I wrapped the shawl tightly around my shoulders, attempting to fight off the chill of the strong Rajasthan desert wind. Today has to be the coldest day of the year, and in my view, not the best day for my wedding. But as is true of most everything else in my life, my will or opinion was not considered. The wedding date was chosen by my parents because the stars have declared this to be an especially auspicious day for weddings. Everything in the Hindu world I grew up in is dictated by astrology, and the fear that accompanies even the thought of defying the power of the stars.
The chill inside my heart is even greater than the chill in my body. My father dutifully arranged my marriage to a nice Hindu boy, Sanjay. I’ve never met him, and will see his face for the first time only after the marriage ceremony is complete.
“Sanjay comes from an excellent family” my father assured me.
“And besides that, the pundit has told us that the marriage is guaranteed to be successful since 33 points on your horoscopes have matched” my mother chimed in as she grinned, clearly excited by the thought of her eldest daughter finding such a suitable match.
The problem is, one year ago I became a secret believer in Jesus. My parents would be horrified if they knew, so I haven’t told them. I still go to the temple with them, but when I do, I pray to Jesus, even though it looks like I’m bowing to Shiva. But will I be able to keep my faith a secret from my new husband?
“Sunita, stop daydreaming!” my mother called out to me.” You must begin to get dressed. Today is your big day!”
“Yes, mother” I dutifully responded. “Can you help me put on my wedding sari?”
“Yes, yes, of course. Family and friends are coming from all over. Everything must be perfect, for the honor your father.”
As my mother pulled the heavy veil over my face, the tears I had been holding in spilled out, ran down my checks, and soaked into the deep red fabric of my sari. Although I love my earthly father and want to honor him, even more I want to honor my Heavenly Father. I know He would not approve of my marriage to a Hindu man, nor of the way this man was chosen to be my husband.
“Oh Lord, forgive me for marrying Sanjay” I prayed silently as my mother placed the heavy gold wedding jewelry on my wrists, forehead, and around my neck.
“My daughter, do not fear. Don’t you know that I am the One who is in control? I created the stars, and hold the entire universe in My hands. Your earthly parents think that they have arranged this marriage, but do not fear. Sanjay is the man that I have chosen for you. You do not need to worry, Sanjay believes in Me.”
Could it be that Sanjay was also a secret believer in Jesus? My heart beat with anticipation as I considered the possibility that maybe, just maybe, my Heavenly Parent had indeed arranged my marriage.
“Father, please forgive me for not trusting in Your care and provision. My faith is in You. You gave Your life for me, how could I think that You would not handle the arrangements of my marriage?”
At that moment, my mother brought me into the courtyard, and placed my hand in the hand of Sanjay. Although I couldn’t see his face or eyes through my veil, I was no longer afraid, knowing that my Heavenly Parent, who created the stars and calls each of them by name, was in control. And He was smiling down on me, and my new husband, Sanjay. How wonderful to have the approval of my Father, the star controller.
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