A friend of mine lost his father very suddenly this last week.
Another friend is struggling to stay afloat after a car accident last summer brought towering bills and dependence on a chiropractor.
Even sitting down in a chair that can’t support your weight can bring on sudden suffering like nothing you’ve ever known…debilitating pain to wake up to every morning, endless second opinion, flummoxed doctors.
Someone once said something to the effect of, “It’s not the old familiar fears that end up coming true…it’s the ones that come with a phone call at 2:00 on a Thursday morning, the ones you never saw coming.”
How do we live like this?
I certainly don’t want to live paranoid. I don’t want to live life looking over my shoulder.
Yet these stories remind me of the uncertainty of life, and the certainty of death. They remind me tomorrow is not guaranteed. They remind me that God’s ways – whether you believe he directly causes all things or whether he causes some and allows others – are rockier and more elusive than we’d care to admit.
So how do we live knowing that each and every day could bring about the end of our lives as we know them?
If you’re single, you’ve probably been advised at some point to make a “list” of qualities you want in a spouse.
If you’re a Christian single, you’ve probably gotten this advice even more often, given that we Christians have added spiritual criteria to consider (must be in the Word, must be committed to church, etc.).
Lists are fun to make; they make that future feel right around the corner. And they’re valuable, with caveats. Having to sit down and ponder what really matters in a partner, what would best fit our soul and personality, and how God might want to sanctify our list – all good stuff.
But there was a pastor I once followed for about a year whose congregation consisted of singles of varying ages, and he suggested this:
Make a second list – of things you can live without.
Like, actually sit down and write that second list with the same pencil and paper.
I’ve never been married. But I have been very interested in marriage.
The divorce of my parents led me to one of the most fervent prayers I’ve ever made – “God, don’t let me end up there.” It’s the kind of prayer God is eager to answer. His first lesson? Much of the answer takes place before any vows do.
And the greatest answer of all is…Jesus.
I know. I can hear you sigh. You’ve heard for years that you need Jesus more than a spouse. But he just seems so boring compared to romance and white picket fences and sex and babies. He honestly seems unrelated, other than saying “no” to your longing.
But indulge me for a second. The fall of my family prompted me to keep my eyes and ears open for “what it takes” for a thriving marriage. It got me watching older couples, gleaning from them, reading every book anyone gave me. It got me learning from couples my own age as they’ve reached that stage. God used the whole thing to grab my attention; he gave me the chance to scout out, in a way, the territory ahead of us singles.
And not only am I more convinced than ever that Jesus is the answer, but he’s been kind enough to give me some idea as to why.
It’s awkward to speak beyond my experience, and it forces me to mix in some generalities. But this really isn’t my words. It’s those of married couples. Perhaps we’d be wise to switch Tinder off for a minute and listen to them.
Six reasons we need Jesus more than a spouse…that have to do with the spouse.
1. You need Jesus to find that person.