(Continued from the last two days. Please visit our website at http://www.fcet.org/, if you did not get a chance to read them.)
The countdown was on. It was now July 7, 1992, and our marriage date was only 3 months, and 3 days off. What could go wrong? Everything! Things were so critical by this point — and we never even suspected — that God had to literally speak to me again — though he had spoken to me before about the fact that “confusion” would reign just before my marriage day (come to think of it, does not God know everything there is to know about us? — the fact that he warns us sometimes of impending danger means, “take heed!” The fact that he chooses *not* to warn us sometimes may mean that we “shouldn’t worry so much” about those things that “appear” to go wrong. I leave this for you as food for thought.)
About a week before our marriage, there was some stress. As a result of this stress, I became judgmental and critical of my girlfriend … what a mistake! This was “just the door” that the devil needed in order to “break in” to our wonderful, God-given, relationship! (Gads, it was serious!) My “good” (or should I say “bad”???) friend suggested to me that “maybe it wasn’t God’s will for me to get married to her! Now does not that sound familiar? I humbly confess, I was critical — that was the open door. Parents, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, neices and nephews, judgemental criticsm will open the door! This does not mean we do not “judge”. Jesus said to judge with “righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Yet we do so in such a way that we do not harbor resentment in our hearts. My own problem was that I was harboring some type of resentment in my heart. God could have, if he had wanted to, cleaned me out of that resentment at the same time that he poured out his father heart of love on me. But he chose to allow it to stay. It was, simply put, “not my time” at that time. But now, it was. God would use this last “fire” to clean me out of the resentment that was binding me and allowing me to be seduced by the enemy!
As soon as I heard that suggestion from my friend, I did the very thing that God has specifically told me some three months prior *not to do*: I began to seriously fast and pray! (See Monday’s article.) I was very “religious”, but a spirit of criticism “binds true religion” and makes it into a couterfeit. As much as I had wanted to avoid this, as much as I had possibly wanted to do what was right, because I was still “bound” in some area in my life, I had entered into the realm of the counterfeit. I was now on the devil’s side of the fence, and was doing his bidding — exactly what he wanted me to do: to question God’s will for me as concerned my beloved wife-to-be. Now the story gets worse, because after about 2 or 3 days of fasting and praying — and it is now exactly three days before our wedding — I make the “spiritual” decision to cancel our wedding, because I might be grieving God’s heart! “Perhaps … he wanted me to remain single for the rest of my life?!” I thought to myself. I couldn’t take the chance that I might do something that was not pleasing to him, so I cancelled the wedding! I was indeed … very confused!!! (See Tuesday’s article.)
Remember the significant “three threes”? (See Monday’s article.) It was now exactly three months since the word had been given: it was October 7, 1992. That was the very day that I cancelled the wedding! God’s word is true! (Threes can be, and are, very significant in Scripture.) There are now … three more days until the wedding! But will it even take place? Is all lost by this time? My wife and I — painfully, and under the supervision of a minister friend and his wife — called up about 30 percent of the approximate 140 people that we had invited to the wedding, to tell them it was off! Some immediately took it to prayer, and “believed” that it was not off (praise God for them!). A few doubted: “Well, it is off. I suspected this was not meant to be,” was their resolve — though they might not have immediately said that. About 70% of the people we could not contact — including those who were “en route” as well as the caterer, etc … and we resolved to try and contact them the next day. It was very late now, and we went our separate ways. My “wife to be” gave me the engagement ring that months before we had joyfully bought at a jeweller together. She was torn and tormented.
That night, I knelt down by my bedside to pray — it was now about 11:15 pm. — and I did not have peace — oddly enough, God did *not* give me this *same feeling* days before cancelling the wedding, as it would lead to his “greater glory” (God allowing bad to happen, though he is not the author of it, so that, in the end, good may prevail — be encouraged! — this also shows that God was in control, and that it was “the right time” to call John up). So I called up … who? I called up my pastor friend, John Woodward (bless his soul, he was there!). Now John has the gift of wisdom, and it is a far better gift than the gift of miracles or healing or prophecy or tongues, in my opinion. For it can get you out of a pickle when you need it the most … and the gift of miracles or healing or prophecy or tongues may not be able to do that! John was very patient and gracious with me. We spent the next two hours on the phone together. Because of John’s experience, as well as gifting, he was able to ‘spot the deception’ and point it out to me. Remember, I was sincere. But I was sincerely mistaken! I was in love with God. I was doing my best. But I was deceived and needed help. People are like that. Many are doing their best to serve “their God” but “their God” is not the God of the Bible! (We are all in that same boat to a certain extent, as we come to understand God “more and more” and be freed from our deceptions.) John was the help I needed. He was God’s help. Remember, he was the very one that God had spoken to me about exactly three months prior, on July 7, 1992, when he said: “You need to get a few things cleared up. No serious fasting or anything, but you need to speak with John.”
John cleared up the confusion — that spirit of confusion that was in my midst — and here is how he did it. He explained to me a very simple principle based on God’s word about God’s character! (This is one of the reasons why character development is so important in the Christian life.) John said, to the effect, “For the last ten months that you have renewed your friendship with Mary, have you had peace about the relationship. Have you gone to bed worrying about it, or thinking that it was not God’s will?” “No,” I replied. “And yet you have always sought to serve God throughout this time and do what was pleasing in his sight.” That was true. I had sought to serve God and do my best for him. I had always thought that I was “right on” when it came to our relationship — I had no reason to doubt! Then John explained that for God to “suddenly” change his mind days before the wedding when for ten months there was no reason to doubt was *not* in keeping with his character! God was stable, not wavering! It turns out that this was “one more deception” which God chose to wait to now to “clear up” — and just as soon as it was cleared up, and after we had prayed together and I had hung up, I picked up the phone to call Mary and tell her what I had learned from John. “Honey, I was wrong,” I said. “I goofed!” Will you forgive me?”
Because she is so forgiving, she immediately said, “Yes!” and in three days, we were married! A week later, a close friend of ours said to us, “You know, on the day of your wedding, I had a dream. In the dream, the forces of good were fighting against the forces of evil. They were portrayed as RCMP police and the enemy shooting at each other and hiding and ducking behind trees. Then the good side won, and there was great applause in heaven!”