“But I’m almost done with college and God still hasn’t done anything,” protested the young woman across from me in the campus coffee shop where I often held “office hours” as a campus pastor (many years ago). Her voice was louder than she had intended and people at nearby tables cast a glance in our direction. Heedless of what others were thinking, she went on.
“You say that God has a plan for me, but I don’t see it. I want to be with someone so badly and it feels like God doesn’t care,” she said.
“But He does care,” I replied. “Just think of His promise in Romans 8:32, ‘He Who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”
“Well, I don’t know,” she responded. “I feel like I’ve got to do something.”
We talked a little more, then prayed and parted company with very little resolved, unless it was the resolve that she already had in pursuing a relationship that was not Christ-centered.
My heart hurt for that Christian woman, partly for the pain of her loneliness, but mostly for the pain I was sure that she would suffer in forging her own path outside of God’s plan for her: it seemed to me that her life was about to turn a tragic direction.
Sadly, it did go the way I was afraid it would for her as it has for some other men and women I have known in the last twenty-five years. The paths that they have chosen have been full of heartache and brokenness although, I am glad to say that in some cases, God has brought good out of tragedy.
Still, I pray for those who suffer from the snare of loneliness that besets men and women today (and not just college-age ones) and the strength it has in turning people’s hearts away from God.
Trusting God with our relationships seems to be a tricky thing. I imagine that it is in part due to the fact that the world (the devil’s megaphone) likes to tell us that if we are single then something is wrong with us, either in looks or in personality. We are filled with impatience as it seems that everyone around us has “someone special” with whom he or she is living life. Impatience mutates into desperation which, in turn, becomes blinders upon our eyes, and leads us from the path of faith.
But singleness has the potential of being a very special place to experience the love of God. First, it allows us to celebrate the “centrality of Christ.” I simply mean the fact that there is no relationship that is even remotely as critical (and wonderful) as our relationship with God. Remember that the “Greatest Commandment” is to “love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, and mind” (see Matthew 22:38) and it is to a true relationship with God that you have been called.
The fact is that many people are looking to another man or woman to provide what only God can. Unconditional love and acceptance, however, cannot be truly found in any human relationship (no matter what movies or songs tell us), unless they are first grounded in the love of God Who HAS loved us unconditionally and accepts us with all our faults – as Jesus’ dying in our place proves.
But secondly, our singleness will be a place where we exercise the faith to which we have been called. Consider what is at stake. God has a plan especially crafted for a “special you” and your spiritual enemy (the devil) would like for nothing more (and wants nothing less) than for you to be derailed from that plan, partly to steal your joy and peace, but also to try to sabotage your fruitfulness for God.
Solomon’s wisdom was known far and wide, but he gave his heart away to women who did not share his love for God (it just made sense from a worldly perspective). In consequence, his heart turned away from the Lord and he forfeited, wise as he once was, the fullness of God’s blessing in his life and the lives of his children (see 1 Kings 11).
I am not saying that if you are single that God is necessarily going to bring the man or woman of your dreams into your life, but if you will not succumb to the unbelief that impatience and desperation will foster in you, then you are infinitely better positioned for God to bless you and increase your joy and peace.
Besides, if the Lord has in His plan for you that “special someone”, then that “special someone” shares your calling… a common vision and a common mission to know God and make Him known.
“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36 ESV).
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 21 ½ years. He is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.