I remember distinctly the earthquake that rocked my heart as a college sophomore when I saw the guy that I had a gigantic crush on at a soccer game—with a girl. It was a moment that left me reeling for the next few weeks.
It had been over a year since I had first arrived at college, and while I had no delusions that I would meet my future husband there, it was the first time I had ever been around more than a handful of guys my age, and I couldn’t help looking around. It was all excitement as I noticed guys everywhere that were attractive in one way or another.
But the excitement quickly wore off. Within just a few weeks, the girl (who was not at college to find a spouse 😂) was feeling quite discouraged because out of all the guys she had met or observed, not one of them had the kind of heart she was looking for.
It was in that moment of deep despair that I happened to look up, and there, standing before me, an aquaintance of a mere few weeks’ time (whose appearance had never been striking before), suddenly appeared in a new light. The epiphany dawned: this was a man I could marry. (If it seems a little melodramatic, it was.) And from that point on, I was quite taken with him, so much so that I had zero interest in any of the guys who were actually interested in me.
So, naturally, that night at the soccer game came as a substantial blow. The sight of this particular guy with a girl could mean only one thing—they were sure to get married!
I left that soccer game aching inside. It seems silly now, but it was a significant loss to me then. And in my grief, I turned to the only One who knew my pain: the Lord.
It was a day or two after the soccer game that I found a free hour between classes and, taking refuge in my dorm’s study lounge, I talked with the Lord about what was going on and opened my Bible to read.
As I was reading, I came across this verse in Psalms:
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in His temple,” (Psalm 27:4).
The part of the verse that really captured my attention was the phrase “to behold the beauty of the LORD.” I had known God to some degree for the majority of my life, and there were many ways I might have described Him–powerful, loving, good, righteous, holy, etc.–but for whatever the reason, it had never occurred to me before that God might be beautiful.
I found this sudden knowledge of the fact of God’s beauty both fascinating and exhiliarating. It filled me with the same longing that the psalmist had to pursue one thing above all else–dwelling with the Lord and beholding His beauty.
It was a particularly helpful verse in light of my recent disappointment. The sadness that I felt went deep, far deeper than could really be attritubed to a crush on a guy that was little more than an aquaintance. He was just the face I put to a longing woven so deeply into the fabric of my being that I could never escape it. I wanted to know and to be known, to love and to be loved—always. And my dissapointment revealed my heart—I had looked to my own elusive dreams to answer that deep longing.
But the LORD was opening my eyes to a greater destiny. He was teaching me that He is better than the best that life on earth has to offer. It’s not that marriage or men are inherently bad. Of course not. God created them both for good (even if sin has often spoiled the good creations of God). It’s just that these small gifts pale in comparison to the greatest gift of all—the LORD Himself.
Psalm 27:4 made the choice clear for me. If, hypothetically, I could only have one thing in life, I knew what I wanted it to be. As much as I had always longed to be married, I wanted the LORD more. And, like the psalmist, I was determined to seek Him and dwell with Him and gaze at His all-satisfying beauty forever.
The Lord used this unpleasant experience that I had as a sophomore in college for great good in my life. Since then I have known that whatever pain or loss I face is an invitation to burrow into the all-sufficient character of God. If I am lost, He will lead me like a Shepherd. If I am weak, He will carry me. If am lonely, He will not leave me. If I am poor, He will provide. If I am sad, He will comfort me. If I am unwanted, He will remind me: He laid down His life to make me His. And if I am unloved, He will tell me a thousand times—His love is deep and strong and everlasting. Every need is richly met in Him.
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you,’ (Psalm 63:3).