One day a coworker and I dis cussed how God answers cer tain prayers and wishes. As I listened, she said, "In my teenage years I prayed to God to give me a husband to follow." She continued, "And following was just what I did. He always walked ahead of me, and I followed behind."
The divorced mother of five children said, "I guess I rushed into things immaturely, for I wanted my parents off my back. I realize I did not ask God in the right way for the right thing. I should have asked for a husband to walk be side me and love me."
Often it is said, "Be careful what you ask of God. He might give it to you." Whether or not people possess the right conception of God and the right prayer motive depends on each individual.
From a very young age I dreamed and prayed that I would become a missionary in Africa, and the wife of a minister who truly loves the Lord. I continued to claim God's promise "What thingssoever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).
As I shared my hopes with some friends, they did not believe it possible. All they could say was "You can't even sing or play the piano. What help can you be to a pastor?" Though I did not possess such talents, I did choose to believe in God's promises. I knew God could fulfill them for me.
In 1980, at the completion of my studies, and with much prayer for the Lord's guidance, I felt the urge to talk with the conference president. As we discussed the possibilities of being a missionary, a desperate phone call from the General Conference interrupted: "We need a French-speaking secretary in West Africa immediately. Can you help us?" My heart rejoiced, Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
Upon returning from Africa, I attend ed Oakwood College. I searched, waited, and prayed. I wondered often about the desires of my heart. One night I talked to God as a close friend about the matter. I told God how disappoint ed I was with the different young men coming my way. I foresaw problems in committing myself to a serious relationship. I told Him that I knew it was not His will for His children to marry individuals whom we know will not make us happy. I placed the physical appearance, educational achievements, and spiritual aspects with God.
I fell asleep feeling sad. Yet I woke up feeling great. A friend rushed to my room: "Steph, go canvassing with us. Our leader is Howard Weems, a nice spiritual guy." I recall telling her, "I don't want to go! Whether his name is Howard Weems, Beams, or Deems, I'm not interested." She left my room looking sad. Moments later the still, peaceful voice of the Holy Spirit convinced me to go. To my amazement, I learned that Howard Weems not only was a literature evangelist, but also was studying to become a minister.
My dreams and prayers came into focus. God revealed to me that when I first asked for a minister husband, Howard Weems had not made his commitment to God. God is so good! He planned the details of my request, choosing the right individual with the proper requirements. God wanted me to learn that it is He who made the promise to give, and my part was to ask, believe, and patiently wait.
After 10 years of marriage I still thank God for considering my prayers. I recently asked my husband, "Are you happily married?" He confirmed, "God has blessed me with the desires of my heart."
Are we perfect? No! We engage in disagreements, but these do not over ride or cause us not to appreciate that God has given us each other.
Howard my true friend. We confide in each other our secrets, feelings, and emotions. He has created time for us despite his responsibilities. He pays attention to me when in need of a listening ear. When the inner child within often comes out, we play, exercise, and laugh with each other. He draws me close, and we reminisce about almost everything.
Howard a devoted husband. He continues to show love, respect, and commitment. He treats me as a woman. He shows much interest in and understanding of my femininity. He re members special occasions. He is concerned with the health of the family. We share the household duties equally, for I believe he acknowledges that we must work together as "help meet" and not as "just help me."
Howard a committed pastor. He recognizes his own spiritual need and takes time to meditate daily on the Word of God. He also cares for the family's spiritual need. Whatever mes sage he feeds the church family, the same goes for his family. To that effect I know he practices what he preaches. His favorite saying is "God is so good!"
Amazing, God remains the same in His dealings with one generation of people to another. "Ask and believe." I believe that we all receive from God depending on the type of relationship we have with Him. However, many times without realizing it, we set limits on God's capabilities with our doubts. Receiving what we ask depends also on when and for how long we want it. Should we ask God only for things to satisfy our instant self-gratifications, or should we also ask God for our long-term needs and desires?