Of late, I haven’t been able to sleep well. We didn’t have school yet because of the NCov outbreak in Vietnam so we were just asked to stay at home for two weeks after Tet Holiday. I usually sleep late after Netflixing. But then again, after only an hour or two, I will wake up again and couldn’t go back to sleep anymore.
I don’t know maybe I have been thinking subconsciously about my current situation. You see, I am in a dating relationship with this guy from another religious sect. He is a believer of Jesus but we don’t have the same religion and that’s what’s stressing me out. Every time my church friends will ask me about him, I always feel pressured to ask him to ”convert” to my religion.
Yeah, I know. Even the term that I used is inappropriate. I just felt pressured and stressed. I even asked God why would He let me meet this person and be in this complicated situation. From the world’s view, this isn’t a complex one. People might even say, just enjoy and when You get married, just marry twice so both of you can marry on both of your churches.
But that’s not how it goes for me. You see, I value my relationship with Jesus so much and I don’t want to compromise my faith and standards. I always say I want to marry a guy who has a relationship with God and who is responsible and a good provider.
Then one day, my sister told me that you didn’t put a specific quality there. She said I just put there a guy with a relationship with God and God answered that becuse this guy I’m dating has a relationship with God. He is even a devotee of Nazareno. He is a provider and very responsible especially when it comes to his work. So clearly, God answered my prayers for a man. Only that, I view it with complexities because he is not a “Christian.”
Before we started dating, I laid down all my standards to him and told him I will not have a relationship with someone who doesn’t share the same faith with me. With faith, I meant religion. He said he is willing. So when we met, he even attended the church service with me. Whenever I’m home, we would go to the church together.
But then the pressure to actually plugged him to the church comes whenever my friends would ask me about him. And I let these come to me. I even thought about ending it with him just because I don’t want to be pressured anymore.
So one saturday, I asked him what’s his plans are. If he is still willing to ”convert to my religion.” He said he stays true to what he told me before but I should not pressure or rush him. He said if I really believe in God, I should let God do His will and not manipulate the situation. I asked him if he thinks I’m doing it for myself. And his answer was a crisp ”yes.”
And it struck me.
All along I thought I’m concerned about his salvation, his relationship with Jesus. In his three-letter answer, I was rebuked and had a heart-check and I realized that I’m pressuring him to convert because I don’t wanna deal with the pressures around me anymore.
And it was life-changing.
Then the next day, God showed me the parable of the landowner.
“For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.‘‘ It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God‘‘s mercy” (Romans 9:15-16). In the matter of salvation, His grace and mercy are given to those whose self-righteous works could never obtain it. We are all sinful and “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), but His grace is sufficient to redeem all who believe. Whether God calls someone early or late in life to partake of His grace, the glory and praise for our salvation is His and His alone and in no way amounts to unfairness. Just as the landowner has a right to do what he wishes with his own money, so does God have the right to have mercy on whom He will have mercy.
It is like God telling me to not stress myself with changing this man because it is by His grace that this man will be saved. All by His grace and His timing. I should not pressure myself with my own timeline but trust in the timeline of God.
I prayed and fasted for three days after that. And in all those days, that’s what God’s been telling me. His grace. His mercy. Not my own works. I should trust God more.
And today, my last day of prayer and fasting, God showed me this:
Because you did not trust me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
I cried after I read this and while talking to God. I thanked Him for rebuking me, for exposing my heart enough, for letting me hear Him. I was really in so much awe. Now, I have peace that He is in the works. I should just trust His timing.