In a basement room of the on-campus chapel, chairs were arranged in a circle for an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship meeting. As announcements started, we heard clicking on the stone hallway floor. Then Brad, my future husband, appeared in the doorway, wearing metal cleats, red running shorts and a t-shirt, fresh from ultimate frisbee practice. To my surprise, he crossed the room to sit beside me.
After the next meeting, while the group socialized outside on the chapel steps, Brad opened a bag of Starbursts, and went around giving out candy and learning people’s names. Following almost every meeting after that, Brad walked home with me. I assumed he lived on my street.
A few months later, our whole group gathered at a retreat in the countryside. Memories from that retreat include:
- A girl I was mentoring telling me she thought Brad was interested in her. To which I replied, “Oh, I think he’s the kind of guy who is nice to everyone.”
- Our speaker, a Nigerian named Joe O., telling us that marrying a Christian during university would help us to follow the Lord life-long.
- Brad asking a small group of people if they liked to eat squid. Having eaten calamari once, I answered, yes.
A few days after we returned to university, Brad called and asked me to dinner. I said no, since I had promised to go home that weekend, but suggested we try the following Friday. Friday came and Brad called to say he would be late, since his mother was in town. This seemed an unlikely excuse to me, so I began coaching myself to think of this relationship as a friendship. I used the unexpected time to visit Ms. Wideman, an elderly, single lady I knew. I told her about the delayed date and she said, “Men are so unreliable.” I laughed and lowered my expectations.
Soon after I returned to my dorm, the receptionist called to let me know Brad had arrived. I gave permission for him to come up. When he arrived, he was wearing a tan corduroy suit jacket with leather elbow patches. I steadied myself with the door handle as my knees melted. We walked down Broadway to Aesop’s Fables, a Greek restaurant about ten blocks away. Brad asked me what I dreamed about. I told him without any editing. We ordered squid, and were so absorbed in talking that dinner took a long time, although it felt like only a few minutes. On the way back to my dorm, we stopped to say hello to Brad’s mother, who truly was listening to a friend of hers play in a jazz band at the West End Lounge.
We said good-bye and thank you on the steps of my dorm. The next morning, I found a hand-written note in my mailbox, which said, “It is amazing to have your highest expectations exceeded.”
The Christian Bible describes God as a loving, wooing bridegroom. Like Brad pursued me, God pursues us, actively reaching out for us, seeking to win our hearts. He takes the initiative.
- “Therefore, behold, I will allure her…and speak kindly to her…It will come about in that day, declares the Lord, that you will call me ‘my husband’…I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord.”
- “I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
- “We love him, because he first loved us.”
Application: Dear friend, you have a calling far more important than your career. God calls you into loving relationship with him. Weary friend, God longs to speak kindly and listen attentively to you, to set a feast before you, to love you forever. His love will exceed your highest expectations.
How has the love of other people helped you understand God’s love? How has disappointment with human love made you long for a more perfect relationship?