This Sunday at church, my pastor talked about the will of God. It’s a topic that I’ve thought about countless times during my life- how the creator of the universe imparts His will on everything. Being the selfish and sinful person that I am, I generally think about God’s will in the context of how it impacts my own life. That’s not to say that I don’t also contemplate how God’s will is exerted in other aspects of the universe, but in my day to day life, I often think about what God’s will is and how it will inevitably impact what I do, how I act, and where I go in the future.
While I’m sure that my married friends think about God’s will often as well (seeking His wisdom in things like having a family, changing jobs, and the like), I have always struggled with God’s will in my singleness. I was texting with a friend yesterday who has also been a lifelong single and she was explaining that while she’s been more accepting of her singleness over the past few years, she still struggles with the WHY in her singleness. Why has God kept her single for so long, especially when she’s desired a relationship for most of that time?
From the very first book of the Bible, we read that marriage was created by God and is good (Genesis 2:22-24).
We also see in 1 Corinthians 7:1-2 “…It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman. But because sexual sin is a danger, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.”
So it’s understandable that when something that is God given and the Bible states it is good in God’s eyes to help us refrain from sin, that those of use who don’t have much in our romantic lives would question what God’s will could possibly be in keeping us single.
While the “why” behind God’s will and His plan may always burden our single minds, the truth is that we may never fully understand why God has put us in the season of life that we’re in, this side of heaven. The other thing to remember, though, is that the “what” is just as important for us to think about.
What does God want me to do in this season?
Some of my single friends don’t wait for God to truly answer this question and they take their lives into their own hands by turning to online dating, casual hook ups, and other activities that may take their attention away from what God really wants them to focus on. While there’s nothing inherently wrong or sinful about online dating, it can often become an all consuming idol that we use to distract ourselves. These friends are so hungry to fill the void left inside from not having a significant other that they turn away from or distract themselves from the bread of life in Jesus Christ that was made to truly nourish and fill our souls.
Other single friends have told me that “God told them” that they were meant to meet their future spouse online or that they didn’t need to stay connected to their bible study group or quiet time schedule because He wanted them to focus on finding someone. As my pastor pointed out during his sermon, when God “tells you things” you need to confirm what you think you’re hearing from God with His own word in scripture.
God would never “tell” you to move in with your boyfriend because that goes against all scripture that warns against sexual immorality (and be honest with yourself and God on the reality of fighting that temptation if you were to live together).
“God wants you to be holy and to stay away from sexual sins. He wants each of you to learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.”- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4
“But there must be no sexual sin among you, or any kind of evil or greed.”- Ephesians 5:3
“Marriage should be honored by everyone, and husband and wife should keep their marriage pure. God will judge as guilty those who take part in sexual sins.”- Hebrews 13:4
Need I continue?
Another example could be that God would never “tell” you to focus on finding a girlfriend and ignore or cut back on all of the things that really fill you with His love and His purpose.
John 15:5-6 states “I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing. If any do not remain in me, they are like a branch that is thrown away and then dies. People pick up dead branches, throw them in the fire, and burn them.”
So when you think that you are hearing God tell you what His will for you is, make sure that you fact check yourself with the very real words of God within scripture.
While it’s difficult at times to accept God’s will for your life, when we can surrender those most vulnerable and painful parts of ourselves to Him, we reap greater benefits than if we had tried to do things in our own will. God is with us in our struggle. He knows the pain in our hearts and He desperately wants to fill that hole and soothe the burning desire we have for companionship, if we will allow Him to do so.
Deuteronomy 31:8 reminds us that “the LORD himself will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forget you. Don’t be afraid and don’t worry.”
If we really believe in our hearts that God is our loving Father who sent Jesus to make a way for us to be with Him forever, then why can’t we hold on to the hope that He really does know what He’s doing? When we humble ourselves and put away the expectations that we may have had for our love lives (and life in general) and truly give it to God, we can expect greater things than we could ever have imagined ourselves. While I can’t answer whether your marriage plans are in the cards for your specific situation, I CAN tell you that no matter what, when you truly listen to God and actively follow His plan for your life, you will be filled with more joy than you could ever have hoped for on this side of heaven.