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It’s fair to say that we singles view these days as a kind of training.
As we wait for God to bring us someone, we’re told enthusiastically by those around us, “This is the time for you to be preparing for marriage!” We’re told to grow in holiness, learn the Word, and hone our character as part of our preparation.
(We also get a hint that God might be waiting until we’re “trained” to marry us off. Never mind that God marries off plenty of people who aren’t even remotely ready, that nobody is exempt from learning to love, and that we’re training for a lot more than just marriage…)
But pull me back from the rabbit trail.
I love training. In a masochistic way. Something about those training montages in movies just gets to me. Rocky. The Matrix. Any superhero origin film. The entire Harry Potter series. The hero doesn’t get kid gloves; he must adapt and learn, or he’ll be hosed. It’s a calling out, a strengthening and preparation for a mythic role. And he is usually guided by an old sage who cares enough about his welfare to show him the way, equip him for survival.
Honestly, if we learned to see our lives’ trials more like Shifu’s rigor towards Po, or de la Vega’s harshness towards Alejandro, we might start seeing God differently.
Singleness has its own training. We, too, love just reading about it (right?); it makes us feel like we’re “on the way”. God is our sage, showing us the ropes.
But to what great arena, what great mission, is God calling us singles?
No, not the fun version. Love. Giving up, sacrificing, letting go, often with no visible prospect of reward.
True love is brutal, and so its training must be. I’ll make a bold statement here: in my experience, many of the deep kingdom secrets of love are not found in typical advice to Christian singles. Tragically, they’re often left to the marriage books. Love isn’t cushy. It’s going to cost everything you have. For Jesus, it was a cross. It will demand of you.
Why wait until marriage to start becoming the awesome spouse you’ve envisioned yourself being? What if we could start…right now?