I’ve never been a fan of fasting.
To deny myself food let alone the feeling of fullness seems like torture. My body/flesh just doesn’t want to do it. If you ask me how many times I’ve fasted as a Christian, I could count it on one hand. It’s hard to admit that but it’s the truth. I don’t want to feel hungry or uncomfortable. I don’t want to go without or feel like I’m missing out on everyday habits like the sweet taste of my morning coffee.
It struck me that our singleness can feel a lot like fasting. We don’t want to go through it and we’re not entirely sure what the outcome will be. Singleness, like fasting, can feel painful. It shows us our weaknesses and what we’re really depending on.
Weak & Strong
Fasting has a way of bringing what tempts us most to the forefront. When Jesus fasted in the wilderness and there were three temptations placed before Him by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11)
- Provision – “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.” How hungry would you be after not eating for 40 days? I get hangry not eating one meal let alone not eating 120 meals. The enemy was speaking to Jesus’ starved flesh.
- Power – “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down for it is written, ‘He shall give His angels charge over you’.” Jesus was alone in that wilderness, emptied of His glory. He was 100% man just as He was 100% God. Don’t we all want to feel like we have control? This fast was preparing Him for ministry. A ministry He knew would lead to His death. As Jesus is being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, He tells Peter in Matthew 26:53, God could send 12 legions of angels (72,000 in total) if He requested it. Jesus never abuses His power especially when He knows the end from the beginning.
- Popularity – “All these things I will give to You if You fall down and worship me.” The enemy showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the land and said it would be His. Who doesn’t want to feel loved or sought after?
Fasting is a discipline because it does not come easily. Yet, it’s needed. Fasting takes our eyes off the things of this world and sets them on God. Our flesh is weak but we serve a mighty God.
How does this apply to Singleness?
Don’t we want to know that God will provide a husband one day?
Don’t we want to feel like we have some power (control) over our love lives? If not, then why do Christian women become unequally yoked with unbelieving men? (or vice versa?)
Don’t we want to feel popular by having men interested in us? Seeing our worth and pursuing us? Feeling loved?
With each temptation, Jesus provides a Scripture to rebuke the enemy. Are we doing the same? Do we know what verses we can hold on to in our times of temptation? Do we remember the goodness of God when we’re in pain or mourning of our singleness? Does the joy of a heavenly wedding outweigh the deferred pain of not having an earthly one?
I’ve been so blessed to read comments from women who had to reconcile their lives not turning out as they thought. Women who thought that by now they would be married. I started this blog because I would read articles where the comments sounded bitter against God or more specifically God not changing their single status.
God cares very much about our singleness because He loves us but that doesn’t stop our singleness from being bittersweet. Did you know that even the Word of God is described as bittersweet?
And I went to the angel and told him, “Give me the small scroll.” “Take it and eat it,” he said. “It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” So I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it; and it was sweet as honey to my mouth but when I had eaten it my stomach turned bitter. (Revelation 10:10)
At our conversion, our new relationship with God is sweet. But after a while, as we continue waiting bitterness starts to take hold. Once we start to digest that maybe life isn’t going to look like we imagined or that God is God and not a genie, our lives become upset. We try to soothe them with temporary things but underneath it all, it’s just not the same. The newness, joy, and the possibility of the impossible becomes old, dry, and mundane. We lose faith. We give up hope.
Friends, that’s not the life Jesus came to give you.
Put Oil on Your Head & Wash Your Face
And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting might be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees you in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18, ESV)
The other day I read this quote by John Piper that is perfect for us single daughters, “Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”
It’s okay to weep and mourn but don’t stay there! We can get stuck in our sadness and instead of moving forward, go back to living in the world. For a short time, it may seem fun but that emptiness will only come back again. Life without God is no life at all. Trust God even when your eyes only see the questions and not the answers.
Waiting for the Bridegroom
Then the disciples came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?”
And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Matthew 9:14-15)
Ultimately, our singleness shows who we’re really waiting for; not the walk down the aisle to an earthly groom but a beautiful wedding feast with our King. It’s hard to think about that, to hold on to that when we are told that there’s something wrong with us if we are single. The longer we go in our singleness, the easier it can be to believe that God will not provide or that He is not in control or that we are not loved.
Mourn for the temporary but set your eyes on the eternal. There will be a day when you’ll be dressed in white and walk down that aisle to a joyful union that outshines anything we could ever have here on earth. Friend, I know it’s not easy but He promises our faithfulness will be worth it.