This year, I’ve written a lot about singleness.
While not planned this way, I’ve realized that for such a long time, I was dissatisfied with my single status. In my heart, I wrestled with God as to why I should keep waiting when it seemed that so many of my friends were getting married. I felt left behind, invisible to the men around me and especially to God. Didn’t He know my heart? Didn’t He hear my pleas?
A few years ago, I went on a missions trip to Israel. As the trip was ending, one of the leaders gave me a single page letter that he had written for me. One of the paragraphs held these words:
“I believe your husband will have the character and attributes of King David: a man after God’s own heart. This may seem odd but I feel God wants you to know what to look for. Don’t compromise your heart but hold out for God’s best.”
While my desire to be married is God-given, I know that there’s been something lurking in my heart that hasn’t been godly: FEAR.
What if he never comes?
This is the question that is secretly whispered in my heart. Has it whispered in yours too?
Honestly, there’s a part of me that wants to stop hoping because it could lead to disappointment. Disappointment that these words might not come to pass. Disappointment that it won’t be like all those romance novels I’ve read or movies I’ve seen. But that disappointment is only masking the fear that it will never come true at all.
If marriage doesn’t come then what happens next?
The fear of the unknown starts crashing in like tsunami waves upon the shore. There are times I feel like I’m drowning, unable to catch my breath. I found a passage in 1 Samuel 8 that shows this fear of the unknown doesn’t only happen to me (deep sigh of relief).
“All the elders of Israel assembled and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, Behold, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint us a king to rule over us like all the other nations.” (v4-5)
Fear rises up as we start to get older and find ourselves uncertain of the future. When I was 21 year old, I saw my first gray hair and it shook me to my core. There was tangible evidence that screamed, “You’re getting old…and what do you have to show for it?“.
I was young when this happened, seeing that silver thread through my brown hair but it felt like time was already slipping through my fingers. (I plucked it out at the first opportunity. Back then ignorance was bliss!).
In this series, Praying For A David, I want to share some things God has been speaking to me about what is hidden in our hearts and about getting to a healthy place where we can wait on an earthly spouse with hopeful expectation instead of white-knuckle desperation. So let’s begin!
1. Trust God.
How many times has someone told you to trust God? Look at the story of Saul’s anointing. It was the elders who went to Samuel – those who were leaders among the nation. God showed faithfulness to the Israelites too many times to count. Still, they wanted a visible king. Mistrust in the Lord always comes up to the surface no matter our feeble attempts to hide it.
Often times, we find our hearts in the same place as the elders, demanding God to give us blessings only to regret them in the end. They didn’t ask, they didn’t pray but told Samuel to appoint a king. Have you tried taking control only to be met with heartbreak? I’ve been there too, tears streaming down my face, surrendering my life and my heart once again to the One who has always held it safely and firmly in His hands.
I wonder what would have happened if their request to Samuel had been different. Instead of asking for a human king, they asked their Eternal One to reveal the next part of their journey. Would another prophet rise up or perhaps He would lead them as He had always desired. Are you willing to trust God with this part of your life? Can you tell Him, I trust You, and like Abraham leave your most heart-felt desire on the altar of sacrifice?
Trusting God can be difficult for me (and many people too). It’s in those times that we need to remember God has never disappointed me, rejected me, or done anything that would be break my trust in Him. He may not move in my timing or do what I want, but in hindsight I see the many times that’s been cause for thanksgiving.
2. You are not like everyone else.
The summer is here and your calendar is teeming with wedding and baby shower dates. It seems like the single-married ratio among your friends is becoming lopsided and you’re now in the minority. Watching Ryan Gosling movies and having a hundred wedding pins on Pinterest doesn’t seem to be help ease your desire for a husband either (cough, guilty, cough).
I’ve done it too and then wonder why dissatisfaction starts rising up, uncomfortable and grating on my soul. The elders looked around them and saw that they were different. Instead of using that to show God’s faithfulness to the other nations, they submitted themselves to comparison and compromise.
Every child of God has been called out and set apart but the effect of seeing other people’s blessings without acknowledging our own can cause serious heart issues. Psalm 73, one of my favorite psalms, shows this perfectly. What I love most is Asaph’s realization at the end:
You belong to God and greater still, He belongs to you. You don’t need to get bitter or afraid if your story doesn’t look like everyone else’s.
It is unique.
It is beautiful.
It is yours.