As I prayed about what to minister to the girls at the final meeting of the purity class, my own disappointment with relationships kept getting in the way. I stared at the blank computer screen, trying to prepare a final exhortation on purity. But all I could think was, “God, why have You forgotten me? Where is the fairytale love story promised by all the purity books I used to read?” I wanted so much to proclaim to the girls on this final meeting that if they would commit their love life to God, He promises to write them a beautiful story – a better one than they could write for themselves. I wanted to assure them that saving themselves for marriage would be worth it and that by doing so, they would avoid so much heartache. “Heartache. Avoid heartache?” I thought. “God, by waiting, it would seem that I have only experienced heartache!” I didn’t want to sugarcoat purity to these girls by promising them joy, when most of the time, the cost of purity brought pain. It would seem that by doing everything “right,” saving sex for marriage, spending my single years for the Lord and passing different tests, I only reaped sorrow – not the joy promised in all the relationship books. I felt cheated, by everyone who ever told me that dreams come true, and especially by God.
After doing everything “God’s way” by waiting, not settling, serving Him with their singleness, how many are still waiting for their dreams of love to come true?
I remembered back when I first made the commitment to purity. It was my 13th birthday, and my Dad had taken me to our favorite Mexican restaurant. At the close of the meal, he presented me with a purity ring with the words engraved on it, “True Love Waits.” He explained what the ring signified: a commitment to saving my heart and body for the man God was preparing for me. Dad asked me if I would give him my heart, until the day he would give me away to another man. Looking back at my diary from that special evening, I “felt like a princess.” I was so excited that one day I was going to give a wonderful gift to my husband. And in return for my commitment to chastity, God would shower me with His blessings! A godly, romantic courtship with the man of my dreams, a beautiful wedding, a bunch of cute kids – the whole package. No doubt about it, the commitment to purity would have major benefits, and even at 13, I wanted in on it!
But as I soon discovered, even the best of good intentions only goes so far when faced with temptation. At 14, I found myself doubting if waiting was even possible. The cost that comes with following Jesus was beginning to come at too high a price, and I wasn’t sure I was willing to pay up. Living for Jesus would mean I would have to leave the world and all its “fun” behind. I would think,“Can’t I just get the benefits of living for God, without actually sacrificing my life to Him?” I had made a commitment to purity, without making a commitment to God. As a result, my excitement and resolve soon began to crumble.
It wasn’t until I was 15 that I came face to face with an ultimatum given by God. “Choose Me, or choose the world. But you cannot have both.” I had started to experience what a mess I was capable of making of my life, when God wasn’t in control. In my living room with my Dad, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I was willing to pay the price and live for Him. I now understood why my commitment to purity had been so difficult – rather, impossible; I was missing the secret ingredient: a relationship with Jesus!
Now I was truly excited to be His set-apart woman. I began to grow spiritually and gravitated towards godly books on purity and marriage. By reading such books with happy testimonies of beautiful courtships and marriages, I was convinced that I, too would be the recipient of the same type of fairytale.
Fast forward seven years. I have come close to my dreams coming true not once, but twice. And both times, God closed the door and continued to say, “Wait.”
If He never gives one single earthly blessing, will we still love Him, serve Him, trust Him, obey Him?
I wonder, how many Christian woman are out there, who have heard the same thing? After doing everything “God’s way” by waiting, not settling, serving Him with their singleness, how many are still waiting for their dreams of love to come true? They say, “Lord, I’ve served You with my life, now where is the payday promised?”
As I cried out to Him for a word for the girls, it hit me: God doesn’t “owe” me anything. When you gave your life to Jesus, did you do it to get blessings He would give? Or did you do it simply because He is worthy? Have you been serving Him for what you can get from Him, or for what your life can bring Him?
What is our purpose for serving Jesus Christ? Why do we love and obey Him? If it is because He is worthy, then He owes nothing and we owe Him everything. If He never gives one single earthly blessing, will we still love Him, serve Him, trust Him, obey Him?
So many of us confuse what serving God means. Surrender entails suffering, according to Jesus in Matthew 19. There is a cost. Anyone who thinks life in God is a fairytale, does not understand what it is to truly follow Him. Jesus lived no fairytale! He lived to die. He was a man acquainted with grief and sorrow. He endured great suffering, persecutions, slander, mockery, humiliation, false accusations, and all things contrary to the honor He so rightly deserved. And if we are to be His disciple, expect to experience a portion of what He went through.
Anyone who thinks life in God is a fairytale, does not understand what it is to truly follow Him.
Is it because He is a harsh God who only wants to make life miserable for us? No, it is because He wants above all else, our life to bring Him glory. God so lovingly knows that in the pain, He becomes real to His people. In the valleys, He becomes close. In the refining pot, we become gold. This is more important to Him, (and should be more important to us,) than getting what we want yet failing to gain the riches He has for us. These riches so often come only through suffering. Ask any mother who has been through travailing pain to bring forth her baby. Though the long hours of labor are anguishing, the product of her suffering brings only joy. And she could not have the joy of her precious child without enduring the pain first. (John 16:21)
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (Hebrews 12:11)
There will come a point in your life (if it hasn’t come already) when God will ask you to count the cost in following Him. Maybe you’ve realized through reading this that you have been serving Him for the wrong reasons. When you gave your love story to the Lord, perhaps you didn’t realize how difficult it would be, or what it would cost you. Maybe, like me, you’ve not experienced (yet) the fairytale type of story, even though you have done everything “right.” Others are getting what you have waited and longed to have, and you’re feeling that God has somehow forgotten about you. Know that He hasn’t! He loves you enough to allow you to enter into His rest. Take this season to draw near to Him in the fellowship of His sufferings, knowing that He longs to deepen not only your knowledge of Him, but your testimony to others.
Expect God to do far beyond all that you could ask or think, when your purpose for living goes beyond what He will do for you.
As I spoke to the girls one final time with all of this on my heart, I posed the question, “Why are you making a commitment to purity?” Is it for a good life? A perfect guy? A fairytale love story? If so, then you’re not making the commitment for the right reasons and you’ll find yourself disappointed when life isn’t always a fairytale. Do not wait for the blessings of God, without waiting just to simply bless God.
Take courage! He alone will turn even the darkest, loneliest seasons into the most precious, fruitful times of your life. Expect God to do far beyond all that you could ask or think, when your purpose for living goes beyond what He will do for you.