The Proverb writer declared, "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD." Proverbs 18:22. When I found Erma I found a good thing, and the LORD has highly favored me! For me it is just simple enough for us to believe what God said. In this article I just want to share some of what I have learned through our relationship and perhaps be a blessing to someone. When the proverb says “Whoso findeth...” one could think that means a man should go about looking for a wife. I believe there is a better way revealed here.
The Psalmist said, "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him." Psalm 62:5. We are not to go about seeking a wife or husband. We are to go about seeking God. That person who seeks a wife will be looking for “the one” they consider the right choice. Israel did that when seeking a King and God gave them what they were looking for. He often gives us our desires and then sends leanness to our souls. (Psalm 106:15) The Israelites were seeking a king based on outward appearance. (1 Samuel 12:13) God wants us to look deeper. (1 Samuel 16:7) He desires a closer walk with Himself! "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Psalm 37:4 (Psalm 37:4 and see Isaiah 58:14) When we walk with Him his desires become ours.
Erma showed up along my path. I had given up on finding “the one” and resigned myself to remain single. Then God designed the very thing that would bring Erma and me into the same circle. A very wise man taught me years later how to express what happened to us. He said, “If God wants you to marry, you will find the wife (or husband) God has for you in the midst of your ministering to others.” When he said that it was like he was telling our story.
Next notice with me that “Who findeth...findeth a good thing.” Now we will not play with the words. A good thing means...a good person or one who is suitable for me and marriage is a good thing, and life is good. Some of the best things in life are found when we are not looking for them. I remember numerous friends who knew Erma before I did. When they learned that I would be teaching at her church they kept saying, when you go there you will meet Erma. It seemed as if it would be impossible for me to go to her church without meeting her. If that were not enough, her pastor's wife blocked my path as I prepared to leave with the express purpose of introducing me to Erma. Even before I got to know her personally I was bombarded by these friends playing match-maker. One couple planned a get together and said to me, “We're having a party at our house, why don't you come and bring Erma.” Even the Evangelist at their Revival meeting knew us both and from the pulpit declared, “Mike is that you I see sitting over there with Erma, she is a good catch.”
Not to lift her up too much, let me suffice to say that Erma was busy in the midst of ministering when I met her. And that made her eminently attractive to me. You can't go wrong if you involve yourself in ministry and find someone doing the same. It doesn't have to be full-time ministry as was mine. Erma was doing voluntary ministry and was absorbed in and enjoying every minute of it! God brought into my path the very one He picked for me. And there has never been any doubt in my mind that this one is “the one” for me.
Can I do you a little favor and encourage you to seek the “favour of the LORD.” Here are the principles I see in my finding Erma:
1. Do not seek a mate- seek only a deeper relationship with God.
2. Resign yourself to let God decide when and if to bring your mate into your path of ministry.
3. Make certain you continue in your ministry and that your potential mate has the same ministry mind-set you have.
4. Rejoice in and share your story of God's work in your life.
5. Commit yourself to remain faithful until death should God bring someone to you.
I Love You, Erma Ruth McDonald Thornton, on our way to forever together. You are my perfect match. God is still teaching me today in our relationship even though in some things I may be a bit of a slow learner. O Magnify the LORD with me!