I have the privilege of doing youth work with a couple of guys I graduated high school with. They’re married with kids.
Several students I’ve mentored in that youth ministry have gotten hitched. One’s even had a couple daughters.
I saw an old (now married) girlfriend in the store the other day. She looked…I’m bad at this…six or seven months pregnant? I was certainly happy for her.
But it’s certainly enough to make a bachelor feel left behind.
In years gone by, I would often reassure myself with Don’t worry, they’re a lot older than you. You’ve got time. Then one day I woke up and was their age. So much for that arrow in the quiver. In fact, the pastor at one of our offshoot churches has a salt-and-pepper beard, a seminary degree, and a small tribe running around his wife’s ankles – and my jaw dropped when I found out he’s two years younger than me.
Ever felt left behind?
Though we could turn to comforts such as there are still plenty of people who marry late and you’ve accomplished plenty that they haven’t, the best response to times of loneliness is knowing that the Father’s love knows no boundaries – including what you haven’t done.
Nobody at my church has ever openly made me feel outmoded for being single – my spiritual family is too Scripturally literate for that. They know that although the Old Testament certainly seemed to hand all the stature and security to families, Jesus changed things. He stresses singles’ place in his family. Both through his words (Matthew 19) and those inspired (1 Corinthians 7), Jesus pointed out that singles actually have an easier time navigating the evangelistic demands of his kingdom. Sometimes married people fall behind the singles!
But more importantly, Scripture breaks down barriers to his love. Rich or poor, slave or free, sick or healthy, Jew or Gentile, popular or otherwise, educated or a fisherman casting about on Galilee’s shores, Christ embraces people on every part of every spectrum as candidates for his grace.
Singles are no exception. Every single Christian is a pool into which Christ’s waterfall of love tumbles perennially. He did not come to earth, suffer the cross, empty the tomb, and ascend to heaven so that his love would be thwarted by the lack of a ring.
It hurts that there are churches who do not share this view. Singles across the world are too often ignored, sidelined, or flat-out rebuked for not marrying, as if they’re only “playing at life” until they do (and without ever being asked if singleness was what they wanted).
The emotional burden is real, and God will hear our honesty in the meantime. It’s not fun to have less and less in common with your friends, having to work harder and harder to keep up your friendships. That’s not what Hebrews meant by “running the race”.
But no single Christian has been left behind with God. You are secure in his love. Your present potential and value to God are undimmable; it need only be prayed for, sought, and cultivated. And God’s eternal future for you is sealed; Jesus will one day give each of us a new name (Rev. 2:17), whether we ever changed it here on earth or not.
Therefore, I can celebrate where I am today. For on the spectrum that matters most – God’s love – I am on equal standing with all who are his.
I’m glad you tuned in today. If you found this post to be of value, please feel free to share it on social media. Thanks a bunch!