No preaching today, Christian single.
We’re taking a break from the talk of God’s plan (true), trusting him (true), or anything along the lines of You need to do X, Y, and Z before God marries you off (meh).
Not that it’s untrue. It’s all quite true. (Except for possibly the last part.)
But it’s not the only thing you need to hear.
You’ve faced countless breakups and rejections with grace. You’ve gotten a master’s degree. You’ve crossed the globe on mission, only to disembark back home and find nobody waiting for just you. You’ve fought tooth and nail for purity. You’ve tithed until it hurts. You’ve turned down opportunities that would have left you unequally yoked. You’ve wondered why God created you with that ______________ that hamstrings your chances of finding someone. You’ve bought a house, a pet, and possessions, rather than waiting for a spouse to come along and build your life.
And you’ve given your confusion and tears, as best you can, to God.
I’m sorry if nobody has ever told you this, but…well done.
Seriously. Well done.
None of this has been easy. Going without a desire of the heart never is. Let no cries of “first world problems” take that away from you.
But if you’re single and still pursuing God, still in church, still serving and trusting and living to the fullest despite your disappointment, know that God sees you. He sees you. He has no illusions about how difficult it’s been for you. He cares. And he is proud of you.
Don’t give up, he says from Scripture. Keep walking.
Any chump can get married. All it takes is someone who’s vaguely compatible, a justice of the peace, a slip of paper, and a convenient failure to really think about what you’re getting into.
On the other hand, someone who looks at a Savior who keeps deferring a heart’s desire, yet still pronounces “I trust him” to the watching world? That’s a gem. One deserving of kudos.
I have the distinct impression that the modern Kingdom is largely omitting this comfort from their wisdom to singles. I’m sorry if your circle has done this. They mean well. Whether your circle is the kind to push and nag you towards marriage or the type that encourages you with Biblical advice but forgets the hug…they mean well. Though the Kingdom’s party-planners know all about weddings and baby showers, they don’t seem to have a lot of ideas on how to celebrate singles. (Heck, I’m not sure what that would look like either.)
But God does. He has seen your faithfulness. As he spoke of Job (1:8) – “This one gets it!”. If you’re okay with not knowing the next step, if you’ve found your love for God swelling and outgrowing the earthly longings alongside it, then you’ve reached your mountaintop. Getting married was never the mountaintop. Knowing God was.
“That’s fine for him,” an honest corner of our heart responds. “But what about me?”
Peter seemed to wonder the same thing as he watched the rich young man fade into the distance, asked by Jesus to surrender the treasure of his heart:
Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:28-20)
We singles certainly haven’t given up “all we have”. But Jesus casts a wide net. He affirms sacrifice of many kinds. Here’s what we can know: no matter what you sacrifice for the Name, you won’t feel cheated in the end. God knows how to leave his people feeling rewarded.
I’m convinced this includes singleness. Some of us are asked to lay our desire down for a few years, some a decade or two, a few for our entire pilgrimage. But the promise of Luke 18 can be trusted. It comes from the Son of God, who knew better than anyone the spaciousness and compassion of his Father’s heart.
To have enough confidence in God’s goodness to keep putting your heart out there, to keep placing hope in his power while letting go of exactly what that power will bring? That‘s faith.
Not everyone gets there. The wait can bring an edge of resignation – burying a desire, dismissing blessing. It seems holy. It’s merely spiritualized pessimism. Walling yourself off from disappointment.
Ever heard one of those “God wants access to every locked room in your life” sermons? Your desires are another room. He wants in. Not to lecture or destroy, but to indwell your entire heart.
Whatever happens, he is proud of you. He won’t forget your surrender.
If the words of some random blogger don’t do it for you, hear again the words of Christ:
“I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.” (Luke 18:29-30 NLT)