Chinese take-out and a blanket cocoon. Friends out and about on a Friday night and I opted for a leisurely evening of Mu Shu chicken, reading, and an early bedtime, all wrapped up in a cozy, fleece-lined blanket. It was wonderful…wholly embracing the perks of singleness.
Moments like these make the single life easy to tolerate. No one else’s expectations, no one caring how messy the hair tower is placed at the top of your head, and no one to compromise with over what to order for dinner or who gets the comfy overstuffed chair.
But sooner or later, waiting around the corner after instances of relishing unattached freedom are reminders of the beauty of marriage. You see how wonderful giving and sharing can be- you see how sacrificing singleness might just be worth it. For me, my recent reminder found its grip while holding a bouquet and straightening a lacy train for my best friend as I gave her away to a worthy groom. His pledge to love and prefer her until death do them part was accompanied by the most piercing gaze and serious of tones I’ve ever witnessed. And the beauty was there- the beauty that God designed for mankind to enjoy, the beauty of two becoming one. The seriousness and the sacrifice, yes. But also the sanctity and the uninhibited embrace- the pure joy.
I wouldn’t call it jealousy. God knows my heart. But I would call it longing. Aching for something good that is, for the moment, out of reach. A wise pillar of the faith spoke right to my soul after I had delivered my maid of honor speech. Accompanying his warm greeting were the words: “You’re next.” I jokingly asked him if he was prophetic, but that was only an attempt to brush aside the small stirring of hope in my heart.
If you’ve been in that place several times like I have, longing for what you don’t have, then you can begin to get disheartened. You start to really wonder what God is up to, or if He’s even heard your prayers. Or maybe He’s acted on your prayers, but the stubborn young man (whoever he is) isn’t listening! Ha! Or perhaps you begin taking inventory of things that transpired in the past- missed opportunities where you didn’t give someone a chance or guys who were only interested in friendship as they turned their heads towards the prettier or less-awkward girl. You self-evaluate, trying to pinpoint the reasons why you have thus far been overlooked. And if that’s you, I want to encourage you for a moment. You see, God is so patient and gentle, and He really wants to enter the moments in which we ache. It’s not too insignificant for Him.
Having taken full advantage of His audience this past week, I’m here to report that when voids appear, He is there to fill them with more of Himself. But it does require time and space. Clearing your schedule for Jesus is ALWAYS worth it. In those quiet moments, tell Him how you feel. Summon the courage of David that we see in the Psalms as he pours out his heart to God, asking his Creator to intervene in what seems to be taking too long. Then willfully submit to His plan, several times if need be.
The truth is, there probably are things you’ve done to sabotage your love life. There likely are opportunities you botched or things you missed. You aren’t perfect after all. But since when has human deficiency stopped Creator God from working? Spend enough time in his presence, and something amazing happens. He doesn’t tell you exactly what He’s up to or what steps to follow to get what you want, but He does offer reminders of His faithfulness. He’ll point you to the cross where ultimate soul-longing was forever satisfied. He’ll have you reminisce about the moments since you grasped salvation where He has carried you and lifted you up. And then, because He’s thoughtful, He’ll take you to the tops of mountains to gaze at the beauty of His creation. He’ll move you through canyons that He carved out into colorful ridges to show his power. He’ll give you blessed conversations with His other children that leave you full. And since He knows you so well, He’ll add a thunderstorm, because they are your favorite.
There in the remembering and the experiencing, He’ll gently compel submission to whatever the future holds. And when you open yourself up to His will, you will find adventure and fullness. Perhaps it won’t be the kind you had hoped for and it won’t take away the occasional pang of unmet desires, but it will build you up. It will steady you and offer you permanent assurance that even if a worthy man never looks your way, the King of the Universe smiles upon His daughter with a gaze and an intention that rivals and outlasts the sincerest “I do.”