“All I can figure is you just haven’t met the right guy yet,” my friend said. It was a nice thought, but hardly comforting as I — still very single — watched my younger, married friend take care of her infant.
The summer I turned 20 I watched two of my childhood friends get married. In the years since, I’ve been to countless weddings, with more and more of the brides and grooms being younger than me. Last year my (younger) brother got married and so did my (younger) best friend.
I know there are many of you my age who would love to be married, but for whatever reason, are still single. As we approach another Valentine’s Day without a significant other, we can trust that our singleness is no accident.
Not just a “reason” for my singleness
Sometimes it feels easier to blame prolonged singleness on a particular “reason.” We tell ourselves that perhaps we need to be more mature or learn more about seeking God. Maybe we should be more active in church or fulfill a specific mission or task that God’s called us to.
Any of these things could be true, but that’s a separate issue. The fact is, we don’t earn marriage. We all know couples who aren’t as mature or prepared as they maybe should have been before tying the knot. Clearly God doesn’t give marriage only to those who seem ready for it.
If that’s true, then maybe we’re approaching this singleness thing all wrong. Maybe it’s not about pinpointing the problem and fixing it so God can “reward” us with a spouse. Maybe our singleness isn’t something that needs to be fixed.
I recently heard a speaker talk about her own extended singleness and the purpose God has in it. Call me observant, but that’s when it hit me: God has a purpose for my singleness.
Maybe it was just the way I heard her message in that moment, but ”purpose” feels so much deeper to me than a simple explanation for why I’m still single. If I’m only single for a reason, then maybe I need to find out what that reason is and solve it. But if I’m single for a purpose, then singleness is not something to find a way out of — it is the best place for me to be right now.
This Valentine’s Day, there are two reasons why purpose gives me — and all of us — hope.
1. God is sovereign over my singleness
We know the verses. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us God has prosperous plans for us, and in Romans 8:28, God promises that everything that happens to one of his children will ultimately be for our good. Everything.
But sometimes things don’t seem to be working out for our good. Sometimes we wonder why God doesn’t act on our timeframe or do what we think is best for us.
Even in those times, we can know that God is in control of the situation.
Jesus calmed the storm and fed the crowds and raised the dead. He even defeated sin and death, forever proving that nothing can stop God’s plan.
While I may not be where I had planned to be, I can think of times in my life when God clearly guided me to where I am now. Knowing that he intentionally has me here gives so much peace.
2. God is good in my singleness
It’s a famous quote, but for good reason. In C.S. Lewis’ classic, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” the concerned Pevensie children ask Mr. Beaver if this famed lion, Aslan, is safe.
“Safe?” said the beaver. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
He. Is. Good.
God sent His Son to redeem us from the mess we had gotten ourselves into. If He was willing to do something so drastic for our eternal destiny, how can we ever question His goodness and love in something as comparatively trivial as our earthly marital status?
“Remember this: Had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there,” Charles Spurgeon wrote in one of his devotionals. “[T]he Lord has ordered all things for your good.”
It’s not that God chooses only some children to bless, giving them marriage while withholding it from the rest of us. He loves us all and is good to us all. We all receive gifts from Him in whatever life stage we’re in.
Either way, it’s all good
Paul wrote that God has prepared good works for us. For many of us, for right now, those works are meant to be lived out in a life of singleness. This may not be the case for the rest of my life or your life. Or maybe it will. Either way, we can trust that God is sovereign, and He is good.
This Valentine’s Day, God is quite aware that you and I are still single. And He’s OK with that. Are we?
Copyright 2020 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.