God Put Her Next to Me

It was a Sunday evening in early February many years ago. I had gone home for the weekend. I was attending college at the time across town from where my parents lived so it was not a major trip home. It was a chance to catch up with my parents, get my clothes washed, and have a few home cooked meals. I had gone to church with them that morning.

A few months prior to this day I had seen a beautiful young lady sing at church. She captured my heart immediately but I didn’t have the courage to meet her at the time. As I was about to drive back to school on this particular Sunday evening I heard the Lord in my spirit urging me to go to the church that evening to meet her.

It had been months since I had seen her in church singing and I was in a hurry to get back to school. But at the Holy Spirit’s urging I decided to at least drive in that direction, which was out of the way.  I had little intention of stopping. As I got closer, I realized I was conveniently late for the service so my excuse to God was there were no parking places. As I was about to drive on, a car right in front of the sanctuary pulled out. I quickly pulled in to think about it. God was getting my attention. I decided to go in but was not about to go up to this girl to meet her.

There was a musical group from out of town that had come that evening to sing. The church was packed. Because I was late there were very few seats available. The usher took me half way down a side isle and sat me in a pew with about two and a half spaces available.

I looked around and did not see this girl anywhere. I took a deep breath and decided God had used her to get me to church to hear a message, so I settled in. In a few moments I heard a commotion coming down the isle so I glanced back. It was two girls coming in late as well. One of them was “the” girl. She ran right past the isle I was on to grab a seat a few rows up. Her friend took the open seat next to me. My heart was racing, that was a close call in this packed sanctuary. I knew I wouldn’t have had the courage to talk to her unless a miracle had happened. It almost did.

But God was not done. The girl looked back wondering where her friend had gone. She got up and moved back to our isle, and squeezed in between her girl friend and me. Remember, there were only about two and a half spaces on the pew available. But now there were three of us sharing that space. She brushed up next to me for heaven’s sake (which was true… the for heaven’s sake part). God’s purpose would be hard to ignore. My head was spinning. Was this really happening?

I stared forward in disbelief, trying not to acknowledge the electricity from her nearness. I was stunned and frozen in place. At the end of the service as people were leaving a friend called out my name from across the isle.  I waved at him, and then turned to meet this gorgeous, smiling young lady. She had heard my name and introduced herself. I am sure she could sense that I was nervous. She said, “Hi, my name is Karen.” She was as beautiful as I had remembered.

Well we couldn’t stop talking. Yes, she brought me out of my shyness. She made me feel at ease. She was confident and gracious and had the most infectious personality and beauty. But there was a problem. Karen was three years younger than me; that was an issue at that age, and her dad was the preacher. Not only that, he loved collecting guns and knives and made that evident to us all in his sermons. He was a man’s man. Even though I was a believer and outdoorsman, I wasn’t sure that I was this gun toting preacher’s choice for his daughter at that time in my life.

As the evening wore down, the only people left in the foyer were Karen and I and her parents. I can remember meeting her dad and mom for the first time. They were delightful but I wasn’t sure they would let me go out with her because of our age difference. 

I asked her out a few days later and her dad was a little leery of the idea, yet her mom came to the rescue and convinced him to let her go. I think he liked that I was an outdoorsman who knew how to hunt and fish and appreciate guns and knives. Of course he alluded to his collection of weapons while I was waiting on Karen.

I don’t know what had the most impact on me, the Spirit of God who put us together that night at church, or the guns of her father, but I knew I was in the presence of God’s anointed princess from the moment I looked into Karen’s amazing green eyes. I fell in love with her on the spot. It was but a few dates in that we knew she and I were called to an adventure like no other. I knew she would be my wife someday. Her love inspired me as a man. She ignited new things within my soul, things others couldn’t touch. She still does.

She soon told me that God had pricked her spirit while she was getting ready for church on the night we met. He had revealed to her that he had someone special for her to meet that evening. When she sat down a few rows in front of me by another boy, she took one look at him and then left to squeeze in between her friend and me. She prayed about my name during the service, and at the end of the service, God opened the door when my friend called out my name and she heard. That is when she started a conversation with me that has continued all these years. I am in awe each day of my life knowing God put her next to me.