Delivered From All My Fears

Jeannie found herself staring at the digital numbers on her alarm clock once again. The luminous red lines forming the numbers which indicated it was three in the morning looked all too familiar. It seemed that her fears had no respect for her need for sleep, or the fact that in a few short hours she would be needing to face another stressful day at work.

“Why can’t I shake this feeling?” Jeannie sighed, as she tried settling herself into a different position for the seemingly hundredth time that night. But try as she might to stop them, the same thoughts paraded themselves repeatedly through her still wide-awake mind.

Jeannie had recently turned 35. Her life wasn’t what she’d anticipated it would be at this point in her life. She’d recently experienced the shattered dreams of a relationship she’d thought was finally “the one”. She felt close to her family, but they all lived several hours away. In spite of having many friends and finding herself busily involved in one social event after another throughout her twenties, all but one of those friends had married and were now busy raising families. Her job kept her busy but wasn’t all that interesting or challenging. Last, but certainly not least, the church she was attending just didn’t seem to have a clue about what her life was like as a single person.

But far worse than all these factors in her life was the fear that seemed to be gripping her lately. She just couldn’t seem to shake it. It was a fear that this alone feeling would only get worse; after all, she’d never expected it to last this long.

Jeannie is a fictional character, but she certainly isn’t unusual, even though she feels like no one else in all the world is experiencing life like she is. In all reality, many are gripped with similar circumstances and with a similar fear. Their circumstances may be a bit different: perhaps they are divorced or widowed; they may be raising children alone, or feeling burdened with paying child support as a result of a divorce they’d never chosen. They may be older, or younger. They may be male instead of female. Their fears may be a little different, but they revolve around the fact that they are alone. Many different fears can grip those who face life without a partner:

  • fear of physical harm and danger
  • fear of commitment in any kind of relationship, or to a church, because of an underlying fear of being hurt, misunderstood, and rejected
  • fear of lack of finances or job stability
  • fear of handling the responsibilities for a home, job, children, aging parents, and so on without someone to help bear the burden
  • fear of making decisions without input and support from someone else

Many, many singles learn to face these fears with the Lord’s help, and to successfully handle life alone. On the other side of these fears they become strong, confident and vivacious people, having much to contribute to the lives of those around them. I know numerous such individuals who are a constant blessing and inspiration to everyone who knows them. But the process of getting there can be terrifying for many, and may cause many sleepless nights as Jeannie experienced.

Most of these fears stem from the fact that most people don’t expect to face life alone. Sometimes it is a gradual realization (friends marry one by one), or a sudden one (a spouse dies or leaves, or a friendship changes or ends). As it becomes more and more evident that, for at least a period of unknown time, life will not be as had been anticipated, one needs to adjust his or her approach for living it. Each person will work this out a bit differently based on their personality, preferences and circumstances. Some will learn to live alone and enjoy it, others will find a housemate or two. Some will settle into a group of friends who become like family, others will get more involved in their churches, or in their extended families.

But, you may be asking, at the moment when I find myself gripped with fear, what do I do? Moving beyond fear is not easy, but it is possible; furthermore, it is necessary in order to live the purposeful, productive, and abundant lives God has intended for us. There are several steps to take:

First, define the actual fear. Is what you are fearing something which is still many years down the road, such as growing old alone? Is it something which is highly unlikely, such as being homeless or jobless or deathly ill and no one caring at all? Is it something seemingly insignificant but at the same time terrifying, like not having someone to be with on a weekend night, or finding a mouse in your house, or being alone in a thunderstorm in the middle of the night?

Some fears are over events that may not happen for many years. Realize that many things could change in the meantime, including your perspective of them, the people who may be in your life that aren’t now, and so on. Many people mistakenly think that having children will guarantee they’ll never be alone in their old age, but that is not necessarily the case. The only guarantee and security anyone has for the future is the Lord, and when we have a relationship with Him, we can rest in His assurance that He will never leave us nor forsake us. The Bible reminds us to not covet the “security” someone else may have, but to rely solely on Him and His promises: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb. 13:5).

The fears of events which will occur today or in the near future also need to be put into perspective. Not having someone to be with on a Saturday night may not be your first preference, but it gives the opportunity to learn to enjoy certain activities you wouldn’t otherwise: a cozy evening with a good book and a hot cup of tea; a drive in the country with the windows rolled down, talking with the Lord all the while; or tackling a new project or hobby.

Secondly, look the fear straight in the face. What is the worst thing that could happen if your fear came true? If it does happen, what is a course of action you could take? Who could you turn to if you were truly desperate? Is your relationship with the Lord strong enough that you can turn to Him in times of need?

Having a plan in case the worst of your fears comes true helps to dissipate the fear itself, as does defining those people in your life who truly do care about you, even though you may be currently out of touch with them. Sometimes these kinds of fears can motivate people to reconnect with family members or with an old friend. They may also be motivators to establish new friendships and to become involved in other people’s lives. Fears often help people to realize that their relationship with the Lord is lacking, and that they don’t know how to turn to Him in a crisis. If you find that this is the case for yourself, start right now by picking up your Bible and learning how to talk with your Heavenly Father about anything and everything. This, too, is a process, but a much-needed one.

Another way to look fear in the face is to tell someone else about it — preferably someone who will also continue to pray for you and with you until that fear is conquered.

Third, recognize other factors which may be contributing to your fears. If you find that fear grips you most strongly at night, remember this: Don’t listen to your fears in the middle of the night! This is the time of day when life’s problems seem bigger and scarier than they actually are. Realizing that you are most likely perceiving them out of proportion to reality may help you to lay them aside for the night while you get some sleep. Be in tune with other things which may be causing fears to run rampant. For ladies this may very well be caused by their monthly cycles. Other contributing factors can be the weather, the season of the year, and simply being hungry, tired, stressed, etc. A good night’s sleep, regular exercise, and eating nutritiously can contribute much to our general sense of well-being.

Finally, know what God’s Word says about fear. Knowing the Lord and His Word is the number one ammunition against fear. If we have a relationship with the God of the universe through His Son, Jesus Christ, we are truly never alone nor without aid. Reading, memorizing, and meditating on Scripture passages will give you an anchor to turn to when you find yourself in fear’s grip. Start with such passages as Psalm 23, 34, 91, and Romans 8. Eventually you will be able to say with the Psalmist, “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psa. 34:4).

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Does My Life Really Matter?

By Fern Horst

It’s just so awful! I can’t believe she’s dead! And she had a husband and four small children left without her. Why couldn’t it have been someone without a family?”

We often hear such sentiments expressed after young husbands or wives are killed in an accident, or an illness or disease shortens their lives. It seems obvious that such individuals’ lives had purpose, and that their deaths leave a void in other peoples’ lives.

Many singles wonder what they’re alive for if they aren’t going to have the responsibilities of a spouse and children. It’s a horrible feeling — that sense deep down that if you weren’t here it wouldn’t make much of a difference, and that perhaps it may even be better for some people if you weren’t around.

But that feeling is a lie. Even if someone has told you that, or several people have, or it was implied by an unthoughtful comment, it’s still a lie. Because the One who created you, who gave you life, and continues to sustain that life, has a completely different perspective. Not one of us could be here without Him, nor continue to have life without Him. As long as He gives us life, He has a purpose for our lives. It is a very limited perspective which says that only those who are married, or who have children, or have whatever else we may think makes people important, are significant and have purpose.

If you doubt that you are significant and have a purpose for being here, or the fact that the Lord of the Universe loves you and wants you, take a second look at this story, and what He did for you.

In the beginning

In the very beginning everything was perfect. God made a man and a woman in His image and without sin. They didn’t think any negative thoughts towards each other, or say unkind words, or have any capacity to hurt each other. Their world was perfect. (How much do we as singles long for such perfection in relationships!) Adam and Eve lived in a beautiful garden where there were no weeds or death of any kind. Everything grew in abundance without their needing to work for it. Since God created them to live forever, their bodies were perfect; they never got sick and their bodies showed no signs of aging. Perhaps most wonderful of all, they had a close relationship with God and were able to speak with Him. There was nothing to cause them to doubt Him or His love for them. Their world was complete: they had God, and they had each other — a scenario most humans long for but don’t have.

Sin enters the picture

But unfortunately this perfect picture did not last long. Satan soon tempted Eve and Adam to eat the one fruit in the garden God had told them not to. As soon as they did, the perfectness of their relationship with God and with each other was destroyed. They started blaming each other rather than realizing their own wrong-doing. The beginning of difficulty between the sexes had begun. Their entire wonderful world was shattered and death became a reality. No longer would they or the plants and animals live forever on earth.

The gap

Immediately Adam and Eve desperately tried to make things right again. They suddenly realized they were naked and tried to clothe themselves. They felt terribly guilty and tried to hide from God in order to escape His displeasure with them. Today, people are still desperately trying to fill that gap between themselves and God. Because God created us to be in a relationship with Him, a big void remains when we aren’t. Some people try to fill that emptiness with doing good things — going to church, helping the homeless, having good morals, and trying to live a good life. Other people try to cover up the emptiness by looking for a relationship, having sex, or binging on food, alcohol, drugs — anything that will help to distract them from the emptiness.

God provides a Bridge

The only way to fill that void in our hearts, and to bridge the gap between ourselves and God, is to accept the “Bridge” God provided for us to reach Him. That Bridge is Jesus Christ, His death on a cross, and His resurrection from the dead. When Jesus died on the cross, He died to pay for our sins. In doing so, He made a way so that if we accept what He did as payment for our sins, then we can have a relationship with God. When Jesus rose from the dead, He conquered the finality of death, so that if we accept Him as our Lord, we will also someday conquer death and pass over into heaven and live with Him for eternity. Whether or not we ever get all that we wish for here — a spouse and children, personal fulfillment, a prestigious job — we can now have what is most important for eternity.

Proof of God’s love

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not someone loves you or wants you, or whether your life is really important, remind yourself of this story. Jesus actually died for you, going through terrible emotional and physical suffering, so that you can have a relationship with God, and so that you won’t suffer throughout eternity after we die. Because He has a purpose for every person, He did this for everyone, not just a select few.

If you’ve never accepted Christ as your Saviour, nor known the great love and purpose He has for you, please don’t live another moment with that emptiness that only He can fill.

How to make this choice for yourself

First, acknowledge to God that you have sinned and ask His forgiveness.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Second, believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins on the cross and rose from the dead in order to save you from the separation from God that your sin has created.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Then, by prayer invite Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Saviour, to control your life through His Holy Spirit. If you’ve already done this, but realize you are not allowing Him to be Lord of your life, repent of your unwillingness to follow Him at all costs, and resubmit your heart to Him.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)

God’s purpose for your life

Whether you’ve just accepted Christ as your Saviour, or did so years ago, God has a special purpose for your life. This purpose isn’t dependent on your marital status, or whether you have children, or whether you have a prestigious job or position, or whether anyone else recognizes that you have value.

The number one purpose we have, and which supersedes and encompasses every other purpose God gives us, is to bring Him glory. We bring Him glory by living a life which is pleasing to Him, and we know what is pleasing to Him by reading and knowing His Word, the Bible. This can be anything from helping someone (“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of ChristGalatians 6:2), to fulfilling the command Jesus gave to us before He went back to heaven to prepare a place for us there: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).

This purpose as Christians to bring God glory can take many different forms, and our own personalities, interests, abilities, opportunities, situations, and so on all factor into how we fulfill this purpose. But the important thing is that we make this our number one purpose in life, and that all our decisions and thoughts and actions and words and attitudes revolve around this purpose to which He has called us:

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Ephesians 1:11-12)Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:31)

If you’re still tempted to think that no one wants you, or that your life doesn’t have purpose, or that it doesn’t matter that you exist, think through these things again. Remember, Jesus loves you so much that He died a tortuous and agonizing death for you. Your Heavenly Father loves you so much that He planned this way for you to have a personal relationship with Him, by sending His own Son, Jesus, to die. Now that you have accepted this wonderful act of love for you, He has given you an important mission: to use your unique combination of personality and abilities and so on (which no one else has but you) to bring glory to the God who created you and loves you deeply.

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False Assumptions, Part I

By Fern Horst

other day I happened to notice several Christian romance novels on my bookshelf that have somehow survived my ruthless disposals of what I’ve considered worthless reads. I turned one over to read the description on the back cover, and once again realized why I’ve abandoned reading most romantic Christian fiction. It read:

The straight-laced little town of Roslyn was shocked when Victoria Gracen welcomed young Dick into her home. What would a gentle, lovely young woman want with a reckless trouble-maker? Especially one who had no plans to reform. So when Victoria tried to tame the boy’s wild ways with tenderness and faith, no one believed she’d succeed. But they hadn’t counted on one thing: only a heart of steel could resist Victoria Gracen!

Sounds like a fun summer vacation read, doesn’t it? But if we take a closer look at the message presented in even this short description, we catch a glimpse of the subtle messages that encourage false expectations in our lives.

The basic subliminal message of this particular book is that if a woman is gentle and lovely enough, she will inspire the most unreformed among men to change his ways in order to win her heart. In reality, if a “gentle, lovely young woman” wants to go down a path of heartache and pain, this is a sure route to get there. Most people don’t reform for other people, gentle and lovely as the other person may be.

If a young woman saturates her mind with such novels, a build-up of expectations results. If she doesn’t win the heart of the hardened young man she has set her affections on, is it because she was not lovely enough, or because she didn’t have what it takes to inspire a man to change his ways in order to have her as his prize?

Novels aren’t the only conduits of such false messages. Movies, advertisements, and even Christian materials often present the assumptions that if we are good enough in some aspect, then the ultimate happiness of marriage will be ours.

If our expectations for marriage are based on false assumptions, they will become a tyrant in our lives, controlling our emotions, coloring our perspective, and eventually leaving us disillusioned, disappointed, and — worst of all — ineffective in fulfilling God’s purposes for us. Many of these false assumptions center around supposed formulas that if we do “A” and “B”, God will bless us with “C” (marriage). There is no such guaranteed equation. The logical conclusions reached from such assumptions if “C” isn’t delivered, leaves individuals with many questions about their faith, about God and His promises, and about how He relates to us as humans.

Let’s take a closer at these false assumptions.

False Assumption #1: If we reach a state of contentment and acceptance of our singleness, God will give us marriage

One of my friends and I often laugh (and inwardly groan) every time we hear a married person say that just as they became content with singleness, God gave them a mate. I have no doubt that these individuals were in a season of contentment when they met the person they married. But I don’t believe for a minute that it was their contentment that moved God to send a spouse their way. God calls us to contentment in whatever state we find ourselves, and it’s not so He can remove us from the situation. If contentment and acceptance of singleness is a prerequisite for getting married, there would be many individuals married who are now single, and there would be many single who are now married.

False Assumption #2: Marriage is the reward of being the “right” person and doing the “right” thing

The subliminal message of much teaching surrounding dating and courtship is if you do things God’s way, He will give you the best: a wonderful marriage to a wonderful spouse. God will indeed bless us when we live life as He has instructed us. However, He is the Chooser of what His blessings will be. Many times the result of living right does not immediately appear to be the “best” that we desired. But we must trust God to lovingly choose what He knows is best for fulfilling His purposes for us and meeting our needs.

Much of the pain we have over finding ourselves single when we thought we wouldn’t be, comes from viewing our status as being evidence of our not having done something right, when just the opposite is often true! Many times the reason someone is single is because they made good choices to not marry someone whom they knew was not in the Lord’s will for them to marry.

Marriage is not God’s reward, nor is singleness God’s punishment. Both are a means of accomplishing His purposes. We may have a strong preference of one over the other, but from God’s perspective one is not better than the other, nor is our marital status an indication of His favor or lack of it.

False Assumption #3: If God wants us to remain single, He will remove our desire to be married

I have heard this taught by well-known speakers and authors, but none of them were single. Young people are told that if they have the desire to marry, they will; or that if they struggle with sexual desires, that they do not have the “gift” of singleness.

The truth of the matter is that sexual desires and the desire to marry are an inherent part of every human, unless physically or emotionally something has happened to hinder those desires. Those who are single all their lives and live pure lives are those who have made the choice daily to accept God’s grace to deny the fulfillment of those desires. Many life-long singles live their entire lives with every sexual desire intact, though by God’s grace they have remained chaste.

Though the supposed easy way out of the battle of sexual desires would be to get married to anyone who was willing, many would also have to lay aside being equally yoked spiritually, mentally, and emotionally in order to do so. Most singles realize that such a risk is not worth it simply for the sake of sexual release. Again, singleness is often the evidence of having made wise choices. It is not in and of itself an indicator that the person is undesirable, unable to commit, or has made some awful mistake which has prevented them from marrying.

False Assumption #4: Since God promises to give us the desires of our heart, then anyone who desires to get married will eventually marry.

Many have become disillusioned and disappointed that God hasn’t fulfilled “promises” He never promised to fulfill. God does indeed give us the desires of our heart, but only if they are in line with His. If we desire something that He has commanded that we shouldn’t have, or that He sees is better that we don’t have, He will not give us that desire of our heart.

As we saturate ourselves with God’s Word, we learn what His desires are for our lives. His ways are higher than our ways, and His Kingdom is one that doesn’t fit in with the focus of self-fulfillment of our culture. The longing we have for perfect circumstances in which to live, for all our desires to be fulfilled, and to have it all, is an indication that we are eternal beings longing for heaven. When we learn to be content with less than heaven while we live on earth, life here gets a little easier.

It is never wrong to pray for a spouse if we are free to marry. But as in all things we ask the Lord for, our prayers should be with the realization that He knows what is best and will give us His best if we let Him. In our limited perspective what we think is best may not be. Our deepest desire should be for what God wants, whatever that is, not a specific something such as marriage. A better prayer would be to ask God to meet our needs and fulfill His purposes for us, in whatever way He chooses. God did indeed initiate marriage, and it truly is a good plan. But it is not the only thing He initiated and not the only good plan He has for His children.

False Assumption #5: Since God wants me to be happy, He will provide a mate for me.

God does indeed have good gifts for His children, and He wants us to be happy. But He wants us to derive our happiness from our relationship with Him, not from the gifts He gives us. Marriage is a good gift, but it is not always God’s best for every individual. We need to keep the mentality that it is not we who determine what God will give us, just as we do not demand to our friends and family exactly what gifts they should give us.

The answer for those who are unhappy in their singleness is not marriage, just as the answer for those who are unhappy in their marriages is not singleness (nor marriage to someone else). God calls us to “endure” joyfully. He doesn’t promise to rescue us out of our circumstances, but He does promise to rescue us from our misery if we let Him.

Misery is not necessarily a bad thing. It often reveals that our thinking about our lives is not in line with God’s. It also reveals at times that we are living in sin. I have also found it to indicate a lack of submission on my part to what God wants me to be focusing on right now. The amazing thing is that when we give up all rights to our human desires, God fills us with joy and fulfillment that transcends the circumstance in which we find ourselves. Our humanness will always cry out in protest to undesirable situations, but if we keep our desires in line with His, our primary experience will be contentment in Him. What are His desires for us? Primarily a close relationship with Him, which is possible whether we are married or single, and that we spend our lives for Him.

Continue to False Assumptions, Part II

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False Assumptions, Part II

By Fern Horst

In Part I, we looked at five false assumptions we tend to have regarding marriage and singleness. We stated, “If our expectations for marriage are based on false assumptions, they will become a tyrant in our lives, controlling our emotions, coloring our perspective, and eventually leaving us disillusioned, disappointed, and — worst of all — ineffective in fulfilling God’s purposes for us.” The first five False Assumptions were:

  1. If we reach a state of contentment and acceptance of our singleness, God will give us marriage;
  2. Marriage is the reward of being the “right” person and doing the “right” thing;
  3. If God wants us to remain single, He will remove our desire to be married;
  4. Since God promises to give us the desires of our heart, then anyone who desires to get married will eventually marry;
  5. Since God wants me to be happy, He will provide a mate for me.

We looked at the reasons each of these False Assumptions are false, and what God’s truth is regarding each one. We will continue in Part II with five more False Assumptions.

False Assumption #6: If a young person prepares well for marriage, God will give them a spouse.

Marriage does not automatically happen just because someone is well prepared for marriage. And just because someone marries, does not mean they were well prepared for marriage. Our focus and the purpose of our lives should be to live a pure and holy life for the Lord. If a spouse enters the picture at some point, we will be well prepared for marriage. But marriage is not the primary aspect we should be preparing for in life, nor should it be the primary reason we live a pure and holy life. We need to prepare first and foremost to serve the Lord, and live pure lives out of obedience to Him. We need to be absolutely sure that God gets our primary focus, not our desire for marriage or anything else.

There are many singles who would make excellent spouses and parents. However, many of the characteristics that make individuals good spouses and parents also make them valuable in other roles as well. God may purpose for some of these gifted individuals to be single so that they touch more people’s lives than is possible within a family setting.

False Assumption #7: Everyone who marries has been given that spouse from the Lord.

While every good gift is from the Lord, God has also created us with a free will. We choose to marry or not marry, and those choices are not always what the Lord would have led us to choose. Someone wanting to marry us is no more indication that the Lord provided that person for us than someone agreeing to be partners with us in crime is indication that God provided that person to assist us in crime. Our feelings for someone or something are not an indicator in and of themselves of what the Lord wants to give us.

It is important that we consider carefully those who show an interest in us (or those we take an interest in), rather than just assuming that because they are available God has put them in our path for us to marry. God may very well have put them in our lives for a reason, but not necessarily for marriage. God provides many relationships in our lives both for our benefit and theirs, and we need to learn to value each one for what they are, not look at each one as a potential life mate.

False Assumption #8: God has someone picked out for each person to marry

This is obviously not true just in light of the fact that there is not an equal number of men and women on the face of the earth at one time. Add to that the requirement for us as Christians to “marry in the Lord” and to not be “unequally yoked” and the right options for marriage get slimmer. But more than that, both Jesus and the Apostle Paul indicated that God desires for some of His chosen to be single in order that we focus primarily on Him and His work without the distraction of marriage.

Many people quote Genesis 2:24, “It is not good for man to be alone” to claim as God’s promise that He intends for everyone to be married. However, none of us today are in Adam’s situation where he was the only human being on the face of the earth. Companionship with other humans is available to us in various forms that were not available to Adam. God made us as people to need each other, but that doesn’t mean that we need to be married in order to not be alone or to be a support and helpmeet to each other.

False Assumption #9: if I pray and ask Him, God will tell me whether or not I am to marry, and who I am to marry.

Many people have thought that God told them they would marry, or that they would marry a certain person, only to be disappointed. Feelings are extremely fickle. It is easy to imagine that God “told” us something when it is only our own wishful thinking.

We may wish that God would just tell us whether or not we will some day marry. But He doesn’t reveal information just to satisfy our curiosity. In rare situations He reveals information about the future when He knows that an individual needs additional information in order to make a specific decision.

But generally we need to make our decisions based on the information we have now, and not make assumptions about the future that are not guaranteed. Looking for a guarantee or special revelation from the Lord when He has not chosen to give it to us can be disastrous. We can read into all kinds of things messages from the Lord that are only our wishful thoughts.

It is important that we not put our lives on hold because marriage isn’t currently a viable choice. We need to commit our future to God and make decisions according to what we know now, not what we wish for the future.

False Assumption #10: If a person is going to be single for the rest of their lives, they will know that they are “called” to celibacy and singleness.

This may be true in certain circumstances, but not most. Actually, those who know they will be single the rest of their lives are those who have chosen celibacy in light of who God has created them to be and do in His Kingdom. I have heard numerous lifelong singles say that they never felt called to singleness. However, as they went through life concentrating on what God had given them to do, they slowly came to realize that singleness was the best state in which to accomplish these tasks, and that marriage would have been a hindrance in that regard.

Many singles waste their lives away being sure that marriage is just around the corner because they haven’t yet “felt called” to singleness. The truth of the matter is that if we are single, then singleness is our calling at least for now. Marriage may be our calling tomorrow, but for today it is singleness.

Why We Are Single

The reality of life is that the answer to why some marry and some remain single (even when they would prefer marriage) is elusive. There is no one answer that fits every situation. The reason someone is single is usually complex, involving more than just one reason. A quest for why we are not married is usually counterproductive. The most important thing is to not try and figure out what the magical solution is that will cause God to do what we want, or even to try and second guess what our futures may hold. We need to make the most of living for Christ in the situation we are in, whether we are married or single, realizing that each one is equally important for serving the Lord

So no matter the reason for our singleness, it is much more important that we grasp hold of the opportunities available to us in our singleness, than it is to try and figure out why we are single or why we can’t find someone to marry. Often times the answers to our questions come as we live life, not as we sit and analyze ourselves to death.

Adjusting our False Assumptions with Truth

In order to avoid disillusionment with ourselves and with God, we need to replace our false assumptions with His truth. These truths need to be at the heart of what we believe about God, about ourselves, and about His working in our lives.

In order to have realistic expectations that do not become tyrants to our minds and emotions, they need to be placed under the Lordship of Christ and be in keeping with His purposes for our lives. The first step in doing this is realizing who is Lord and who is the servant. It is when we get these roles turned around, and assume that God exists to make us happy, that we become bitter and angry people.

Our whole expectation for fullness of life should be placed directly in the Lord Himself. We should take as our example the Psalmist who said, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him” (Psalms 62:5). God wants us to acknowledge our desires to Him, and to ask Him to fulfill them if He sees best. But in the end our expectation should be in Him, not in the fulfillment of our request. When our expectations are in Him, we can then treasure what He gives us because it is from Him.

God does not guarantee to grant our expectations and desires if they are not in line with His desires. We don’t always know what His desires are; what may seem good to us may be detrimental in ways we are unable to see right now. Those desires which we don’t know whether He wants to fulfill or not must be held lightly, offered up to Him, and willing to be completely sacrificed if we realize they are contrary to His desires for us.

The desires which we know are His will for us, and which we can ask for in confidence include a closer walk with Him, being used in His Kingdom and service, a deeper sense of His love, knowing our significance in Him, finding our security in Him, the ability to share Him with others, etc. God will give us His best, there’s no doubt about that, if we are open and willing to receive it. He has promised His best, and to not expect it is to doubt who He is and what He says. When we tell Him what is best for us and demand it, we are setting ourselves over Him in thinking we know better than He does. We are worthy of nothing from Him, but because He loves us and because we are His children, we can be sure that He will give us all that we need and more. Unless we see our unworthiness and His worthiness, His Lordship and our servanthood, we will become resentful when life doesn’t serve up what we had wished.

The blessing in my life has come from not holding onto a “promise” that God will someday fulfill my desires for marriage and a family, but that He will fulfill His purposes for me and that heaven will be the place and the time when all my deepest desires and longings will be fulfilled. I can live with unfulfilled longings here, knowing that it is temporary, and that heaven is my true home where I will lack nothing. Therefore it is not a tragedy to not have certain desires met here. Often God has a purpose for unfulfilled desires, perhaps in making us better able to understand others and minister to them.

Living life well in any case is learning a balance — and in the case of singles desiring to be married but with no opportunities in sight, the balance is often a difficult one. It means learning to hold blessing and pain in our hands at the same time, desire and unfulfillment, joy and sorrow, life and death, and so on—and being content in the process.

Learning to say, “Yes, Lord!”

I wonder if, after hearing all that we have to say to Him, the sweetest words to our Heavenly Father are perhaps the simplest ones: “Yes, Lord.” After years of telling the Lord (and sometimes in a rather demanding way) the deepest desires of my heart, I have found that it is those very words of surrender that have in the end brought me closest to the heart of my Heavenly Father. He understands the depths of my longings better than I do myself; but the comfort He gives is most receptive on my part when I simply accept what He’s given me now, with no expectations for what He may give differently in the future.

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