Archive for November 22nd, 2008
A little while ago I wrote about some of the practical things I find helpful as a single woman. In the comments, someone asked for my theological thoughts about the issue of singleness. So, more or less off the top of my head, here they are:
- Marriage and children are great blessings. What does that mean if you’re childless and single? It means you’re missing out. And sometimes that can be really hard.
But it doesn’t make you special. No Christian experiences all of God’s blessings all the time. Married people don’t necessarily experience the blessing of having children. Persecuted Christians may not have the blessing of Christian fellowship. Poor Christians may not have the blessing of owning a bible. They may not even have the blessings of shelter, food and clothing. Single people are not a special category of ‘unblessed Christians’.
It’s okay to want more of God’s blessings. It’s okay to pray for marriage and children (or for freedom, fellowship, the scriptures, food, shelter, clothing and so on). In fact it’s a good thing to do. But be aware that the Lord may have other plans for your life and so…
- Learn to be content. I think this is possibly the most counter-cultural of all the virtues. Everything in our society is geared towards getting what we want, when we want it, which is to say now.
But the bible teaches us to accept the situation that we’re in, trusting that the Lord provides all that we need. Contentment focuses attention on the present, not the future. It’s about being happy with our lot now rather than worrying about the rest of our lives. And it focuses attention on the blessings we do have, rather than the ones we don’t.
- For me, contentment comes most commonly from reflection on God’s sovereignty. All things are as God has intended them, and we know that he works all things for the good of those who love him.
Being single is no accident. The ultimate cause of your singleness is not the lack of eligible men in your church or any defect in your character or appearance. The ultimate cause of your singleness is God. This is what he wants for you, and you can either accept it, trusting that he is good and right in this as in everything, or you can struggle and fight and pit yourself against him. But the reality is that, until and unless God chooses to change your circumstances, they won’t change. If you’re struggling with God in this way, then your willing obedience is a much more pressing issue than your singleness.
- Look forward to your wedding day. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years studying the Song of Songs, and it’s been a wonderful source of joy as I am reminded again and again of the love of our heavenly bridegroom, and share in the anticipation of the final consummation of our marriage. In fact, I think I need another post on ‘Song of Songs for Singles’. Watch this space…