“Don’t worry. God wouldn’t gift you in the ways that he has unless he intended to place you in partnership with someone.”
“The moment you’re satisfied with God alone, he’ll bring someone special into your life. That’s what happened to me.”
“So what if the man has a weak moral compass? How are you so sure that God’s going to bring someone else along?”
“You know what your problem is? You don’t play games. See, I played the game and look what it got me [insert dazzlingly blinding image of friend’s engagement ring].”
I receive a cacophony of advice from well-meaning family members, friends, and mentors, as I’m sure you experience as well. For those of us who desire to be married, responding with grace can be especially challenging as we simultaneously navigate the world of dating and its ensuing waves of expectancy, rejection, and disappointment. And yet, the most difficult counsel I’ve ever had to wrestle with comes from God himself. Looking at Scripture, the psalmists confirm that I should not want, I shall not want, because no good thing will God withhold from me. Intellectually, I know that yes, God is good. But how do I rejoice in this truth when singleness feels far from good?
I write this not as a married woman with children, but as a single woman who wrestles with this very question. To be sure, singleness has its benefits and blessings. But it’s difficult on many days. While it’s exciting to see friends and those younger than you get engaged, it nevertheless reminds me of what I long and pray for. Last week, I bought nine baby outfits for my expectant friends. It stings when the cashier inquires whether this purchase is for my child and the word “no” departs from my lips.
Frankly, it’s easier to get pious by providing pat answers or deeming myself an emotional martyr than to have honest conversations with God. And yet, this is what the psalmist David invites us to do in Psalm 13. Cry out to God. Plead with him. Ask hard questions. This is not easy to do. Why? When I ask God to “enlighten my eyes,” I do not receive a specific answer as to why I’m still single. Yet wondrously and mysteriously, he gives something infinitely more precious. He gives me himself.
God not only hears my pain, he enters it. Even through heartache, I am never alone. Jesus not only enters our pain, he is our pain by virtue of his work on the cross. And for that, he is good, regardless of our marital status. While “God is good” could be a pat answer, if we put little heart or thought into it, the honest, painful pursuit of this truth invites us to explore the very character of God. Through this journey, we come to embrace the truest, deepest love we will ever find: “I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5, ESV)
God isn’t holding out on you. Or me. He fully knows and loves you, and promises you fullness. This fullness cannot be entirely explained or completely understood…at least in this lifetime. But it is, without question, a love that will not let us go.