The Gift and Challenge of Singleness

August 2, 2021

“I see now, Lord,” my journal entry reads, “that you are telling me no to yet another boy I dreamed might be my future husband. I do not yet understand this decision, but I pray that you give me clarity and help me to be content in a friendship. Lord, you alone know what is best for me. Help me be content in that. Lord, I beg you, please grow my contentment in you alone.”

I wrote this prayer in desperation to the Lord. I was heartbroken yet again in my hopeful pursuit of a husband and felt myself growing cynical toward the whole situation and especially toward the Lord and His plan for me. Many friends have tried to bring me comfort in biblical promises like Psalm 37:4: “Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” or Psalm 84:11: “…no good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.” I know these words of God are true, but they can feel confusing when I’m aware that my desire to be married is still unfulfilled. 

It is true that the Lord gives us the desires of our hearts and will not withhold one good thing from us, but I am learning that these verses do not necessarily mean God gives us everything we want when we want it. If that were true, I’d have received a puppy for Christmas at least one year of my childhood! I’m learning that these verses are actually pleas for desiring the Lord above all else so that my growing relationship with the Lord will help my desires align with His desires. God does not withhold any good thing from me because God actually knows what is best for me. If He knows that a husband is good for me and his plans for my life, then He will provide a husband. If the Lord sees my singleness as good for me, then I will remain single.  

I’m very aware of how hopeful this whole post sounds and how discontent I so often feel. Many are called to singleness for a period of time or for their whole lives, and this can be difficult. There are many traps that we can stumble into. I deal with discontentment, though I love a Lord who always provides and fulfills. I deal with struggles in purity, even though I have a Savior who has already overcome and never puts me to shame. I deal with feelings of inadequacy, though I serve a God who willingly gives strength and patience to those who ask and need. I deal with the fear of man, though I worship a Father who loves me unconditionally and in all seasons. And I deal with heartbreak, though I serve a Wonderful Counselor who offers goodness and mercy anew every morning.

I ended the prayer I wrote months ago now, pleading, “Lord, help me want you more than a relationship. Help me have hope in whatever future you have for me. Help me believe that wherever I am is where I can bring you the most glory, and help that be enough for me.” 

Undesired singleness is one of the biggest trials I have ever had to face, but ultimately one of the biggest blessings the Lord has given me. I pray that someday I will look back on this time, however long it may be, and see the beautiful work the Lord has done in my life not despite singleness, but because of it.

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