After struggling through a difficult divorce, Douglas went on with his life in the UK. Five thousand miles away in Guyana, a woman also suffered through a terrible divorce. Years later and from continents apart, they were brought to the same church service where God began to answer the sincere prayer both had been praying from the heart.
Douglas and Glenda's Answered Prayer
If God has a plan, nothing can stop him, as it says in Isaiah 46:10: "My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." (NIV)
I, Douglas, often have had a hard time believing that God's purpose includes me. A few years ago I was bluntly and wonderfully shown how wrong I was. Do you want to know why? I hope what I write here will be an encouragement to both Christian singles and those who feel they have failed God again and again.
In 2002, my wife of eight years asked me to move out. I refused and a year later she moved out and filed for divorce. In the same year the church I was attending imploded with leaders stepping down and many members of the congregation leaving in bitterness and despair. I couldn't carry on with my high pressure sales job, so I left that, moving out of our apartment and renting a tiny room in a friend’s house. My wife was gone, my church was in tatters, my children, my job, and my self-esteem were all seemingly gone.
Five thousand miles away in Guyana, a country at the top of South America, a woman was going through terrible times. Her husband had left her for another woman, and at church, he had been the minister. So amidst her pain she started praying with great faith for a new husband. She asked God for a man who had shared her experiences of divorce and loss, a man who had two children, a man with brown hair and green or blue eyes. People told her she should not be so specific in her request—that God would send her the right man. But she prayed for what she wanted anyway because she knew her Father loved her.
Years passed. The woman from Guyana came to the UK and started working as a nursery teacher a few miles away.
God Knew Anyway
The church that I attended started rebuilding with a focus on God. Even still, I was often filled with despair and failed to ask God for what I wanted. But God knew anyway. I wanted a woman full of fire and faith, with a passion for the Lord.
One day I started to share my faith with a group of women on the local bus. They invited me to their church, a place I had never been. I went with my friend Daniel just for the chance to visit another congregation of believers. There was a woman in bright red clothes dancing and praising the Lord in front of me. I remember saying to Daniel, "I wish I had some of her spirit." But I didn't think any more of it.
Then something strange happened. The minister asked if anyone wanted to come and share what the Lord had done for them. I felt an impulse which I can only attribute to the spirit compelling me to go and speak. (The minister later told me that they don’t normally let non-members speak because strangers off the street can say all kinds of things in the house of God.) I spoke about the last few years and the pain I had suffered, but also how the Lord had brought me through.
Afterward, a woman from the church started calling me and sending me encouraging Scriptures. You know how blind men can be. I just thought it was encouragement! One day the woman sent me a message that nearly made me drop the phone: "What would you think if the Lord told you I was your other half?"
Shocked, I sought advice and was told wisely to meet up with her and say I didn't know. When I did meet her we talked and talked. As we sat on a hill, suddenly the scales fell from the eyes of my heart and I knew the Lord wanted me to marry this woman I had only just met. I fought the feelings, but when the Lord wants you to do something, he is irresistible. I took her hand and said okay.
His Purpose Will Stand
Eighteen months later we traveled to Guyana and got married in Georgetown.
Glenda had been in that church the day I spoke—she was the woman dressed in red. The Lord had shown her that I was the man she had been praying for. How humbling to realize that you are an answered prayer for someone!
Things still aren't perfect. On my return to the UK my wife was refused a visa for seven months and we have only just been granted permission for her to return from Guyana. But even through this time our friendship has blossomed as we speak every night, possibly more than many married couples get the chance to!
I want to encourage you in a couple of things. God's will is utterly sovereign and he will do as he pleases. But it is not wrong to ask for things that he wants for you as well. I was given a beautiful, strong, passionate woman of God to be my friend and companion in the Lord, even though I did not believe. Our Father truly knows what we want before we ask. (Matthew 6:8)
My wife says we should ask for what we want: "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4 NIV). I agree, and yet the Lord was gracious enough to grant me that desire before I asked. But I advise you to ask!
Editor's Note: By the time this testimony was published, Douglas and Glenda were happily reunited in the UK.