One of the most refining crucibles in which the beauty and character of Christ is forged in our lives is that period of time I call “the wait;” that undefined and seemingly interminable season in which the longings of our heart and the prospect yet future collide with a conflicting array of thoughts and emotions. Like David, we voice our pain:
“O LORD, how long will You forget me? Forever? How long will You look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?” (Psalm 13:1-2a).
Being single is not a problem that needs to be fixed, nor is it an agony to be endured. It is a determined season in which one learns to wait upon the Lord in ways that will nourish the soul in the midst of a sincere and holy longing. Those of us who are married need to ‘allow’ those who are single to yearn for a mate. We need to remember what it was like to be single, possessing a desire to be married. Singles need to be let off the hook and to let themselves off the hook, this desire is okay. What could possibly be wrong with wanting to love and be loved within the confines marriage? To enjoy the shadow, the glorious parable of Christ and the Church.
So while you wait, wait in patience. “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5). Don’t allow impatience to devise schemes that pre-empt God and cause your spirit to become anxious and take matters into your own hands. The Scriptures says: “Whoever finds a wife, finds a good thing” (Proverbs 18:22). When we hear the word ‘find’ we often perceive of an intense investigation or search for something or someone that we believe needs to be found. However, this word in Proverbs speaks of: “a discovery in the way.” Do you remember when Abraham sent his eldest servant to find a bride for Isaac? When he ventured upon her (in the most unlikely of scenarios) he says this…”I being in the way, the Lord led.” So I believe the principle that we can extract is that God knows your address. In other words, He knows where you are, so live where you are in the fullness of the life that He has given you. Trust Him as you live ‘in the way.’
While you wait, wait in purity. Listen to the words of Paul: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor…For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification” (1Thessalonians 4:3-4,7). Your body is His temple, so preserve for the glory of God and for joy that awaits you.
While you wait, wait in the promises of God. Yes, your desire to be married will at times bring tears to your eyes and fervency to your prayer life like you have never known. But saturate your heart and mind with the life sustaining truths of Christ, remembering that all of the promises of God in Christ are – yes! Once a woman cried out to Jesus, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed!” To which He turned and said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:27-28). The ‘mother’ of God is the obedient Christian, whether married or single! So take a deep breath and reorder your world if necessary. Remember that relationships in Christ are more permanent and more precious, than relationships in families. Marriage is temporary and one day will give way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along – Christ and the Church. It is faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life, all other relationships get their final significance from this. So that the same voice that cried, “How long O Lord will you forget me?” Can also say…“But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:5-6). So let us all remember to uphold one another in prayer, whether we are married or single.