I hosted a small group of singles in my home this past winter. My friend, who took the lead in our discussions, posed a question asking what their experiences had been to be tagged with the single status. Nobody had anything good to report. They had felt shame, loss, embarrassment, and lots of pressure. It was the last thing on earth anyone wanted to be.
As I listened behind the grief in their exclamations I heard the tender voice of Jesus whisper to my heart, “To despise your singleness is to despise intimacy with Me.”
I think Paul casts a right light upon this time in our lives, “… if you do not have a wife, do not seek to get married… I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.” (1Cor 7: 27-32) I understand Paul’s concern here is the persecution at hand and what would be wise within those circumstances. However, I do believe the plea to not live your singleness preoccupied with getting married is also a timeless wisdom. To live in tension of marital desire and yet free from its concern is but a small window of time we get to offer to Jesus like no other time in our lives.
If you desire marriage, you will never within your life time, get another chance to experience the depths of God as a never married person. After singleness ends you will have opportunities to experience His depths in marriage, possibly as a parent and or a grandparent, and eventually as widowed if you’re the last to go. These succeeding blessings are equal in value but not experience. Jesus stands by waiting to give your never married status an experience in Him that provoke onlookers unto a holy jealously. Unfortunately our preoccupation with the lack of a mate makes no one jealous for Him. Our preoccupation propels us into the company of misery. All the while, Jesus stands along the sidelines aching to pour out a love into our emptiness that no one else can give in such a time as this time in our lives.
Very few people aspire to grow up to be a never married person. I think it’s safe to say most of us grow up with a desire to marry. Rightfully so, we were made for love and to illustrate the mystery of the love of the Bride and the Bridegroom. Unfortunately, culture works overtime shaming the single status. When we value what culture values we prostitute the purity of our hearts and eventually our bodies in hunting for mates, healing from the failures, and using the “lesson” to strategize our next approach. We throw Paul’s wisdom to the wind. We look at our once in a lifetime opportunity and cash it in for a preoccupation with marriage instead of Jesus. What a waste of our potential to knowing Him in this status. What a waste of the grace He wants to give to equips us for the holy matrimony He has been keeping in mind for us.
Waiting upon the Lord in our singleness is our once-in-a-lifetime chance to become preoccupied with Him without the added concerns a beautiful romance promises to bring. It’s our chance to be unhindered in the experience of what it means biblically “to wait’ upon the Lord: kawa; to become intertwined with Him. It’s in “the wait” where we can be preoccupied with what pleases the Lord, where His love becomes our First Love. First Love, it makes you ready to love unto death the one He makes ready to love you.
The demands of marriage have been proving throughout the decades of divorce that it is a much higher calling than we’ve imagined. How we steward our singleness will be foundational to how we will steward our marriages. If you are preoccupied with “the hunt” because you think you are missing out on something, you are. You are missing out on Him; The One who loved you first. He’s the only One Who has loved you unto death and back again.