Now, having discussed the reality that a person’s life is about more than being married, I do want to make a statement that will initially seem contradictory: I believe that the longing for intimate human companionship is second only to our longing for God Himself, and most people will feel that something is missing until they find a life partner. Because of this, I believe it is God’s will for most people to be married. He created us, male and female, to be joined together with one mate for a lifetime. That’s how we’re wired.
As I mentioned earlier, during my single years (and to this day!), I had the closest friends one could want. I had married friends who invited me over for family dinners and movie nights. I had single friends with whom I had innumerable fun times. I had male friends who encouraged me and gave me brotherly advice and support. I had surrogate fathers and uncles, nieces and nephews, spiritual mothers and grandmothers … But none of these relationships filled the husband-shaped void in my life. The kind of physical intimacy, emotional vulnerability, and spiritual unity that I now finally enjoy with my husband, can be shared with no other. My husband loves me unconditionally, he supports my dreams and has truck loads of patience. He’s never jealous of me or catty and he’s not threatened by my successes. I can say anything to him. He’s not God and he like any other human being has selfish moments and at times succumbs to his flesh, but our commitment to each other was sealed by blood on our wedding night and we wear rings as a sign of a divine covenant.
I am not minimizing the role of friends in my life. I don’t know what I’d do without my girlfriends! I have so much fun with them, gain so much wisdom from them and I love them as sisters. But I am not one with them. I am committed to many of them for life but we have not publicly made vows or exchanged rings to symbolize our union. I cry with them, laugh with them and love them deeply, but we will never create a child together.
Why am I saying all of this? To depress you? NO; to give you HOPE! The longings you have are NATURAL, they are GOD-GIVEN. They are not to be denied, buried, despised, shunned or rejected. You cannot shake those stirrings in your soul. Don’t let anyone tell you that perhaps you have the “gift of singlehood.” I don’t believe there is any such thing! God might want you single right now (to teach you some of the things I’ve spoken of, or to develop other aspects of your life), but if you feel those relentless longings, God will fulfill them.
I’ve seen too many single people give up in despair – and it’s easy to do! It’s easy to look out on the landscape of single adults and see such slim pickin’s that you throw up your hands and say, “Forget it!” But since when is our faith based on what we see? Is not God able to create something out of nothing? Is not He able to speak to the void and say, “Let there be…”? Is not our faith all about the assurance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things UNSEEN? If God can cause Sarah, a 90 year old woman to conceive, or Mary, a 14 year old virgin to give birth, can He not bring you a mate? Is anything too hard for God?
I know the statistics. I’ve read them, rehearsed them and cried over them. I know the ratio of single women to single men in church. I know the likelihood of getting married after 40. I know how many black men are in jail and how many men of all colors are gay. I know that most 40 year old single men are divorced and many are looking for younger, cuter women.
These are the facts. But since when is the God of the Universe bound by facts? Is your case the first one in history that leaves God wringing His hands in hopeless dismay? Do you think He shakes His head when He looks down and sees you in a kind of weary perplexity? How big is your God?
If you’ve come to the place where you’ve decided you’ll never marry, is this because God has spoken this to you and you’ve come to a place of peaceful contentment, or is it because you’ve given up? I am foolish enough to take Psalm 37 literally. If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. If your desires for a mate have been tried, tested and still abide, just as strong and relentless as ever, don’t assume a martyr’s complex and decide that all those promises in Scripture must not apply to you. Claim them, yet again, as your own. And then, having done all, stand and see the wonders of God.
Jesus taught the parable of the persistent widow so that we might pray and NOT lose heart (Luke 18). Sometimes we have to persist in prayer to the point of weariness. And then when we’re too tired to pray, we need good friends to pray for us. But you cannot pray if you are double-minded. God desires TRUTH in our inward parts and you first have to tell yourself the truth an then confess it to God. You want, what humanity has wanted since the beginning of time: lifelong, intimate companionship. Don’t let anyone convince you that you that this is unspiritual or that you should stop persisting, stop knocking and stop requesting.
I won’t lie to you; I think there’s some serious problems in our culture. Many men and some women are too reluctant to marry and both are getting sexual and emotional needs met through temporary relationship and illicit means. Spiritual needs are buried and forgotten. This makes it very difficult for those who are holding out for the best. So it won’t be easy. Perhaps we’ll need to fast, pray and do spiritual warfare. Perhaps we’ll need to ask friends to stop pestering us about being single and hold our arms up prayer when we’re tired. But God is never bound by cultural trends. He is always able to bring forth beauty from ashes and he delights to prove Himself faithful -in any situation.
If you are content being single, great! But if you are not, take the horns of the altar and don’t let go until you see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).