The first and only time my husband asked me out on a date, I rejected him. Well, that is not exactly true. I actually did go with him. I just took my roommates along with me. Yes, you read that right. He knew I loved Chinese food, and we shared a favorite Chinese restaurant in a town about thirty minutes away. I could not resist the Chinese food, but I was terrified of the prospect of a date.
I confess that my terror was rather odd because I had no fear of being alone with him. We were good friends. Neither of us could have told you when or how we met. We had just known each other and interacted off and on through the years depending on how our class schedules and social circles intersected, and we really enjoyed each other’s company. Summer had come and we were both among only a handful of our friends who were in our college town for the summer. So, we naturally spent time together.
On this particular summer day, we had just finished a racquetball game, and somehow I knew that his offer of Chinese was not our typical "hang out as friends" situation. Panicked, I responded with the first thing that came to mind. I asked if my roommates could come along. I still owe those two precious ladies much for tagging along that night, especially the one who didn’t like Chinese food but came along just for me!
He never asked me out on a date again. He did something better. He just stayed. He never pulled back or changed the nature of our friendship. He just stayed and waited. He knew he would marry me. I think that’s why I panicked in the first place. I knew it too. I knew I couldn’t go the first step into a relationship without stepping all the way to the altar, and I wanted to make sure I knew he was the one. It only took me a couple more weeks to be ready, and he let me get there. He just watched for my signals, and stayed.
He once told me that he would have waited as long as I needed. He was willing to wait years, if needed. He just would not have let me forget about him. He would have been there, a constant friend, until I was ready to surrender and become his wife. I love that!
I think one of the reasons I love it so much is that it offers a concrete picture of the way God waits for me. I stray sometimes. I do not respond to Him in the way I was intended. I don’t surrender to the relationship I was created to have with Him. But He stays, always, and He stays close. He reminds me He is there. He speaks to me, disciplines me, and convicts me. His very presence reminds me that I belong to Him and Him alone. Sometimes He is quiet and subtle, while other times His message and presence practically blare before me. But always, He stays.
As each year passes, I find myself increasingly thankful for the fact that my husband did not just wait; he stayed by my side until I figured things out. It reminds me to be even more thankful for the One who always stays.