God's Plan for Finding a Mate
I want to begin by telling you one of the most beautiful love stories you will ever hear. Chad and Heidi Eves were married November 22, 1997 in Flint, Michigan. Their story was featured in an NBC Dateline segment titled "My One and Only."
The NBC crew spent many hours over a period of several days interviewing the parents and shooting film of Chad and Heidi. They taped the couple before they were married and also filmed the wedding itself.
An NBC representative told Chad and Heidi's parents that their story was the most praised documentary ever done according to the feedback NBC received. The network received over 100 faxes and e-mails praising the segment, and only one or two complaints. I'll tell you about one of the "complaints" later in the message.
I've spent several joyful hours on the telephone interviewing Chad, Heidi and each of their parents. I wondered, "How could this happen when these two families lived 3 ½ hours apart?" The Eves lived in Canada and the Hayden's lived in Michigan.
Chad and Heidi actually met in Flint, Michigan in January of 1997, when Heidi's parents began driving 2 ½ hours to the same church Chad's parents were attending. Chad's parents, Frank and Barb Eves, were driving an hour and a half from Canada.
Chad told me that he was actually friends with Heidi's brothers before he got to know her. He said, "We got to know each other by me being in and out of their home. I never paid that much attention to her. She was just their sister."
Telling me of how it all came to be, Chad's Dad said, "It probably started when Chad was about 12 and I was talking with he and his brother about what was happening in society. We were looking for a better way for them to get to the marriage altar. For about three years we talked to them about the statistics in the world and about the Biblical perspective."
By age 15 Chad had developed his own convictions. He was saying things like, "Why should someone waste their time going out with a lot of people that they're not going to wind up with? They not only go through the highs and lows of emotions, they also waste a lot of money and time. Plus, you would wind up comparing what you had in the past with what you're going to have in the future."
Chad's father related to me a conversation Chad had with a 21 year old fellow who had fathered a baby but had not married the girl. Chad said, "You've got a baby and you didn't marry the girl?!"
When the fellow asked his view, Chad replied, "I take the view that I'm not going to go out with any girl until I find the one that God directs me to and then I'll marry her!"
The fellow just laughed at Chad.
Mr. Eves told me Chad was a very strong willed, first born son. But about a year before the relationship with Heidi began, Chad said, "Dad, I want you and me to develop an even stronger relationship as a father and son." Dad was thrilled. They talked a lot, spent time with each other, and drew closer in their relationship.
Several months later, as they were loading the trunk of the car, Chad said, "Dad, I think I've found the one."
Heidi's Dad told me that they began teaching Heidi the basic principles when she was younger, but about age14, Heidi made a commitment to do what they then called "courtship." He said, "The Lord really led us into this, I guess, based on our own past failures. We realized that God must have a better way to bring individuals to the most important commitment outside of salvation."
One of the things Mr. Hayden told me was that he and Heidi used to go on "dates" together. (Incidentally, I am for that type of "dating"!) One of the things they would do on these "dates" was discuss the character of various young men.
Mr. Hayden had developed what he called an "evaluation form." They would seek to humbly discern what young men were like in several areas of life. Neal would say to Heidi, "Rate this young man from 1 to 5 on "Personal Grooming." How about "Moral Freedom," "Financial Freedom," "Proper Friendships," "Response to adults," "Personal struggles," etc.? They rated each young man from 1 to 5 in each area.
Of course there were areas they didn't know about, but the purpose of the evaluation was not to be critical or judgmental, but rather to teach discernment. Neal was adamant that he was not going to be involved in a parent arranged marriage, and he wanted his daughter to be able to discern the character of a young man for herself.
When I asked Chad's mother, Barb Eves, to share with me how Chad came to realize that Heidi was God's choice for his life, she replied, "Chad and his brother had a ministry of just serving others. They would just go and help people do whatever they needed to do."
When they found out the Hayden's were going to tear down a barn, the boys both went to help them do it. While they were there, the Lord seemed to say to Chad, "Heidi is to be your wife." Chad then prayed and sought God's will further, and a few days later (in late spring of 1997) Chad told his Dad, "I think I've found the one."
After discussing with Chad how he felt the Lord was leading him, Mr. Eves asked Chad to create a journal over the next several days wherein he would write whatever insights or thoughts or prayers the Lord seemed to impress on his heart.
Chad would get alone in his room and read the Bible and pray and whatever he felt God was saying to him he would write down. When asked what the journal was like, I was told: "It wasn't something super spiritual. It was 5 to 10 pages of Chad's heart. Some of it was like him talking to the Lord. He might write down some Scripture he read, then his insights, then something else like, "Lord, I know I'm not worthy to care for Heidi, but if you would allow me to demonstrate my love for her I would be so grateful."
What did Heidi know about what was going on at this point? Absolutely nothing. (Wasn't that mean?!)
In the early summer of 1997, Chad's parents took Heidi's parents to dinner on a Friday evening. As they conversed at the table, Heidi's father commented that he had received a call the previous day from a fellow I'll call "Jerry" who was interested in Heidi.
"Jerry" said, "I hear you're looking for someone for your daughter to date!" The Hayden's and Eve's had a good laugh as Mr. Hayden told how he explained to "Jerry" that they didn't believe in dating. But he wound up setting a time the next Tuesday to meet with the young man to talk to him.
Chad's parents looked at each other, then explained that the reason they wanted to meet with the Hayden's was because their son Chad felt like the Lord had spoken to his heart about Heidi. Though Chad didn't know it was going to happen, his Dad gave Heidi's Dad the journal Chad had written. Also included in the journal were insights from Chad's brother and Chad's parents.
The following Friday was the night that Mr. and Mrs. Hayden often left all their children behind and went out together. With neither Heidi nor any of the other children knowing anything about what was going on, Mr. Hayden drove and met Chad while Mrs. Hayden visited with Chad's mother and got to know her better.
For 3 ½ hours Mr. Hayden discussed, as Chad put it laughingly, "Everything from what kind of toothpaste I used, to what my greatest struggles were, and my greatest victory."
Three different times over a period of three weeks Chad and Heidi's Dad met and talked for hours.
Heidi still knew nothing. Even her brothers didn't know. Chad told me that he "actually grew a little more distant to her outwardly during that time." He was trying to make sure he didn't defraud her in any way.
Heidi's Dad told me, "I didn't want Heidi's heart to be turning toward an individual until I had evaluated him. It would've made it difficult for her to keep her heart from turning toward Chad prematurely if the parties involved had not first objectively evaluated the situation."
Mr. Hayden said, "My wife decided before me. The journal helped convince her. It showed Chad's heart. It showed he was hearing from God."
Another strong factor that influenced Mr. Hayden was the strong relationship he and his wife had with Chad's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Eves.
On Saturday, three weeks after his first meeting with Chad, Mr. Hayden went on what he called a "Prayer walk." At that time the Lord seemed to impress on his heart Psalms 34:3 and 4. Both verses held separate key thoughts to him.
"O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together."
The other verse says, "I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears."
Mr. Hayden took Heidi on a date that night. Without letting her know of Chad's interest, he had her do an "evaluation form" in relation to several fellows in their new church whom they had not evaluated before.
Chad was one of those fellows. Mr. Hayden said, "I wanted an objective evaluation without any emotional ties." Chad and one other fellow came out close to the top.
At that point Dad said, "Heidi, there has been a young man who has expressed an interest in starting a courtship with you."
Heidi had overheard part of the conversation when "Jerry" had called three weeks earlier and figured out who it was on the phone and why he might be calling. She told her Dad later that she immediately thought of "Jerry" and was ready to say "No."
Her Dad continued, "And this young man is Chad Eves."
Heidi looked at her Dad and said, "Chad? Me?" And she began weeping!
She was really quiet for a long time, and then she said, "Yes, I would like that."
When she got home that night, her Mom greeted her with the question, "Did ya'll have a good date?" Heidi threw her arms around her Mom's neck and said, "Mom, you knew this all along!"
Mr. Hayden called the Eves that night and told them Heidi's decision. Saturday night about midnight, Chad arrived home from work and Chad's Mom said, "Chad, we need to talk." Chad told me that he looked at his Mother and said, "Oh no. She said, ‘No' didn't she?" And Mom smiled and said, "No. Actually she said ‘Yes.'"
Chad said, "I hardly slept that night."
Chad's folks had moved from Canada to Michigan, but the families still lived an hour and a half apart.
They agreed to meet at church on Sunday morning 30 minutes earlier than usual. With the new couple in the center, both sets of parents prayed for God's direction and blessing to be able to get started right. Then Chad and Heidi were given 30 minutes to talk.
The new couple sat together in church. During the fellowship time, the pastor asked if anyone had a testimony to give. Both fathers came forward and formally announced the beginning of the relationship. Chad and Heidi stood and everyone applauded.
Chad's Dad clarified for me what was taking place from their perspective. He said, "When Chad went into it, it wasn't to see if she was the one. It was, ‘She IS the one! The purpose of this is marriage."
Several weeks later, in August, the families made a trip together. Chad had purchased a diamond ring and wanted to formally ask Heidi to marry him. At Muskegon, Michigan, the couple walked out on a pier on Lake Michigan. Chad stepped over to a rock. Then he coaxed Heidi over on to the rock. He said, "I wanted to be standing on the rock." Chad asked. Heidi said "Yes." And Chad handed her the ring. She slipped the ring on her finger since Chad had decided not to touch her at all until their wedding day
On November 22, 1997 Chad and Heidi touched and kissed for the first time at the marriage altar.
How many of you would agree with me that that was a beautiful story?
Why was it beautiful? It was beautiful because it was Biblical!
As Chad and Heidi rode away from their wedding reception, one of the NBC crew said to Chad's father, "I've never been through anything like this in my life. Our last assignment before we came here to Michigan was in Alaska. We were in a town where 70% of the town was infected with sexually transmitted diseases. The epidemic was traced back to the High School. We came here from there and here we see a Biblical perspective."
Mr. Hayden was telling me how they came to the decision to allow NBC to come in. He said, "I knew this would bring a whole new level of pressure to bear on this whole situation. But we knew that God's goal through our family was to bring glory to Himself . Our goal as a family is to make God look good. When I explained to the family about letting NBC come in, I said, ‘What is our goal as a family?' And they all replied, ‘To make God look good.' So then I explained to the family that this was an opportunity for us to do that."
Mr. Hayden told the NBC producer, "I know how you folks sometimes work, so I want to be up front with you. I want to see how you guys can make something so good look bad." If you saw the Dateline story, you know that the biggest criticism against the plan Chad and Heidi followed to get married came from a sociology professor who said, "[It] might make a more secure marriage in the sense that everybody has decided to vote for the institutions and traditions of the past. But it might not make a very happy one."
My response to that is: "Does that mean the insecurity of dating and defrauding and fornication and divorce is supposedly producing happiness?!"
I talked to a secular college professor who told me:
"I use that video of Chad and Heidi in my college class every semester. I have girls in tears who have lost their virtue. I have guys who are speechless. I have young men who have ‘partied,' and they look me right in the eye and say, ‘that's the way I want to get married.'
"A young man from Florida with no church or religion said, ‘that's the way it ought to be.'
"Every semester I have shown it in the class, the response comes immediately: ‘I'm saving myself for my husband. This is how I want to live and how I want to court.'"
The professor told me that a silence falls over the class while the video is playing. Then he said, "When Chad and Heidi kiss, every semester kids burst into tears."
He viewed some as tears of regret and some as tears of commitment.
Why was Chad and Heidi's story so romantic and so beautiful and so "right" that even the world sits up in amazement?
Because they and their parents followed four key Biblical pattern principles that everyone should follow to get safely and properly to the marriage altar.
These are essential principles for committed Christians who love God and love His Word and want to please the Lord.
They are principles that will work for anyone anywhere in any culture at any time in the world because they are the principles designed and appointed by God to "fit" with this part of human life.
Have you noticed that there are certain key principles that work with marriage that will make anyone's marriage happier and more successful?
Lost or saved people, either one, will have better, happier marriages that are more likely to survive the rain and wind and floods of life if they both recognize that marriage is a covenant not a contract; if the husband lives for his wife instead of for himself; if the wife willingly submits to the husband's servant leadership; and if they will regularly and faithfully communicate about anything and everything that is going on in their lives.
These are universal principles that everyone ought to follow and that will work for anyone because marriage was designed for mankind and not just for Christians.
And the principles to get to the marriage altar are universal principles that everyone ought to follow and that will work for anyone because these principles were made by God to "fit" with the people that God created.
When there are problems getting to the marriage altar those problems can be traced to a violation of one or more of these principles.
And when there are problems in marriage, those problems can always be traced to a violation of the principles designed by God for marriage itself or to the principles designed by God for getting to the marriage altar.
Chad's Dad said to me "I believe each situation is unique, but there should be some things consistent with each relationship."
originally at http://www.drsmdavis.com/1Godsplan.htm
To listen to the series by Dr. S.M. Davis free online go to www.biblepreaching.com and scroll down till you find the series.
I hope ya'll enjoy this story!