I walked past this quote every day during my sophomore year of college, where someone had posted it on the wall outside of my dorm room. It’s from Elisabeth Elliott’s (wife of slain missionary Jim Elliott) book Quest for Love.
“If you are single today, the portion assigned to you for today is singleness. It is God’s gift. Singleness ought not to be viewed as a problem, nor marriage as a right. God in His wisdom and love grants either as a gift. An unmarried person has the gift of singleness, not to be confused with the gift of celibacy. When we speak of the ‘gift of celibacy,’ we usually refer to one who is bound by vows not to marry. If you are not so bound, what may be your portion tomorrow is not your business today. Today’s business is trust in the living God who precisely measures out, day by day, each one’s portion. Those who long for the gift of marriage can find great peace in the words of Psalm 16:5, receiving one day at a time the divinely apportioned gift of singleness, believing that our Heavenly Father’s love will withhold nothing that is good for us.”
I’ve come back to this quote often since my college days. I admit that I’m not always a glass-half-full kind of person, so sometimes I look to the future and all I see are more days of being single while longing for marriage. That thought only leads to a downward spiral, and before I know it, I’m picturing myself as an 85-year-old lady with a house full of cats and no husband to remind me to put my dentures in.
But I come back to God’s daily provision. Today He’s called me to singleness, and He will give me what I need to be single today. But tomorrow is a new day, and if He calls me to singleness tomorrow, then He will give me the strength, peace, joy, etc. for tomorrow.
I once heard Andy Stanley say worry was using tomorrow’s provision for today’s problems. And that’s really what’s behind my thoughts when I project today’s view on what I think tomorrow will look like: worry that not only will God not provide a spouse, but that He also won’t provide what I’ll need to be OK with that.
When we find ourselves in circumstances that last longer than we thought, it’s easy to doubt that tomorrow, or next month, or next year, will be any different. To the one who is stuck in a dead-end job and can only see more days of the same gray cubicle frustrations, remember that where you are is your assigned portion for today. To the one struggling with a diagnosis that makes the future uncertain, remember that today’s assignment is to trust the God who measures our portion day by day. To the one who watched yet another relationship end, making marriage just an elusive dream that can never be caught, remember that what may be your portion for tomorrow isn’t what you should concern yourself with today.
So when I wake up tomorrow, I’m going to remember that God has measured my portion today and will supply everything I need to live out today’s assignment. Maybe nothing more, but certainly nothing less.