Youth Messenger Online Edition

July-September

God’s Timing is Perfect
God’s Timing is Perfect
Marta Balbach

Have you ever felt that you wanted to be loved by someone else besides your family? Just like every other human being, I also found myself having this desire to be loved or at least noticed by someone else besides my parents and siblings. I believe we all experience this need at different stages of our life.

I was raised in a loving and protective family, and I had strong morals at a young age. Since I wasn’t raised in the church, my early years went by without me knowing anything about God. When I was ten years old, I attended church for the first time and participated in a youth program. My whole world changed that day; I felt that I had found my happy place—a place where I could belong. Actually, I didn’t care to attend school events, or parties and amusements. I didn’t hang out with friends because, besides school, we had no common interests. I continued to attend church first with my dad, and later my little sister joined us also. When I was sixteen years old, I gave my heart to the Lord and was baptized. That was the first time that my mom and my little brother came to church. I praise God that Mom never stopped attending church after that day!

Hopes and disappointments

When I studied the “Principles of Faith” with the pastor, I learned that church members could only marry someone within the church. I was so happy; I felt assured that I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a life partner. I felt guaranteed that I would be easily married. Soon after, however, I had to realize that it would not be as simple as I thought. Just because young people attended the same church, it didn’t mean that they would mutually like each other. My life was fluctuating between happy and unhappy times, between great hopes and even greater disappointments. Nevertheless, for many years, I never thought that I should look for “love” outside the church.

Although Satan can read our emotions and actions as an open book, I thank our dear God that the enemy has limited his power so that he can’t read our thoughts. However, he knows how we feel and what we are going through, so he starts to put thoughts, questions and doubts in our mind about our situation and struggles. One day I had a circumstance in my life, which although beyond my control, had a negative impact on me. As a result, the enemy led me to conclude that I would never find a spouse in the church.

Whisperings of the enemy

Little by little Satan worked on my mind and soul. Although I was not compromising any of our principles of faith, the enemy was whispering to me: “Just be open-minded. You just never know, you may find a young man in the world and convert him to the truth. Look at your mom. She’s from the world and now she’s attending church.” I kind of liked the idea, but I still stayed faithful to my beliefs. In the meantime, I started setting certain standards in my mind about the “future young man” I would meet in the world. I could write a book about the experiences I went through during those years of “double-mindedness,” but I can tell you I definitely wasn’t happy. During my twenties, I wasn’t dating, and I was very discouraged. I was losing my connection with the Lord. I still believed in Him and I did not disagree with any of our beliefs, but I was disappointed with the church and I didn’t want to fellowship anymore. I wanted to resign from church membership. But praise God, the pastor told me, “Think a little more about it. We don’t make these types of decisions based on feelings. If you are doing anything in your life that is against the principles of faith, let me know. In that case, we’ll have to accept your resignation; otherwise we’ll keep you as a member.” I was very upset. I believe I even asked him, “So you are telling me that if I want to resign from church membership, I’ll have to do something deserving of being disfellowshipped?” Of course, now I know that’s not what he meant, but at the time that’s how I felt because I was full of bitterness.

Eye-opening friendships

While I was in technical school, I had an astounding experience. It showed me how amazingly God takes care of us as long as we don’t reject Him in our hearts or completely turn our backs on Him. In my class, there was a young man that I started liking. He was smarter than the average guys his age, and we became good friends. Weeks and months passed, and we both felt that our classmates began noticing there was probably something more between us than just friendship. So, I asked him in an email what he thought about our relationship. He responded, “Let us meet at the bus station and we’ll talk about it.” So, we met that afternoon and he started talking.

I could not believe what my atheist friend said to me. “Look, I like you. I really do. I am sure we could have a relationship if you were an average girl. But I see that your faith and principles are very important to you, and I think it is something that will never really change. I don’t think that I can take on this challenge, and I think you would not be happy either. So, I would suggest that we just remain friends.” At that moment, I felt I was going to die right there. I was so disappointed and no less ashamed. I thought to myself, “What? This guy, who’s an atheist, points out to me how important my faith is, and brings it up as an obstacle to our relationship?” I was shocked!

After being disappointed several times, I started building an invisible wall around me and tried to protect myself from more bitterness. I had a similar incident happen to me a few years later when I met an influential young man I had known before. He was well-known in my town and had a high social status. I thought that I would never have a chance with him since he could have had any young lady he wanted. So, when he invited me out for dinner one day, I was very excited and hopeful. After that date, he never contacted me again. A few weeks later, I sent him a text message, and asked him why he completely disappeared. He gave a similar answer as the atheist young man did.

So, I realized I just could not help being myself. I never acted or played games with anyone, and since I still believed in God, my faith was very important to me. Even though I didn’t say a word about it, I could not hide it. For this reason, these young men did not want to date me.

My sister’s courtship

I hit emotional rock-bottom when my 10-year-younger sister started dating a young man from church. I thought, “What would people think if my little sister gets married before me?” Definitely, everyone would think that something was wrong with me, and my chances for marriage would be over. That was a very difficult time for me, and Satan worked very hard to completely destroy me.

Instead of being happy for my dear sister’s courtship, I was upset. I felt this was the most humiliating situation for me. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Little did I know, at the time, that God was already preparing a young man for me. It was taking a little longer and I needed to be patient. That’s why God was leading me in different paths to save me for him!

Months passed in this emotional crisis, and I could see the sadness of my parents and siblings as they watched me suffer, without the ability to help. They were praying for me and trying to reason with me. I knew that it was not my sister’s fault that I didn’t have a boyfriend, but I just couldn’t help feeling so terrible.

I saw myself

Actually, I could see myself as if I was observing from the outside, and it scared me. I could not recognize the person I had become. I felt I was completely under the influence of another power. I later realized that “it is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not cooperate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 324.

Getting out of the horrible pit

I felt like Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24.) I praise the Lord that He allowed me to see myself like that. I believe that’s how He answered the many prayers of my family. At first, I had no strength to change my wrong way of thinking. My relationship with the Lord wasn’t the best at this time; no wonder I had no strength. I had cut myself off from the only Source of strength against the evil one.

I felt I really needed to do something, and that’s when I first “cried to the Lord” for help. I asked Him to give me the power to pray again with real faith, and to help me overcome the feelings of bitterness and despondency.

Don’t get me wrong, I did not hate my sister—I wanted only the best for her. I just detested the situation I was in and questioned, “Why? Why does it have to be this way?” These feelings were destroying me, and I could not hide this. I thank the Lord for His mercy and patience with me. Soon after, I started praying earnestly again. I begged the Lord to help me overcome my negative thoughts and feelings. I pleaded with Him to calm me down to accept whatever He had in store for me. I asked Him something that wasn’t easy for me: “Lord, if it’s your will for me to remain single, help me to accept it.” At this time, I was 31 years old.

Little by little it became easier for me to pray this prayer. The terrible burden was suddenly disappearing. Soon I caught myself planning my sister’s engagement party! I worked on arranging the food and decorations with my whole heart. By the time the party came around, I had no bad feelings and was truly happy for my sister and her fiancé. Wasn’t it a miracle, dear young friends? I’m telling you, it was a miracle from God because I know how deep I was sinking in that emotional mud. It seemed impossible to get out. But thank God, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings” (Psalm 40:2).

I surrendered my life

I made a true and heartfelt commitment to the Lord: I would stay in the faith whatever plans He had in mind for me—even if that meant remaining single. At that moment I felt such great peace—do you know why? The Bible says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). I had finally surrendered my life to Christ again, and had given Him the permission to decide if I should remain single or get married. Now, I didn’t have to worry about it anymore. Christ would take care of this important area of my life. Finally, I had His peace in my heart which turned my life back to normal again.

When we “play with the devil” we don’t have any peace, but “great peace have they that love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165). When we surrender our life to the Lord, the first and biggest change that we experience is peace! That burden of sin and resentment falls off.

The miracles of God didn’t stop here. Just a few months after I made that commitment to the Lord, I received a friend request on Facebook from a young man who lived on the other side of the world. I had casually met his parents and brothers a few years before, but I never met him. Since I was not thinking about finding a husband outside of my country, this was quite a surprise to me. Yet still, I could not stop thinking that was so unique that he contacted me. We started communicating with each other, and he came to visit me a few times. Twenty months after that first message, we were married. Today, we both feel truly happy and blessed by how the Lord wrote our love story.

So, dear young friends, never give up on the Lord. He does not want you to be unhappy or discouraged just because you can’t find a life partner at the time you wish. God wants the best for us, so let Him write your love story with the person He has in mind for you. Pray, surrender your life to Him, then wait patiently for His timing!

“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).