice. He has sacrificed the life he knows - the people he knows and the lifestyle he knows and the home he knows - to show me his love. And I am overwhelmed and grateful because I have received so much more than I ever thought I needed. I glimpse the love of the God of the universe in the way I am loved by this man.
I know well and deeply that when God provides in His ways and in His timing it is always better that we imagined. And it is always more beautiful than we thought it would be.
Women, don't settle for less than amazing when it comes to the man you allow into your heart. If it be His will for your life, God will provide you with the most astounding love - if you settle for mediocre you will miss out on God's plan, a plan of abundance and much more joy than you ever thought possible.
Ask the married couple at the wedding feast in Cana. They needed only a bit more wine, but God provided the astonishing abundance of 180 gallons.
We hope and we ask for gray, and God gives us fuchsia. And not only does God give us fuchsia, we get sparkles and half-off, too.