To: Todd Wagner (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I have question that I’ve been pondering and praying about for a long while now and wanted to know what your views and interpretations of the Bible concerning singleness are?
More specifically, I am a 36 year old single woman who desperately wants to have a life partner in a deeply devoted Christian husband and of course children. I’ve always wanted a big family as I’m an only child to older parents and have a very small family. I always pictured myself getting married and having children, but I question if it’s in the cards for me.
Now, I know that Paul had written about marriage and staying single if it’s at all possible in I Corinthians 7 and I do realize that as a single, I’m able to do many of the things that married people cannot. I have the capacity to put more of myself into service for the Lord, get closer to Him and that my ministry can be much more than if I had a husband and kids.
My question is this: If God has a plan for me NOT to get married, wouldn’t I be wired by Him in a way that being single doesn’t bother me? I heard it preached at my former church singles group that for a very few people…those not meant to be married, that God would instill in them the capacity to not be concerned with whether or not they will get married…that they wouldn’t long for it like most of the population does. Do you think that is true? Is it true that if I weren’t meant to be married that God would sustain me and that I would have a peace about it?
I ask because I don’t have a peace about it. I’m also no spring chicken and wrestling with this matter a lot. On top of it all, I don’t think I’ve ever had past a 2nd date with a man. Am I meant to live my life single? Is this addressed in anymore detail within the Bible?
Your feedback concerning this matter would be greatly appreciated. I’m striving to get into the Word, to sit at the feet of Jesus and I know that He’s truly all that I need, but the want for a family can’t be shaken.
Thank you in advance for your counsel,
From: Todd Wagner
So encouraging to read your email and see you seeking understanding in this as we should in all things. I am sure you have already asked your community group their thoughts and what the Lord has already said to us about these things in His word. (if not I would beg you to stop reading here….see what y’all can come up with on your own and then take a peek at some of my thoughts.
Here are a couple of biblical truths I would share with you on this topic and additionally would love for y’all to meet with Cynthia Culver and let her share with you her own reflection on God’s word related to your question.
1. The Lord does not promise us a removal of all desires that He won’t fully satisfy on earth.
He does promise us peace and joy as we abide with Him. Desiring to be married does not mean you will marry anymore that desiring to be healthy (or believing you will be healthy) does not mean you are going to get healthy. It doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t guarantee.
There are plenty of people who want something God is perfectly okay with who will never receive it. There are plenty of married people that desire to not be married anymore or that desire to feel differently about their spouse that the Lord fully expects to stay right where they are loving, cherishing and honoring Him all the way to the end.
It is a mistake to think the Lord will take away our desires if they are not going to be satisfied. (Matt 26:39, 2 Cor 12:7-9) It is TRUE and worthy of full acceptance to believe that while the Lord does not always take away desire He does give us the ability, as we abide in Him, to master our flesh, not be ruled by our feelings/desire and to live with joy, peace and fullness of life despite our circumstance. (Phil 4:19)
2. It is always wise to focus on heeding the admonition of Matthew 6:33.
In other words, it is always wise to seek the Lord not a man/relationship/wife. You may have heard me say the first thing I tried to teach my little girls is to reject the lie that anyone or anything other than Jesus can satisfy you. Desiring a husband or wife is fine. Seeking one above our pursuit, satisfaction in or intimacy with the Savior is not.
3. There is nothing wrong with desiring to be married if you are single (or having the desire when you are married to periodically wish you were single.)
However, there is something terribly wrong with having our longing for a specific human circumstance/condition cripple our joy or effectiveness where we are. There are millions of people, single and married who long for something different.
What makes God’s people unique among the living is their “peace which passes understanding” (Phil 4:6-7), their ability to be content in every circumstance” (Phil 4:11), their steadfast peace (Isaiah 26:3), their strength to endure what others cannot (Ps 71, verses 1-9 specifically); their confidence that the Lord has not forgotten them and their ability to run and remain faithful when others are weary. (Isaiah 40:27-31). People who praise Him in the storm are heroes of the faith, a great glory to the Father and a source of wonder, light and potential salvation to others.
What else could we want?
4. It is okay that it is hard and it is okay to share with our loving heavenly Father that we long for a different circumstance (Ps 13).
It is not okay to believe our “hard” path gives us the right to surrender or become bitter. It is not okay to feel entitled. One of my favorite sayings is appropriate here, “Worry is believing God is not going to get it right, bitterness and despair is believing God got it wrong. Joy is believing God is sovereign, good, faithful and lovingly and intimately acquainted with your ways.”
It is okay to know that we live in a less then perfect world with less than perfect circumstances. It is not okay to quit fixing our hope on the King or to stop seeking satisfaction only in Him (Matt 6:32-34; 1 Tim 6:6-8).
5. God does not want us to travel on this journey with unmet desires, “needs”, bad health, or less then perfect circumstances alone.
The enemy loves to mock us in our singleness, bad health, bad circumstance, bad marriage, bad boss, injustice, hunger, etc.. (Matt 4:1-3.) God loves to comfort us with His people (Hebrews 3:13, Gal 6:2, 1 Thess 5:14, Romans 12:10-15, Hebrews 10:24-25).
Share with trusted brothers and sisters your pains, hurts, fears and longings. Let them pray for you. Walk with others. Depend on the Lord AND all His means of grace for you. (Matt 26:36-39).
6. This one is delicate. Do you know why you are still single?
TRUE: Some people are single because that is just the way it is today.
ALSO TRUE: Some people are single for other reasons. Some have unrealistic expectations related to a suitable mate.
Note: The 4th person of the Trinity is not on Christian mingle…quit looking for him.
Note: That girl that was discipled by Mother Theresa and turned down the job Heidi Klum got because she had to keep training to defend her Cross fit title and finish her third rewrite of her Old Testament commentary/walkthrough is not at your church or eharmony and she would not be interested in you anyway even if she was, so come back to earth, take a selfie and join the rest of us.
Some people are single because they are not ready to be in a relationship. Part of the means of grace the Lord gives us is friends who tell us the truth.(Proverbs 27:5-6) Do you know…I mean really know yourself? Are you needy? (that scares everyone) Are you awkward? (that is just awkward) Have you dealt with your hurts, habits, hang-ups? Any relationship is only as healthy as the least healthy person in it. You might be single because you need to be single.
Radically, relentlessly, daily, biblically deal with your pain, insecurity, anger, hopelessness and neediness. Some people are single and God’s grace is sufficient for them. Some people are single because God is gracious to others. Know which one you are. (Ps 139:23-24). Pray for friends that will be as honest with you as Simon Cowell was to those who auditioned on American idol, pray for friends who are as gentle with you as a mother is to a nursing babe and pray for friends who persevere with you as much as father would trying to save the life of his child. Pray you have these friends…especially ones like Simon.
7. Lengthen your patience don’t lower your standards.
A bad marriage is infinitely worse than your worst day as a single person. Till death do us part is a long time. (Prov 20:25; Eccl 5:1-2)
I know a lot of people who were sure they wanted/needed nothing more than to get married who quickly realized once married, how wrong they were. If you want to be rash, impulsive, or move forward without knowledge then don’t be mad at God when you are married without joy. (Prov 19:2-3). Don’t marry anyone who is not already well married to Jesus. If they are not faithful to Him, they won’t be faithful to you. (2 Cor 6:14)
Praying for you and know I am full of admiration for you if you are one of the Lord’s servants who is seeking Him with all their heart and yet still single for reasons neither your community can figure out.
I hope this email exchange gives you hope and encouragement. I also enjoy hearing any feedback / questions you may have after reading this post, so be sure to leave a comment below and let me know what you think!