Many of us wonder what God is up to in our season of singleness.
Most single Christians understand the basics of the singleness problem for believers. We know God loves us, we know that we want to get married, but we don’t completely understand why God hasn’t provided marriage for us yet. For many Christians, singleness feels like an eternal Christmas Eve in which we feel stuck in constant expectation and waiting.
We know that God loves us and that He will provide for all our needs (Phillipians 4:19). Unfortunately, the line between need and want seems to get really fuzzy whenever we approach the topic of marriage. Our desire for marriage is so strong that it feels like a need and yet we know that God may never give us a spouse.
In the past, my struggle through singleness sometimes looked very similar to how I whined for ice cream as a child. I tried to express to God in both polite and unpleasant ways how much I want a wife because I didn’t feel like He really grasped the strength of my desire. I eventually realized that instead of doubting God’s understanding of the problem I needed to take a closer look at my understanding.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
I realized that I needed to change my understanding of satisfaction and where it comes from. I had assumed that the greatest satisfaction came from marriage and that God held that back because I hadn’t earned it yet. I eventually came to the conclusion that God loves me way too much to hide most of life’s satisfaction in marriage.
Getting Satisfaction in the Eternal
I’ve heard quite a few married people talk about how marriage is one of God’s best gifts to us. It’s really important to acknowledge that we don’t need this gift to get the satisfaction that our heart’s desire. Instead of assuming that marriage is the best place to get the satisfaction, we need to look a little closer at the other gifts that God offers.
Marriage seems like the bee’s knees, but I don’t think any earthly pleasure can hold a candle to the supernatural peace and joy that God offers.
Many of us don’t experience a good deal of supernatural peace and joy simply because we don’t know it’s available. We don’t know what God has to offer us today because we focus mostly on what we need to offer God. Simply put, we think that our relationship with God is about the problems that we need to work on and not about the life that He wants to give us.
A common problem in modern Christianity is thinking that your relationship centers around your biggest struggles and doubts. God does use our weaknesses to pour his strength and love into our hearts. With that being said, if we just focus on our doubts and struggles our relationship with God can end up looking more like a job than a relationship.
Taking a more intimate and personal approach to your relationship with Christ is a great example of the phrase “easier said than done”. It’s easy to say that we want to trust God more and really difficult to actually make that happen. The answer to this problem comes from approaching our relationship with God kind of like how we approach our relationships with other people.
We should seek God in the everyday and ordinary parts of our lives in order to help us know him in our singleness.
The Classroom Effect
For example, many of us form great relationships with teachers in the classroom and then feel really awkward when we run into them in a casual setting. Those unexpected run-ins bring to light the fact that even though we know our teacher and they know us, we don’t really have a personal relationship with them. This same effect applies to our relationship with God.
Most of us know about God and we acknowledge that he knows all about us. We would also have no idea what to do if we ran into Jesus at the movies. Simply put we acknowledge that God knows about us and that he sent Christ to die for us, but we don’t actually know what He thinks about us and our day to day lives.
Our ignorance of God’s personal feelings towards us is where most Christians, especially single Christians, struggle in their walk with God. Even though we know that God loves all sinners, we don’t know that He loves us personally. Without confidence in how much God cares for you personally, doubts and trials will cause destruction in your heart.
For single Christians, the unsaid worry in all our hearts is that maybe God loves us less than married people.
The Doubts of Singleness
I could do my absolute best to convince you that God loves all of us equally, but your heart would probably still twist a little the next time you saw a married couple. Even though encouragement from our Christian community is incredibly important, we need more than that. We need to experience his personal, intimate, and specific love for us.
The difficulty of our singleness struggle doesn’t just come from the idea that God blesses others and not us. The real difficulty comes from the doubt that God doesn’t give us a spouse because He doesn’t care enough about our hearts. Simply put, we think that if Jesus came to our church He would probably walk right by us and talk to the married people or the pastor.
For single people, the issue of singleness is not about ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. It’s about the loved and the unloved. This makes the problem much more difficult, it also makes it much simpler to deal with.
God can answer whether you are loved today. God has already shown His love for you on the cross AND He wants to keep showing you that love. We need to open up our hearts to His love in the common and everyday parts of our lives in order to better experience it.
The God of Fun
All of us must make the transition from intellectually knowing that God loves us to experiencing God’s love for us. To help myself with that transition I seek God in what I do for fun or relaxation. I do my best to invite God into hobbies I enjoy, time spent reading a fun book, or just sitting and listening to music.
I also invite God into my ministry/service activities, job, and friendships. Some of my invitations look like simple prayers at the start of activities and others resemble asking God through prayer, Scripture, and community what He thinks about something. If you genuinely engage with God, you will find a loving and caring Father who wants to help.
Many of us struggle with what God thinks about our desires because we only talk to Him about our sin struggles and marital status. These are very important subjects, but they aren’t the only parts of your life. A complete and healthy relationship with God will begin to form when you start to invite him into the rest of your life.
Our relationship status isn’t supposed to be the only place we trust God.
Breaking Out of Our Tunnel Vision
That sounds like a guilt trip, but it’s actually some really comforting news. That means we can trust in Him to provide for us in other smaller areas of our lives. Those smaller acts of trust can help build a strong confidence in our God.
I learned this approach to my walk with God and dealing with my singleness because I’ve struggled quite a bit with the being single. As I write this article I’m still a single guy, and I have to discipline myself to bring up my singleness with God in my prayers. I don’t like talking to Him about it, but leaning into Him on this issue and others has brought greater peace and joy than I thought was possible.
Our confidence will help us lean into God and have an honest conversation with Him about our singleness. This conversation is tricky because our questions about singleness and our doubts about His love for us get tangled together. We need to trust in God’s personal love for us to faithfully face our season of singleness.
Marriage is one of God’s best gifts to us. That said, God’s love is not just found at the wedding chapel. According to Phillipians 4:7 and 4:19, God wants to pour out the riches of His glory and give us peace that surpasses understanding. We need to open our hearts to God’s love in the other parts of our life to get the blessings of supernatural peace and joy.
God’s peace and joy will serve as the ultimate sustenance in our time as a single person. Even if that walk is 6 months or 60 years, God’s power will never run out.Image Copyright Nathalie Babineau-Griffiths https://www.flickr.com/photos/melodramababs/3558652611/ by