Several months ago, I met a very kind, godly man. My attraction was instant and my emotions soon followed in a way that was both intense and unlike any other crush or interest I've had before. Since then, we've maintained a friendship and I've come to know more about him. Time, revealed weakness, and unfulfilled expectations has not dampened my longing, neither have I felt led of the Lord to repent of my feelings or give up on the hope that this friend will one day be more. Quite the contrary, actually...which is both scary and exciting.
Very early on, well meaning friends have suggested that I be open and honest about my feelings and lay my cards on the table, so to speak. But before those suggestions were put before me, I knew that was not an option. It is not that I don't want to know - I DO, and it isn't so much that I am afraid of rejection - though that is a prospect I am not excited about; my resolve to remain silent about my affection is because I simply do not believe it to be God's will.
My resolve has been met with many examples of love stories that may have never been had the woman not clued the guy in to her feelings. "Men are just clueless" is the common refrain I hear.
But are they, really? And, does it really matter?
Most women seem to think so. And, I can tell you that at times it does seem like my friend just has no clue what he means to me. But it could be that "clueless" is just easier to swallow than "disinterest." I just can't escape the possibility that it isn't so much about him not getting it as it is about him just not being that into me...not feeling what I am feeling or seeing what I'm seeing. If he were looking for it, he'd see, is my arguement.
But women, apparently, aren't the only one's who think men need a large, anvil shaped clue sometimes. I recently heard a song by Chris Rice named "When did you Fall?" which talks about the moment he suddenly realized that his friend (who is now his wife) was in love with him. The song chronicles outings and talks and lots of time spent together and just how oblivious he was to her feelings. So, it would appear even men think they need a little help in the love department. BUT, what the song does not include is the woman putting her feelings before the man. The revelation was internal in him; something got flipped on and he could see the difference in her, the look in her eye and he just knew her feelings and then he KNEW his.
Even the creation story seems to indicate man's need for strong guidance and help when it comes to finding a suitable mate. Before Eve was created, Adam was presented with every creature on the planet. He knew that none of them would work, but he had no clue what would. In His mercy, the Lord put him to sleep, created Eve and presented her to Him...and so that there would be no mistake, she was alone, looking at him...and nude. The Lord made it as clear as possible...but there were no words - none from God and none from Eve. She simply stood where she was placed and waited for Adam to know what was plainly evident to everyone else in Eden. Not because Eve explained it to him. Not because Eve first expressed her feelings but because it was clear that the Lord had done this. It was God who prepared and then enlightened Adam.
This is the way I want my story to go, too.
I realize men need help. I realize they aren't always as sensitive to the implied and those subtle nuances that we seem to see in everything. I realize that there is a chance that if I never say a word of my feelings to my friend, he will remain just that...and only that. But I would have to conclude only that it is the Lord's will for it to be so. I can conclude nothing else because God is sovereign and good and none of His good purposes and promises fail...ever.
But there is something else at work here, too. Something that women generally don't talk about when they are detailing the helplessness of men in the ways of love. Our sin nature. It is our way to naturally want to do the opposite of that which we were created to do. We are created to glorify the Lord - yet we constantly strain to glorify ourselves. Men were created to lead and exemplify the Love Christ has for the church - so most tend to struggle with either wanting to be LORD themselves or not wanting to lead at all. Women are meant to be led, to trust those who lead - so most tend to take the lead and distrust and fight against those who won't do things their way. We can again go back to Eden to see a clear picture of this.
I see Eve and the serpent. They are at the tree. The forbidden tree. Both Adam and Eve were told not to eat of the tree, which was at the center of the garden. But it would appear that Eve thought she knew better. I imagine she'd made many visits to the forbidden tree before she met the serpent. She was drawn to that which was being denied her. She longed for what she could not have. She thought she knew better. So she casually walked by the tree. She looked at the fruit. She could smell it's aroma. She could almost taste it. Then the serpent bid her to touch and taste for real...and she did. And gave some to Adam, too.
The fact that the fault of the fall is laid at Adam's feet, I think, really drives home the
point and purpose and perfection of God's order in the male/female relationship. Adam had obviously not protected and led Eve and kept her from hanging out around the forbidden tree. So, in his weakness, Eve took the lead and led them to the tree...to the serpent...to the fall. His failure put them both in jeopardy and led to the fall of man...and we continue to suffer the consequences to this day.
The current state of my lack of love life could very well be due to some weakness in the man my affections are set on, but I do not believe that me taking the lead is the solution. God set this in motion, and before my friend and I were even a created He set forth an order and a plan designed to bring Him glory. To step outside of that, to seek to know what is at this time hidden, to express feelings because I can or somehow think they might get me what I want sooner is to sin against God - to sin like Eve - and would not help my friend lead (if this is his difficulty). It is also to assume that I somehow know what is going on in his heart and head. I don't. But God does. And, if it is His will, and when both of us have been sufficiently prepared, I believe the Lord will awaken my friend like He did Adam and Chris Rice and countless other men and I won't have to explain a thing because we will both know and feel...as it was meant to be. And, if it doesn't happen this way, though I grieve I will praise Him for His mercy and kindness in keeping me from pursuing that which was not His will for my life, for He is kind in both His gifts and His denials.
In the meantime, I pray...and that is more powerful than any word or action, not because it compels the Lord to do something He might otherwise not but because it changes me and strengthens me to stand where the Lord has placed me and wait on Him to move. I can do nothing else because - though he be clueless or just not intested - the clearest truth is I just don't know, but I know whom I have believed and that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him...and that which He has committed unto me. None of His good plans or promises will fail. He has led and He will lead me to pleasant places and green pastures...where He alone will recieve all the glory and praise.