"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Journey of Living Single

"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (Genesis 28:15)

"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." (Philippians 4:11)

I tend to get the question a lot, "How come a nice guy like you is still single?" "How has some young lady managed to let you escape?" Of course, on the inside they are thinking, "Sheesh, what is the matter with him that nobody would marry him?" "He looks nice, but he must have some type of 'condition'! I wonder if he has a third eye underneath that hair?"

There was a time years ago that this would bother me and I would start to feel inferior, left out and like I had missed an important boat in the sea of life. However, as I've grown older both chronologically and spiritually, I have come to realize that being a single Christian has been a blessing that married people can never understand. When friends of mine were marrying and settling into that routine, I was able to spend more time with the student ministry at my church without having to worry about leaving my spouse alone too long. When these same friends were having children and raising them, I was able to spend time in mission endeavors with the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) all over the eastern side of the country without worrying about being gone from home for a week or two at a time. While my friends were having to maintain bedtime, homework, sports and cheerleading routines, I could stay on the phone with someone or have someone in my living room who just needed to talk to an adult about issues they were struggling with. And when these friends of mine would often call me with the news that they were separating and divorcing with the ensuing arrangements about children and finances, I was sorrowful, but thankful that I did not have to feel that kind of pain.

Do I want to marry someday? Sure. Do I enjoy the close relationship of a Christian lady who shares not only my faith and values, but my humor, happiness and sorrows? Sure. Have I met the "right one for me" yet? I don't think so, but sometimes I wonder if the one woman for me is living somewhere in Argentina and happened to miss the boat to the USA back in the 1970's. I've always just trusted God to use his divine sledgehammer to whack me into realization whenever she comes along.

My good buddy, Gabe, preached a sermon at church last night that was focused on encounters with God. In the story of Jacob leaving home in Genesis (verse above), Jacob made the self-discovery at Beth-el that God had been with him even when Jacob did not know it. Also, in the story of Moses at the burning bush, Gabe asked the question, "Had the bush been burning all along and Moses just never noticed it? Had the ground always been holy?". God promised Jacob that He would always be with him wherever he went and whatever he did. Not only that, God promised Jacob that He would never leave him until His purpose had been accomplished.

Now, how do I relate this to living a single life. Many people I know are consumed about the fact that they are not married, either by divorce, widowed, or never married. They feel alone, rejected and like they are not a complete person. They question why God has not given them a life mate when everyone else seems to have found theirs. They feel like they are not living a full life as God wants without a marriage and family to fulfill God's plan for their life. I would tend to disagree with this. To be honest, I would tend to disagree with this quite strongly.

Genesis 28:15 tells me (us) that God is and will be with us always. Just because we don't recognize His presence in our single life, doesn't mean He isn't there all along. God was using Jacob and Moses all along, even though they did not recognize His presence the whole time. Once they recognized this, God was able to use them in great and mighty ways to accomplish His work. As single adults, we need to realize that God is very present in our lives and wants to use our single lifestyle for His glory and for His work and quit feeling so left out of His plan. You are in His plan, so just ask Him how you are to be used? Helping newly divorced or widowed people. Being supportive of single parents. Joining together in accountability with others to remain pure and socially in touch with God. Being a part of just a fun group of people who don't have to worry as much about curfews, homework and truant officers.

The apostle Paul was "content in whatever circumstances he found himself". One of those circumstances was being a single Christian guy and look how God used him. I do pray that God will bless me with a wife and family (even if blended) someday and I hope that it happens. But, you know, if it doesn't happen, then I'll be perfectly okay. I know that God will continue to use me in a ministry unique to my own gifts and talents (bizarre as they may seem at times.) More importantly, however, I just want to be used by God as an example that you can live a fun, exciting, fruitful and Godly life as a single Christian guy.

Be God's,


At 11:04 PM, Blogger Vicki said...

Hi Jimmy,

Your post touched my heart in so many ways, and I appreciate all that you shared. It's so important that we learn contentment right where we are, before God will take us to a different place. But what if I told you I'm from Argentina?;-)



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