What do you say to an almost 30yr. old single? What do you tell her when all of her (or him) childhood friends (all but two or three) are married and have children? How do you encourage someone who has never been in a relationship? How do you encourage her (or him) when no one is on “the radar screen”? What can you say? You know the typical answers won’t serve her (or him). They’ve probably heard, “Don’t worry, God will provide…I was 35 when I got married…just trust God and serve…enjoy this time of extended singleness”, about 5 million times. How do you care for someone like this?
Easy! The same way you would care for someone grieving the loss of a loved or or someone struggling with sin. The ultimate answer to any problem is always the same…you point them to the cross! You point them to Scripture. You point them to the undeniable truth of God’s faithfulness.
The cross truly is the answer to every struggle. Even extended singleness? Absolutely! It is the ultimate proof of God’s faithfulness and abounding love. If God loved us enough to kill His own Son, don’t you think He’ll take care of us afterwards? If He paid that great of a cost to make us His children, it stands to reason He will continue to provide and care for us now. We are saved, redeemed, and ransomed. What else really matters? We’re not going to Hell! Instead we are on a race to Heaven. We have a relationship with God that the Old Testament writers could only have imagined. Things of this world pale in comparison to eternity with our Redeemer.
Dare I say this? Could it possibly…gulp…be true? Marriage is not the answer to life’s problems. Gasp…really? It’s not the ultimate cure to our longings and desires. Only One Person can satisfy. He is a jealous God. He wants our full gaze and affections. A spouse is a precious (and amazing!!!) gift from God. (A gift I pray daily I will get to experience.) But a spouse cannot compare to God. Nothing is as soul satisfying and glorious as a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Your friend probably knows all this. But, what you know in your head and what your heart believes when it’s aching can be two different things. Trust me! The truths of the gospel (as the ultimate display of God’s love and faithfulness), His wooing as the Lover of our soul, and the satisfying God who is our all-in-all. These are truths to gently preach to a discouraged single (actually to any discouraged Christian!).
That’s all well and good. But, sometimes truth just doesn’t sink in. You need truth slapped across your face. It needs to grip your soul and force your mind and emotions to SHUT UP! What do you do then? Here are a list of Scriptures that I cling to and preach to myself when my weary soul needs to gaze heavenward…yes, it’s a long list…
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 …a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Isaiah 41:9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 13 For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” 17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. Psalm 26:3
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness… Exodus 34:6
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:36
…He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Proverbs 2:7-8
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. Psalm 86:5-7
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Psalm 34:7-8
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:11
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
And that’s just a small portion…here’s the references to many more:
Ps. 30:11, Ro. 8:28, Isa. 54:10, Isa. 46:9b-11, Ps. 27:13-14, Ro. 10:17, Phil. 1:6b, Ps. 34:15, Isa. 65:24, Ps. 84:11, Ps. 46:1, Isa. 64:4, Ps. 86:15, Ps. 103:8-10, Ps. 103:13-14, 2 Cor. 12:9a, Isa. 40:28-29, Isa. 41:10, Ps. 73:25-26, Ps. 37:23-24, Ps. 55:22, Jer. 29:11, Lam. 2:22-23, Isa. 30:18, Ps. 46:1-3, Eph. 2:8-9, Isa. 43:25, Ps. 103:12, Josh. 1:9, Ro. 8:38-39, Ps. 145:9, Jer. 1:12, Ps. 36:5 (You can find them all typed out HERE.)
When I’m tempted to doubt, I remind myself that either the Bible is true (the very words of God) or it’s not. It’s ALL true or none of it’s true. God is either telling the truth or a very big liar. And since lying would cause Him to not be God, He IS TELLING THE TRUTH. That means that everything IS for my good. Even in the darkest night, He WILL NEVER LEAVE ME. He will provide, He will sustain, He will bless, He will (and does) care for me. He is faithful, even when I’m faithless.
And that’s what I’d tell an “old” single. You may read this and wonder if I really know what I’m talking about? Is this another married person talking about being single…nope! :) I’m an “older” single. I’m the girl who wanted to be married right out of high school. I was hoping to have lots of kids by now. My plans and God’s did not coincide. And even though it’s not my preference, I can say that God’s plans are best! I can’t imagine being anywhere else! He is faithful beyond my imaginings! He sustains and cares for my soul. He is…words fail!!!! Do I want to get married? HECK YEAH!!! Do I wonder why God has decided to make me wait so long? Absolutely! But, I cling to the truths and Scripture I listed above. There is a glorious reason for the wait. I haven’t the foggiest idea what that reason is…but, I don’t need to know. He knows. He is working. He is orchestrating. He can see the big picture, I can only see 2 feet ahead of me. Being in His plan is far more satisfying than my own. It’s a little difficult at times, but He provides the grace, power, and strength (because of the cross!) for everything He requires me to walk through. What amazing grace! What an amazing God!