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ONE: A good woman is hard to find…

         Whether you’re married, widowed, or still looking for love, we can all appreciate how hard it is to find the right person to spend your life with. I believe God makes divine appointments for us and sets up ways for us to meet each other. It is just one of His many wonderful gifts.


         How God orchestrated the meeting between Luther and his beloved soon-to-be wife Katharina was the definition of “a good woman is hard to find.” He literally had to look for her in a fish barrel! We’ll get back to the barrel in a little bit, but first I want to share how her story started. Katharina set out on her religious life at nine. Although her father was a baron, they barely had enough food and money to get by. Most marriages were arranged for the benefit of both families or were made for political gains. But for Katharina’s father, it only meant he would need to give a dowry to the boy she would marry. And as most girls in this time were brides in their teen years, he knew it was time to ship her off to her aunt who was a nun at a Cistercian monastery. Where six years later she would take her monastic vows and become a nun.

        Now you would think this would prevent her from that divine appointment with Luther, but God had other plans for her, just like He has for us. But you don’t need to take my word for it. Take God’s Word in Jeremiah 29:11, where He tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God shows us in His Word that what happens to you matters to Him.


        There are a million questions we must answer in this life, with a million more responses to each one. Should we take that new job opportunity or stay where we are? Is this the right man to spend the rest of my life with? Sometimes we make choices that have dire consequences; I know that I have often looked back with regret. You may look back and see a turn to the right might have been better than your turn to the left, but you can’t get hung up on these thoughts. We have all made poor choices, but none of them were a surprise to God. He has my life and yours lying at His feet, from beginning to end, with all the missed turns and U-turns included.


         He makes all our crooked places straight and helps us find the way back to our true path. But that’s only if we give ourselves over to God’s will. God wants us to learn to lean on His guidance in all our decisions. To go to Him prayerfully and share with Him the desires of our heart. He is a loving father that wants only the best for us. He is patient even as we are impatient.


         In Katharina’s case, she was a young girl born into a noble but impoverish family whose only hope was to get an education and keep herself safe. That safety came in the form of loving nuns. This was God’s way of setting up that divine appointment; working out the plan He had to give her hope and a future. Everything she would need to have that prosperous future; she would learn right there in the convent.


         That brings us back to the barrel. After years of religious life, Katharina and several other nuns became interested in the growing Christian reform movement. And as they grew dissatisfied with their life as nuns, Katharina contacted Luther and begged for his help. Luther sent a merchant who delivered herring to the monastery, and the nuns all eight (some writers say twelve) successfully escaped by hiding in his covered wagon inside the emptied fish barrels.

         During the next two years, Luther arranged homes, marriages, or employment for all the runaway nuns, except for Katharina. She had several suitors, including a Wittenberg University alumnus and pastor, but none of the proposed matches resulted in marriage. Finally, she told Luther’s friend and fellow reformer that she would marry only Luther himself. Katharina would no longer keep her love hidden in a barrel.


          Hopefully, you didn’t have to hide in a barrel or become a nun to get to your divinely appointed partner. The lesson that Katharina wants us to learn is not to give up! If God has placed a dream or desire in your heart—whatever that may be—He will stick with you and get you there. Pray daily for God’s guidance; ask Him to show you His plans for your life. It may surprise you, just like it did Martin and Katie. Martin didn’t think marriage was for him, and everyone thought Katharina was too old to be a bride. But none of that mattered to our Lord, and He used all the paths that they both took to prepare them for the work they would share in His service.


        Just as a good Proverbs woman is hard to find, from a female’s perspective, a good man may be equally difficult. Sometimes even impossible. But God specializes in the impossible. Like Katie, you need to follow where God leads, and let Him work out the details.

Things to wonder about:

1: Am I open to receive God’s divine direction to keep me from making foundational mistakes in my life?



2: How can I know God’s mind on a particular issue, on marriage, finances. How can I cut through my stubbornness and disobedience to God’s directives?



3: What can I learn from Katie about making the most of the opportunities God has for me?



A Prayer for Today 

Heavenly Father, I come boldly to You, as I open my heart and mind to Your Word. Remove from me every form of distraction that has blocked my spiritual eyes and ears from Your divine instructions concerning my life. Fill me with Your strength; and with Your hope, keep me close to You as I put You first in everything I do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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