“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
I struggle with singleness. While I am gratefully and happily married, I still struggle. I struggle with singleness because I have dear, godly, beautiful friends who have desired and prayed for husbands for years and yet they remain unmarried. I wrestle because singleness brings with it a lot of heartbreak for those I love and it reveals my temptation to doubt God’s goodness and sovereignty.
Getting married at 33, I had a few years where I wrestled with God’s timing and purposes in my singleness. I had times when I wondered why and if God was withholding marriage for some reason. I struggled with why a friend would get married and not me. I wondered if I had sinned in some way in the past and was therefore receiving God’s discipline as punishment.
Over time, the Lord was gracious to show me that He was not withholding anything from me (Ps. 84:11), as if I could do anything to deserve marriage. He showed me that my sin couldn’t trump His plan (Job 42:2), although sin can and does have consequences. And He showed me that His plans and purposes for my life as a single person were good (Eph. 2:10) and that I wasn’t living Plan B. He also helped me to get over myself long enough to see He had work for me to do and serving was a great remedy for self-pity.
If we take time to get to the heart of it, the struggle is really not with singleness—it’s with the sovereignty and goodness of God. At some point we all face circumstances that cause us to question if God is really in control. God is mysterious in His ways and yet we are called to trust Him and believe that He is good and that all things work together for good—even the struggles that go on for years without explanation.
God doesn’t give us a lot of whys in Scripture in the context of trials. He never told Job why he was called to suffer so greatly but we do know He was very fond of Job and loved Him. It’s our steadfast belief in God’s goodness, with or without answers, that is imperative. Paige Benton Brown in her excellent article on singleness says it this way:
“Accepting singleness, whether temporary or permanent, does not hinge on speculation about answers God has not given to our list of whys, but rather on celebration of the life he has given. I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to possibly deserve a husband, nor because I am too spiritually mature to possibly need one. I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is his best for me. It is a cosmic impossibility that anything could be better for me right now than being single. The psalmists confirm that I should not want, I shall not want, because no good thing will God withhold from me.”
So I will continue to struggle with singleness because I love my friends and yearn for the Lord answer prayers for marriage. However, when I struggle I will also choose to stand firm in the knowledge and belief that God is good no matter what. And in the meantime, I will also continue to pray for dear friends and many others who are living fully for Jesus while waiting for the Lord to answer our prayers.
For more reflections on singleness click here.
For Paige’s full article “Singled Out for Good” click here.