Are You The One For Me?
Genesis 2 : 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
It’s easy to get caught up with emotions, especially when you’re young. Yes, we are emotional beings and it’s good to respond and listen to what we feel. But like everything else, there are healthy boundaries that we need to set – especially about ‘matters of the heart’.
One of the questions a lot of young singles ask is “How do I know when it’s time to get into a romantic relationship?” Well, it really depends on so many factors.
One of which is whether we’re ready or not. But how does one know whether he or she is ready? Hopefully the first question we’ll look into will help us find the wisdom we need.
Will my relationship with this person forward God’s mission?
Life is Work
All of us have a mission in life. The first thing that God gave Adam in the Garden of Eden was work. Indeed, life is all about work. Young people study hard and do their best in school dreaming of someday landing a good job. Life and living is all about work and the contribution we make in this life through what we do for a living. For the hopeless romantics out there, I hate to burst your bubble, but like it or not when the thrill and novelty of a relationship disappears and the emotions are gone, it’s our life’s mission that will help carry us through.
So before we try to answer the question on whether this or that person will help us forward God’s mission, the first important question is, do we have a mission in life to begin with? This point is especially important for the men, the appointed leaders of the family. A lot of guys get into relationships thinking that their partner will give them the direction they need. But without a direction and mission to start with, everything will go haywire. It’s our calling that gives us purpose for living. We need to remember that physical attractiveness and honeymoon romance won’t last, but purpose and commitment grow deeper and stronger. The mission and the person are inseparable. A clear understanding of our life’s mission and purpose is vital for any future relationship to succeed.
When the relationship is geared towards the mission that God has given us, then every difficulty will serve as a stepping-‐stone. Our hardships will bring out the best in us, making us better people filled with deeper love, patience, and compassion.
A Story of Love and Mission
One of the most well known Christian devotional books is “Streams In The Desert”. People going through intense spiritual struggles and inner pain find solace in the comforting words on its pages. Many think that the author is a man named Charles. As the real author, she humbly allowed herself to be obscured by her husband, and put the name Mrs. Charles Cowman on the cover. Her real name was Lettie B. Cowman.
Charles and Lettie Cowman were missionaries to Japan and were one of the founders of the Oriental Missionary Society (OMS). Writing on how they devoted their lives in reaching the Japanese people with the Gospel, one article narrates:
Lettie had married Charles Cowman in 1889, and five years into their marriage they responded to a call to world missions issued by A. B. Simpson in the Moody Church in Chicago. The couple served in Japan from 1901 to 1917, leading a remarkable evangelistic campaign that focused on distributing literature to every household and training indigenous Christian workers. Charles was a visionary, a gifted administrator, and an inspiring leader. Overwhelmed with the evangelistic success of his mission, Charles worked himself to a complete physical collapse. He and Lettie returned to the USA, settling in Los Angeles, where Charles died after a six-‐year period of sickness and decline.
It was during these six years that Lettie experienced the suffering that every reader of Streams in the Desert recognizes. For one thing, there was the great physical pain that Charles endured in his decline. But equally difficult was the enforced retirement that both Charles and Lettie were subjected to: The Cowmans were habitually busy people, with a lot of energy and a love for accomplishments. Holding still for six years was unimaginably hard and absolutely necessary. 1
The years before Charles’ death would prove to be very arduous and hard as Lettie tried to nurse him back to health as well as face the increasing demands of the ministry. Their moments of refreshing and relief would come during their times of prayer and devotions together. Lettie would choose a verse of Scripture and select passages and quotes from their favorite Christian devotional writers. She would read them to Charles and they would meditate together and afterwards enter into extended times of prayer and intercession for the work in Asia. These periods of intimate fellowship with God brought them even closer to each other, even as it kept the burden for missions intensely burning in their hearts.
When Charles died in September 1924, Lettie found a note in her Bible from Charles saying that she needed to ‘continue the work’ that they began together. Lettie knew that on her own she couldn’t do it. Charles had always been the leader and visionary. She simply supported and helped her husband in the calling that the Lord gave him. What was she to do now? Drawing on the deepened faith and burden kindled during those especially difficult years, Lettie found the strength to continue her husband’s missionary work. She became President of the Oriental Missionary Society and served at the helm of that ministry for more than twenty years. The work flourished and thrived under her leadership.
The compilation of all the articles, quotes, verses of Scripture, along with her heartfelt musings and meditations during those trying years, were compiled and eventually became the wonderful and precious devotional we know. God used their love and union, pain and despair to bring forth refreshing streams of comfort and grace for everyone going through their own desert experience. Indeed when we understand what our mission is, love can be the most powerful, purposeful, and magnificent thing there is.
Genesis 2: 18
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Proverbs 31 : 10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
1“Today is Lettie Cowman’s Birthday” by Fred Sanders,