God’s Faithfulness in an Arranged Marriage

May 15, 2023

Editor’s Note: Although this story doesn’t hold out a model we’re looking to follow regarding arranged marriages, it does hold out a model for trusting God in any and all circumstances. We are grateful for Sheela’s example and testimony of God’s faithfulness!

54 years ago, Tom and I met for the very first time in a small country church in Kerala, India, and pledged our lives together, till death do us part. We made our commitment to each other in marriage before God, the elders, both our families, and the local church body. Our marriage was arranged by our parents. Both of us were born and brought up in Christian homes in southern India by godly parents. I was a 19-year-old undergrad student, and Tom was working in Bhopal, which is in northern India, a three-day train journey from Kerala. Our families knew each other, but it was on this day that we met for the first time.

In his love and mercy, God took hold of my heart at a very young age, instilling in me a childlike faith to trust him even with my “unknowns.” The faith in Jesus Christ that Tom and I both shared laid the foundation on which our marriage was built, and we made a choice to love and to commit to each other in marriage. Two weeks after our wedding, Tom traveled back to Bhopal, while I stayed back for another year with my mom to finish my college. It was during this time we started getting to know each other through writing letters. 

We were together in Bhopal in the following year to “officially” start our lives together as husband and wife. Separated from family, church and friends, one of the habits we started very early in our marriage was to read the Bible and pray together every day. Meanwhile, it didn’t take long for us to find out how clueless we were about love and marriage. We were both “jars of clay” holding Christ the treasure within our stubborn, foolish, and sinful nature. God, the Potter, had some heavy sanding, polishing, and smoothing to do on our jars of clay. 

One of the saddest and loneliest seasons of my life was when I spent a year in a dormitory at Bhopal University to complete my graduate school, while our one-year-old baby girl stayed with my mom in Kerala, and Tom moved to the U.S in 1972. God’s Word came to my rescue, filling me with his peace. Psalm 139, one of my favorite psalms, assured me of his presence with me, regardless of my circumstances. 

The three of us were reunited as a family in the U.S in 1973. If you thought that my struggles were finally over after arriving in the U.S, think again! Three more children were added to the George family clan, and I found myself terrified as a parent to raise our children in this new culture. Even though our intentions were good in guiding them according to biblical culture and standards, we made it difficult for our children to live in two cultures. Thankfully, the God who settles the solitary in families (Psalm 68:6) provided us with church families that gave us help and support amid our parenting struggles and disagreements. 

The late Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham, was once asked if she had ever contemplated divorcing her husband. Her reply: “Divorce? No. Murder? Yes.” I smile in total agreement with Ruth! My sinful attitudes of pride, self righteousness, and the need to take control of situations didn’t mix well with Tom’s patient, calm, gentle and slow-to-react nature; however, the Lord spared me from “tearing my house down” as the foolish woman does in Proverbs 14:1. The treasure in this jar of clay surpassed my weakness by Christ’s resurrection power. The relentless love and pursuit of a faithful God preserved our marriage and our children.

The two important lessons I have learned as a wife and mother are obedience to God’s Word and trust in his faithfulness. The circumstances in my life are among the “all things” that worked together for my good (Romans 8:28) so that his will and purpose for my life is fulfilled for his glory! It was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes (Psalm 118:23)!

These verses from the hymn “He Giveth More Grace” by Annie Johnson Flint bless me as I remember what God has done:

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,

When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,

When we reach the end of our hoarded resources

Our Father’s full giving is only begun.


His love has no limit; His grace has no measure.

His power has no boundary known unto men.

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,

He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

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