The Sign & Waiting Times

The next few months were filled with questions and doubts and moments of belief and then confusion. So many times I was sure GOD had spoken to me and at other times I felt...well, crazy, for lack of a better way to explain it. Discerning God's voice can be difficult at times, to say the least; we have a very real oppressor...his whole purpose is to destroy whatever purpose GOD had given you. However, GOD always makes HIS voice clear (if you're listening and even when you're not sometimes). The confusion comes when you allow the devil to distract you or to make you doubt GOD's plans, and during that time satan gave me plenty of reasons to doubt. Earl never once gave me a clear sign that made me think he looked at me any other way than as a friend. So the sign GOD gave me next, led me to hold on to a dream for the next three and half years of my life.

It was an odd conversation really, not because of the subject matter, because between three 20-somethings it's most certainly a common topic, but where it went after was what was so intriguing.  Earl, Rebecca and I were taking kids home on the church bus after service. After dropping the last one off, we began discussing how to know you've found the "one". Of course we all had our opinions, and for the past three months I had become quite certain he was the man sitting in the driver's seat. As we each opened up, I said, "Don't you think GOD could show one person and ask them to wait until it was clear to the other?" Earl was convinced that was impossible really. Why would God do that? He was confident that GOD would show both of them around the same time and my idea was preposterous...that's just not how it will happen he told me.

Obviously, at the end of that ride, needless to say, I felt a bit defeated. I mean Earl knew the Bible much better than me and maybe I had created a reality that I wanted to be true. After all, I was really just learning how to know GOD in an intimate way. Then Earl suggested we call Brother Ed, our Bible teacher on Wednesday nights. Brother Ed was much more well versed in Biblical knowledge than either of us and he could give us an example in the Bible that would solve our debate.

I remember a faint joy leaping back into my heart as Brother Ed told us that it could absolutely happen that way and used the story of Isaac and Rebecca. He explained that the person GOD showed could find rest in the LORD (Psalm 37:7) until it was revealed to the other. Quietly I was thanking GOD for this...that is until Earl looked me squarely in the eyes and said, "I know what situation you are talking about and it's never going to happen. I know for a fact." Talk about climbing a mountain only to be kicked right back to the bottom. I was more than devastated, I was sure he knew I was alluding to us.

As we went home that night, I remember Becca doing all she could to encourage me and help me hold on to the faith that GOD had given me a clear sign of HIS plans for my future. Thankful for it, sure, but really taking it in, I wasn't. It was quite obvious to me that I'd allowed myself to be deceived...deceived into believing something that was merely a mirage. I was flooded with more doubt in that moment than ever. Had I thought this up? Had I just developed a crush and decided to make it GOD's will? What do I know? How do I let go?

When I arrived home, I went to my room and immediately hit my knees. I cried and wept before GOD and begged HIM to show me why. Why had this conversation taken place? Why did I have this dream and these signs that overwhelmingly pointed to Earl as the person GOD had chosen for me to spend my life with? Why? Why? Why?

A sense of peace overwhelmed in that time of  prayer. GOD comforted me and told me to trust HIM. How I was supposed to do that I didn't really know, but I knew I had to. I took the phone and called Becca and began sharing the peace I'd had while praying and I thanked her for her encouragement. She said, "Maybe all this happened so GOD could show Earl it might happen differently than he thinks."

Almost immediately after hanging up, the phone rang. I was sure it was Becca calling back for one last encouraging thought...but it wasn't. Who it was shocked me really, but even more so than who, was the words that proceeded out of his mouth in that moment. Earl had had my number for a while, but he'd never actually called me. As he began to speak, tears streamed down my face..."You know," he said, "I've been thinking about what you said. I guess GOD could work that way. I mean if there was a girl out there and GOD showed her I was the one and she was willing to wait, then yeah, I guess it could happen."

I really cannot even begin to give a description of the feelings within my heart and soul at the moment. It was more overwhelming than I could explain.  A few months later Earl told the situation he was talking about was Becca and his brother Adam. I laughed and said, "No. I was talking in general. Becca doesn't think she's supposed to marry your brother!"

As the conversation came to a close that night, I knew GOD had shown HIMSELF to me in a monumental way and it was something I'd never forget. To know HE had heard my prayer fifteen minutes earlier and even before I had asked for help to understand and keep believing, HE was working on Earl to deliver my answer. Earl didn't say it could work for anyone. He said it COULD work for him.


  1. great story of how our wonderful Father listens to the heart of His children. love you Raquel, Sandy

  2. I've read all these blogs and cried at everyone i've read... Amazing the things GOD does or can do if we only allow him too!! So okay don't take your precious time... I'm a very impatient person...O yeah this is Mrs. Tera Bates by the way... hehehe

  3. hahaha!!! So glad that God's plans for us exceed even our own expectations! Makes me think of the verse "for the steps of the righteous man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his ways". I love looking back at this and seeing what a perfect illustration it is of the fact that when we are obedient to God he not only works things our for our good but for His good. What a wonderful impact you and Earl are having in ministry because your are TOGETHER!! Love you guys! Becca


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