It was beautiful. Their wedding was on a hillside of the rolling South Dakota plains on a sunny day in June. The bride was dressed lavishly in white, and the groom wore jeans, a suit jacket and a cowboy hat. Everything was perfect, besides the gusting winds reaching 40 mph — accurately representing my attitude.
As I found a seat for the ceremony, my mind raced with excitement, joy and … bitterness.
I had known the bride and groom for almost six months, during which we had spent a fair amount of time together playing disc golf and basketball, sitting around bonfires and watching “The Man from Snowy River” (If you haven’t seen the movie, you’re missing out because it is a great western drama/romance). We shared stories with one another of what God was doing in our lives. I had grown to look up to them as role models for a godly relationship pursuing marriage.
I was happy to witness the finality of what God had orchestrated to bring these two together, I wanted to celebrate with them, but my mind was plagued with thoughts of doubt, jealousy and bitterness.
I smiled as everyone rose to their feet as the wedding procession entered. I laughed as the pastor shared insight into their relationship. I cheered as the groom kissed the bride.
Yet, something inside of me would not let go of these thoughts of doubt, jealousy and bitterness.
Why, God? Why couldn’t this be my story? Why haven’t I found a suitable counterpart? What am I lacking? Have you forgotten me? Is this a consequence of past sin? Where do I need to grow before I can have a spouse? I deserve a relationship like this!
Wow, Jeremiah wasn’t kidding when he said:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
After the ceremony ended, the reception began in an elegantly decorated barn. Food was served, speeches were given, a wedding video was shown and the barn turned into a dance floor. I danced and had meaningful conversations with friends I hadn’t seen in years, yet I couldn’t shake the thoughts of doubt, jealousy and bitterness.
The groom approached me and thanked me for coming. He went on to tell me that I should continue to seek God and my day would come. Feeling encouraged, I sat there smiling. My train of thought quickly switched tracks: continue to seek God … my day will come … it will be great … she’ll be beautiful … the wedding will be picture-perfect … man, I can’t wait … God, why do I have to wait?
A New Perspective
In an effort to clear my mind I left the reception and took a walk around the ranch. I prayed, God, I know you hear me. God, I know these thoughts are not of you. I know patience is a virtue. I trust that you are faithful. I pray that you would protect my heart as well as hers because being content is difficult. I feel so much pressure from friends and family. Lord, give me the strength to wait with a joyful heart, not one of doubt, jealousy and bitterness.
God, in His faithfulness, changed my perspective. He closed the gates of my heart that had been open to the gusting winds of doubt, jealousy and bitterness. He met me there on that hillside overlooking the plains of South Dakota and reassured me that His timing is perfect.
2 Peter 3:8 speaks to this point:
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
When your heart is open to thoughts of doubt, jealously and bitterness a day of being single can feel like a thousand years. When God speaks truth into your heart, a thousand years of being single can feel like a day. We may want a significant other, but God is all we need.
Marriage truly seems like the next mile marker in my life and because of that I’m often plagued with thoughts concerning my singleness as if I am a lesser person because of it. The truth is, yes, I am single, but that does not make me less — being a child of God does not hinge on my relationship status. So I’ll continue to chase after God, looking for a woman doing the same. And I’ll trust that His timing is perfect.