Scripture says,..."They were tempted." These were God's faithful servants. That tells me it does not matter who you are, what you do or what title you may obtain or hold, you will be tempted! Hebrew 11:37.
As I thought about this, my mind went back to a time period in my life where I did have a temptation that I yield to that caused a shift in my life's direction. Even though my desires at that time changed in the carnal way of thinking, my choosing sin brought me to a hard place but a necessary place of humility, a teachable place. What I know is that a fervent hunger and thirst for God's righteousness began to develop within my spirit. The study of His Word helped me to go thru many situations that if I hadn't been brought to that place of having an anchor for my soul, I do not know where I would be today.
God knew what He had placed in me and He knew what would cause it to surface and I can say today, it has been through many great trials. My source of strength has been on His foundation - His Word, as a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. He knew that decades later I would come face to face with even a greater temptation in the same area that would be for me to know now, where I stood in my relationship with Him. Many times it is easy to talk about a thing, but putting into action is another story. What may be another person's downfall may not be mine, but I've learned everyone has something that they must face. Here is mine:
I had been separated for eight years and finally divorced for nearly one year when a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to get married again. During my time of separation I hadn't dated anyone and once divorced I still did not seek out a relationship with anyone. What I did do was talk to God about what was in me. I told Him what He already knew that I was a "wife." I love to serve others, to minister to their needs and I wanted also to be connected to someone who loved God more than I loved Him and we could serve Him together - supporting the other in the areas God had called us into.
I answered my friend with a "yes." I told her that I wanted whom God wanted for me. I chose not to advertise in any manner (via dating sites, etc.,), even though another one of my friends had actually went that route and she (they) had been successful in choosing each other and is now married. I thought about it for a minute, but felt this was not for me.
The friend who originally asked me about getting married invited me to lunch, along with her adult daughter and while we were fellowshipping and enjoying each others company, my friend said she had someone in mind that she thought I would be great for and they for me. Her daughter asked who was she thinking of and she said Pastor "G." Her daughter glanced downwards and she thought about it for a moment and said, "yeah, but I was thinking about my uncle because I want Ms. Loretta in our family." We laughed a little and I thanked them for thinking about me in such a manner and that was the last time we talked about it for months. So I started praying, saying to the LORD, is this the one? LORD, You know I don't want to start this dating one man after another and on an on...then I began to pray for this "person", "the man", the "individual", my friend had mentioned even though I had never met him. I just prayed for him because he was a human. My friend and her daughter and I met numerous times to have prayer and fellowship since that luncheon, still my friends never brought him up again during these times and I wasn't led to inquire, even though I was very curious to know about this person.
Months went by and during the interim I went on a missionary assignment. While away, the daughter invited me to a prayer call in that she was a part of and asked if I would join in. I had not taken her up until then, so I called and as usual the host extended a greeting and announced who had joined the call and we all chatted a bit and shortly after another person called in, I heard her say, "good evening Pastor "G," my ears perked up. I wondered if this was the Pastor "G" that had been mentioned during our luncheon many months ago, the man that I had been praying for...was this he?
A few months went by and I learned after attending church with my friend at her daughter's church that this was her daughter's pastor. My friend told me she felt I would be just what he needed because of what she saw in me. She knew I loved the LORD and His people. He wasn't her pastor, but she knew he had been widowed for over five years and had been looking for a wife and I would make a good pastor's wife. These were her words - not my words. She was right about loving God and His people, but I have come to find out that a title does not make that person it.
When he and I finally dis have a conversation over the phone, he told me that he had been asking God for a wife for years and since He hadn't given him one, he decided basically to stop asking. I told him that maybe he had been asking for the wrong thing. Maybe he needed a "friend." I believe after a certain age, a person need companionship and understanding from another caring person more than performance. A good friend can also become a spouse. My thoughts.
He got comfortable enough in our conversations where he would say to me that he could talk to me all night. He would say that he was telling me things that he had never told anyone else...ever. It was kike a confessional at times. I felt after he heard me sharing my thoughts with him on various subjects, that that was what he had been in need of, so there I was. He shared some childhood memories that were very hard to hear because as I look back at what he said to me they shocked me. I can now better understand the "why" of it much better than I would have many years ago.
He shared that he had started meeting women that he had met on line and one of those meetings ended in a sexual encounter. When he told me that...I froze. He immediately told me he had "repented" of that but due to that experience, he had to "test." I stupidly asked him what did that mean. I knew already, but I couldn't believe my ears!
All sorts of things started running thru my mind. I remembered momma sayint that an older saint in her day said, "Two clean sheets couldn't dirty one another." Then I better understood what that meant. I had all kinds of questions running in my mind. Is he a "man of God", doesn't he know what God's Word says about crucifying the flesh, fornication, doesn't he know that marriage is honorable and only in that realm should a man and woman enjoy the other???
Then I also began to think about me. I knew something had begun to form within me for him from the moment I started praying for him, the "person", the "man", and the potential husband" long before meeting him. I thought about how he made me laugh on the phone and during his messages at church. I knew there was a type of bonding that was occurring between us and I did want us to be a complete unit, because if it wasn't right, then why did I care so much???
I also knew that his was not something to take lightly and cast all caution and WORD to the wind! I went to God's Word and I began to write scripture verses for me and if he ever brought it up again I would have them to remind him. We cooled off from conversing, which was good because by this distance that was erected, I could see and hear things clearer. There were no more brotherly/sisterly "hugs" during meet and greet between us at church, just stayed the distance.
This went on for a while and also temporarily I had not joined in on the prayer call, then one evening I called in and shortly thereafter he called in. He did not know I was on until I started praying. I sensed deeply that after the call was over he would be making contact. He did. We chatted a bit and then we bid one another goodbye because we would both be flying out to separate funerals within a few days.
Upon my arrival back into Houston I received a call from him. He was still in New Orleans. Earlier that day, the day of the funeral I sent him a text to encourage him because I realized he was no doubt dealing with this relative's death and the loss of his own wife. I told him that he was in my prayers. Simple kindness! I thought.
Well, I am sure it was the experience and the "atmosphere" of being in New Orleans, dealing with loss at various levels, then after that to see all that "flesh" being loosely paraded around in the hotel bar restaurant area and then to top it off to get a note from a special someone letting you know you were in their thoughts was enough to set him on fire! He said so, repeatedly. He said, "Loretta, I didn't want to tell you this, but "I LOVE you!" You are so kind, you are so good looking, you are so fine!!! He kept saying this...and (as the song goes) I Know I've been changed...I Know I've been changed BECAUSE this didn't do what it was intended to do! Those days were long past. It did not move me.
Prior to this I had had thoughts of doing what I saw on TV over 40 years ago. There was this "preacher" of some sort who married a woman (himself to her) by speaking the words over them. I even said this to God. "God, if he say the words over us, wouldn't this marry us - and we can take care of the legal paperwork later?? Probably after God stopped laughing) I heard in my spirit that "Preacher G" would have to bring it up. I could not offer any suggestions! this was God speaking directly to my innermost being because He knew and know me so well. If left to myself I would run the train! But this time Loretta, you will not be "fixing" or putting nothing together.
Then I thought about him. He's a man. Women, some of them anyway can fair better in this area than most men. I had done well for all these years. No husband, no boyfriend, no romance. then it hit me. I am a New woman in Christ Jesus! that old girl died a long time ago. Jesus, my Savior paid a very high price for me. I love Him with all my body, soul, mind and strength! There is not compromise!!
By telling me he loved me, this brought back to my mind what my mother taught me. She would say "boys" would tell you that to get you to give in to them. Here I am in my 60's and the game is still being played. She also would say don't take anything from them because they will think they own you and think or believe you owe them something. Daddy would say, "don't take any wooden nickels." My God, what wisdom! Well, this "man" is considerably wealthy. He likes the finer things in life and he would drop little hints to me about what he could/would give...just wanted a "test" drive.
I thought - I am no bodies hoochie! My two-bit Free phone does just what I need it to do! I did not need his "gift" of a phone. I did not need his "gift" of a pocket book or anything he had to offer. Nothing is more valuable to me than my relationship with Jesus. Things break, wear down or out, get taken back, you name it! My peace, joy and happiness are eternal! Priceless!!
I realize today that if I had allowed my emotions, my feelings to give in to what he thought he desired, he and I both would have been in so much condemnation when we didn't have to be. God place him in my heart to pray for him before every meeting. God sent me to be strong in his life. He needed to see "Real." He needed a true friend, to hear his hurt and pains, but not be over taken by them and get lost in the matter trying to be a "comforter" that's the Holy Spirits' function, not mine as a single woman.
God taught me much thru this experience. I will continue to serve Him while I wait for that handpicked, carved out man who will truly love God more than I love God, which I know is a tall order for my Lord, but I also know He made the whole world and everything in it, so therefore He knows when and how to bring it to pass. He does not need my help in this area.
As far as my pastor friend, I still pray for him. I knew it would be best for both of us if I stopped attending the (his) church. I was beginning to hear cryptic messages that I knew were just for me and we are suppose to care for our brothers and sisters in the LORD enough that we do not want to cause them to fail or fall. I also began to see his real fears, so I will continue to pray for him as the Spirit brings him to mind. He is one of God's children and I believe he is greatly loved by God and God is waiting on him to take a firm stand in His Holy Word and begin to hold fast to it.
Yes, I thank God for my test - My Faith was tried by fire (it is better to marry than to burn), but I came out not smelling like smoke! This test could have easily become my sin if it hadn't been for the Word that I had hidden in my heart. This means I can still praise and worship unashamedly the One Who brought me thru and out and not feeling down casted because I let Him down.
He promised me strength, wisdom and grace, I sought it and I received it. "Blessed is the man (woman) that endureth temptation: for when he (she) is tried, (s)he shall receive the crown of life, which the LORD hath promised to them that love Him." James 1:12 Amen.