The Gift of Singleness
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard or read that singleness is a gift and a blessing, I’d be able to buy all the books on my wish list – and believe me, it’s long! It seems like it’s usually married people who speak of the gift of singleness. [Note: I am not referring to the calling to remain single, but the gift of the single season.] When I was in my early teens, it was easy to think of singleness as a special season to be welcomed and enjoyed. Ten-plus years later, it doesn’t seem so special. I’m getting quite tired of it, in fact. Is singleness really a gift?The answer is both yes and no. We’ll do “yes” first. Singleness is a gift in the sense that every circumstance in our lives is a gift. It’s a means by which our infinitely wise and loving Father reveals His care for us. To our human eyes, some gifts appear better than others – being supplied with a new car might look more like a gift than totaling your only vehicle – but we know from Scripture that “. . . all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Unwanted singleness is indeed a gift, and if it has lost its shine over the years, we can still be grateful for it as a “gift of suffering” that helps sanctify us.But in some ways, singleness is not a gift – at least not one that we want to keep indefinitely. For most of us, it’s a temporary time of preparation for our destiny, marriage. Historically, singleness has not been viewed as desirable – rather, it was seen as a stage of life that should not be unduly prolonged. Boundless writers Danielle Crittenden and Debbie Maken have both written excellent articles on this subject, and I highly recommend reading them. The gift of singleness is a little like the gift of a toothache – something given to us by God for a time to refine us, but not something to hold forever.
Yearning For Marriage
Before I go any further, let’s balance the equation. Is it possible to long for marriage too much? Absolutely! A healthy desire for marriage is good, but if our desires start turning into rejection of God’s current plans for our lives, it can become idolatry.Keep in mind 2 Corinthians 10:5: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” We can’t put anything, including our God-given desires, ahead of obedience to God’s immediate will for us. We need to cultivate a healthy view of marriage, neither rejecting it in bitterness or elevating it to the point of idolatry. The little book Believing God for His Best by Bill Thrasher does a great job of promoting such an attitude.