Milk and Honey

When I was fresh out of college and a relatively new Christian, I spent the summer working at a presbyterian church with the youth ministry. I had a lot of respect for the pastor and his wife, and it was a profitable summer in many ways. One of the leaders of the team was an unmarried man a few years older than I was, and though he was fine to work with, I had no interest in him beyond that. One day the pastor took me aside and asked me what my ideal man was like. I was very much surprised by the question and gave a vague answer. He asked me if my ideal man was tall? Yes, I assumed he would be tall. But what if God wanted me to marry a short man, the pastor asked me. All this was of course leading up to the question about this particular unmarried man who was quite a bit shorter than I. I cringed. Would God want me to marry this man? Yikes, I thought. And there was far more involved in my mind that simply his height. A few days later the pastor’s wife took me aside and told me she thought I would make this particular guy a very good wife. Now these were both people I respected and looked up to, and I was not a mature Christian myself. I began to really feel sick to my stomach. Would God really do this to me? I tried to imagine myself walking up the aisle to this guy, and I would simultaneously want to cry and throw up. And of course I had the haunting question: Am I refusing to do what God wants me to do? About this time the man in question began to ask me to do things with him. I steadfastly refused. Two things happened that got me squared away. First, I told my parents about the situation. Unknown to me, my very wise father called the pastor and told him to knock it off. Secondly, I visited with a wonderful older (by a few years) unmarried woman who was a speaker at Intervarsity conferences, Becky Manley (she was later Becky Manley Pippert). She helped me sort this out in a remarkable way. She said something like this: God wants milk and honey for you, not bread and water. Hold out for the good stuff. In other words, He is giving you good gifts. If you would have to be tied and gagged to marry that man, then he is not milk and honey. Maybe he is for someone else. That’s fine. But not for you. What a tremendous relief that was (and still is). She really set me straight and I have never forgotten it.

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3 thoughts on “Milk and Honey

  1. Sometimes it’s even ourselves that He protects us from. Back in the days when I didn’t know any better than to let myself develop one wild crush after another, there were a couple guys I was sure would have been The One. Now of course it is crystal clear that they weren’t, and in each case, I am extremely grateful that the Lord didn’t let me have my way. Even though I’m still unwantedly single, my life is so much more milk-and-honeyish today than it would have been if I’d settled for the wrong one.

  2. That’s funny! For the ridiculously short number of years before I met Ben, I never once thought I’d find a man that met up to my expectations, and therefore never thought I’d get married. Once a friend of mine and I wrote out the top 100 things we wanted in a husband. Ben meets 99 of those (no 1965 convertible fiat, but I’ve since changed my mind about that, so I give him double points for having blue eyes!)

  3. Until I was completely knocked off my feet at how deliriously wonderful being married to my husband is I never really thought about being happy and God wanting to give me the milk and honey. I still struggle with it at times, but God has used my marriage to show me how He really feels. Thank you so much for the reminder.

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