Singleness. I think that every Christian young adult ponders the very nature of this word at one point or another. And while on the outside many of us may claim to be content with the blessings of the single life, I believe that on the inside, many of us can’t seem to come to terms with the utter discontentment that this word so boldly entails.
What is singleness? Is it a blessing? Is it a curse? Or is it both? Now we all know what the “right” answer is – and I am going to have to agree with it. Singleness is a gift from God. A unique season of our lives in which we are blessed to be able to serve God wholeheartedly without distraction. Loneliness, however, a word almost synonymous with singleness, is a curse. Loneliness is a dreadful state of existence which preys on the hearts of those who are longing for something more. It preys and destroys, causing us to think and act in ways that are… were… contrary to our convictions.
The truth is that we’re scared of being by ourselves. If we, as Christians, are not first completely fulfilled in Christ, we will seek other things to satisfy us… including relationships. Now we KNOW that marriage is a beautiful union instituted by God and a remarkable illustration of His relentless love for His very own bride, the church. Marriage is GOOD… let’s just establish that. However, if we are seeking a relationship for the sole purpose of being satisfied… of fulfilling our desire to love and be loved… our relationship and our marriage will become a crutch. I believe that it is very possible to be married to a godly person and be “fulfilling your dream” of raising a godly family and yet still be just as empty as you were when you first pursued that relationship for the sole purpose of satisfying your empty heart.
Being single, may seem like a terrible thing because it forces us to face the depths of the barrenness of our hearts and that is not easy. In fact, it is frightening. But it is a terror that MUST shake our souls, because it is only when this occurs that we will awaken to the desperate and unbending need for Jesus Christ to come and fill the lonely little wrecks that are our hearts.
I seem to have a real big struggle with showing vulnerability. I don’t like admitting when I’m weak and lost. I mean I’ll talk about my struggles but only from the viewpoint that I’ve already been there and conquered. I don’t know why I do it but I’m just realizing that I even do it to God. In my deepest and darkest hours it is then that I run from God the most. I avoid praying because I naively believe that will help me avoid the truth. The truth that I don’t have it all together and I’m confused about so many things. As if there were somewhere that I could hide from God’s presence.
Yet God always calls me back to Him, brings me back to my knees. And in my deepest and darkest hours He doesn’t scold me for running but sympathizes with my failures. He doesn’t reprimand me for turning away from Him but gently reminds me of the riches and the grace that He has laid up for those who fear Him… for those who trust in His name. It is at those moments when I fall and feel too weak to get up, when I am so alone… It is then that I must throw myself upon Christ and cling to Him with the last fiber of strength I have.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’” – Psalm 91:1-2
Can we stop and think for a moment? Think about about a little one. Think about the ever so cute, yet ever so naive hands of a baby. How often they reach for things that they don’t need. If something glistens, if it glows, they want it. Knives, glass, outlets, you name it. They are unaware that sometimes the very thing that they want the most has the power to leave a relentless and unforgiving path of destruction.
Yet thankfully most little ones have a loving parent who has done everything in their power to safeguard those little chunky, baby soft, hands from anything potentially dangerous. And when that little baby manages to sneakingly crawl over and reach for that electric cable, Mr. or Mrs. loved one manages to come just in the nick of time and whisk that baby off to safety. The poor little baby usually won’t be happy with it. No, not at all. They’ll kick and they’ll scream. That was something they wanted… they “needed”… How dare you come and take it from them?
Somehow I find this same scenario playing over in my life time and time again. I am not a baby nor do I have children of my own. I am the one reaching and grabbing for those “perfect” little things. Many times a loving yet firm hand, God’s, will try and steer me away from that thing or remove it from my life all together. And to be honest, I don’t like it. I have convinced myself that the thing is good so why won’t You let me have it? Oh me of little knowledge. When God does this to me… FOR me… it is His way of protecting me against something I don’t need… something potentially destructive. Yet if I never mature in my walk with God and keep acting like a baby, I will fail to ever realize the sweetness of this truth.
“At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.” - C.S Lewis