Stirring Experiences: 4. How I Escaped Marrying the Wrong Girl
Marriage with many is a lottery, and few believe that one can be as positive of God's leadings in matrimonial matters as in other things. As a result many leap into love affairs blindly, trusting that everything will be all right.
Some seem to think the fact that they love a certain individual is in itself evidence that God is in it all. This is a seriously mistaken idea. I want to assure my reader that he can be as clear in Divine leadings in love affairs as he can in his salvation. That you love some one is positively no evidence that God is in it; for often an individual's apparent first love is only sentimentalism or sex appeal. Genuine love is; entirely over, above, and beyond sex attractions, and reaches its highest sense of satisfaction only in the fond and affectionate associations of life.
The very fact that thousands of others have loved and married the wrong person, then later on sought a divorce, is evidence in itself that you, too, can blindly put your foot in the same trap. Do not imagine yourself immune or incapable of a serious mistake here. In my early years of zeal without knowledge, God in mercy prevented me from marrying the wrong girl. Although she was a beautiful Christian character, yet she was not God's choice for me, and it abundantly paid me to wait. Never consent to marry in a hurry. If the Lord is in it you will have plenty of time to pray and get God's leadings; and unless you can pray through and get God's sanction on your marrying a certain person, you had better stay single all of your life.
It seems to be a special trick and delight of Satan to get people mated wrong for life; then he succeeds in blasting and wrecking two lives. Not only are those two lives lost, but all the good that might have been accomplished for the kingdom of Jesus Christ is also lost with their influence for righteousness.
Some say love is blind. I do not believe that statement. Silly "puppy love" may be blind, but genuine love loves with both eyes wide open. It loves because it sees something worth while to love and admire.
My love for Evangeline was not love at first sight, but became a growing factor in my life. I first admired her because of what she was. I saw her intrinsic worth and value to the cause of Christ and to me. As I became more closely associated with her, I was compelled to admire her sweet spirit and noble character. I was soon brought to recognize that she was a jewel, and my love was more forcibly attracted to her. Months after we began keeping company, I refused to allow myself to propose to her until I had prayed through and the Lord assured my heart that she was His choice for me.
The night I asked her to be mine, she did not accept my proposal, and it was not until two weeks later that she gave me her promise. I suppose if she had proposed to me, as so many girls do to their gentlemen friends today, that her name never would have been Surbrook. But nothing in the realm of love was any farther from her refined taste, or more repulsive to her cultured feelings, than that thing. She possessed very high ideals and a keen sense of righteousness and honor.
From the moment God assured my heart that Evangeline was to be mine, I never had a doubt as to His will for me all through our courtship and eighteen months of married life. Neither have I had the slightest regret that I married her; and even now since she is gone, I am just as sure that I married her in the will of God. My only regrets now are that I was not a greater blessing to her and that she so quickly slipped away.
Evangeline was not only an affectionate wife, but a precious sweetheart and loving companion. Her sweet disposition, cheery voice and smiling presence were the sunshine of our home. The very fact that I am positively sure God gave her to me, with all her talents and training which so fitted into my life's calling, has made it doubly hard to give her up, and difficult now to understand why God took her away.
Many times in the past have I thoughtlessly quoted Rom. 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." But I must confess I have never known what it meant, and even now I am yet too closely under the shadow of my great sorrow and loss to comprehend what it means.
After Job's home had been robbed by death he did not complain, but said, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." How often in adversity have I quoted Job, but knew absolutely nothing of what he was speaking. In my heart I do not find the slightest trace or resentment or rebellion against God. His grace has given me a feeling of perfect resignation, although I do not yet see the reason for this dispensation of sorrow.