May I be honest?
“The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” is that—take a deep breath—the pain of singleness is real…deep…persistent.
I hate to admit it, but when I was in my teens, I whined about singleness. I wanted to marry “my childhood sweetheart.” I didn’t, actually, have such a guy in my life. I wanted to marry right out of school. I didn’t, obviously, considering that I’m writing this article! And way back then, it was tough dealing with frustrated desires of the heart and I whined—at my Jesus, to my parents and my friends, in my diary.
Now—in my mid-twenties—I try hard not to whine! (I want to stress that fact!) But it’s still tough dealing with frustrated desires of the heart.
Really, really, really tough.
Like I said, the pain is real…deep…persistent.
I’m surprised at how real it is. It’s not “just” a sense of emotional yearning, it’s a physical pain. It’s so deep (and personal), it’s hard to express. And it’s so persistent, it’s hard to forget.
When a friend starts dating or courting or, more often in my circle of friends, gets married or has a baby (or another baby), I’m so happy for her, but not-so-happy for little ol’ ME!
I was just looking at the pictures of one of my dearest friends and her young man at a ball. They are the cutest couple ever. I’m so totally, ridiculously happy for her I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time I was looking at the pictures! But…the whole time I was looking at the pictures, I was thinking about MY as-yet-unknown young man—wondering who he is and where he is at this moment…wanting him at my side…missing him in my heart. Moments like these—the news that a young couple have fallen in love, the sight of an old couple holding hands, the chance to cuddle a baby (not my own)—bring tears to my eyes.
And I wonder…why?
I don’t know why God allows the pain of singleness. The pain seems so pointless. But there’s more to singleness than the pain in my heart.
In Philippians 1:6, Paul says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” I love this verse. I feel as if God has a LOT to do to perfect in me “a good work”—the good work of conforming me to the image of my Jesus. In Romans 8:29, Paul says, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His son…” How wonderful is it that God has predestined me to become conformed to the image of His Son—my Jesus. In Philippians 2:13 Paul says, “For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” And in Romans 8:28 Paul says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Do you see?
Do you understand?
The pain of singleness is one of the things that God uses to perfect the good work He has begun in me and to conform me to the image of my Jesus.
He uses the pain for good.
He uses the tears for good.
He uses the soul-ache for good.
He uses them to conform me to the image of the One who knows and loves me best—who knows the pain and understands the tears. I promise. More to the point, He promises. He’s making you like Him and He’s using the pain of singleness to transform you, so you are radiant with Him.
But He doesn’t just promise to transform you; He promises something even more wonderful:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
Almost two thousand years after He uttered those words, do you believe the promise? It was made by your Jesus. Believe it—believe Him.
When the pain of singleness is overwhelming and feels pointless (not to mention endless!), remember that your Jesus is with you in the midst of the singleness. In the midst of the pain. In the midst of the ups and downs–joys and sorrows–of your life.
The pain is real.
But the promise is real, too. Your Jesus is with you … always. Forever.