Why would God seemingly allow most people to get married or find romantic love and leave me single? I’ve asked this question along with several others like it. What is God’s reason for not answering this prayer? I don’t know why God has answered with a “no” or “not yet,” but He has answered, and I believe, whether you’ve been single for one year or fifty, the following are God’s purposes for your singleness (and mine):Photo Credit: Unsplash/JoelMuniz
1. To Make You More Like Christ
Jesus was single. Does that mean that those who are unmarried are more like Jesus? Aren’t married people also being sanctified and transformed into the image of Christ? Married or single, the end goal of the life of a believer is Christ-likeness.
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him …” (1 John 3:2).
Christ was singly focused on the will of God. The Apostle Paul wrote that it is easier to be singly focused on God’s will if you are unmarried like he was (1 Corinthians 7:32-33), and like Christ was. Singleness is not only a gift for as long as it lasts, it is a God-given opportunity to focus solely on Him! Paul also wrote these words: “For me, to live is Christ!” Talk about singly focused!
Jesus Himself declared, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). In other words, the physical needs of our human existence are secondary; God’s will is primary. If we want to be like Christ, that must be our perspective.
As Christ-followers, we need to see our singleness not as a problem to be solved but as an opportunity to be seized! “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all for the glory of God.” Not many of us live with this kind of focus but we need to! Life on this earth is short and it’s about God, not us.
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2. To Help You Point People to Christ
This should be the goal of every believer. There is a uniqueness in how single people can point others to Christ. It could be said that all of us possess unique qualities, attributes, abilities or challenges that afford us with unique platforms for sharing the gospel. An Olympic athlete has a platform most of us don’t, as does a celebrity, someone with cancer, a politician, a parent of multiples, someone who is blind, the list could go on and on. We have all been given a unique voice that speaks into certain spheres of influence.
An unmarried person, whether never married, widowed, or divorced can share Christ from that particular vantage point. We may see ourselves as single and let that define us, but just like every star in the night sky, we are not truly alone. Every star is part of a galaxy. We all function individually and collectively – every single one of us. The more brightly a star shines, the more it attracts our eyes to the heavens and to the Creator!
“The heavens declare the glory of God;the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4).
Hillson’s worship song “So Will I” beautifully says “If the stars were made to worship so will I.” Stars shine “because they have huge fusion reactors in their cores releasing a tremendous amount of energy,” explains this article from Universe Today. Similarly, humans produce and release energy. This is only an analogy, but humans can put their energy into many causes or just a few, varying their luminosity or brilliance.
“An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs — how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world — how he can please his wife — and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world — how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).
An unmarried person has the potential for undivided devotion, energy and focus on God. That potential, if lived out, will shine in a way that attracts the attention of many, causing them to reflect on and perhaps seek a God who can so fully satisfy the human heart!
If that person, however, is instead focused on disappointment, self-pity, and sadness, his or her light or radiance for Christ is significantly dimmed.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Aaron Burden
3. To Teach You to Live Out Today's Calling, Not Tomorrow's
Your purpose today is to thank and glorify God, not waste today longing for a different tomorrow. Tomorrow may indeed be different, but it may not. We must rejoice in today. It is fleeting, it is a gift, and it can be lived to the full, or lost.
“Let not our longings slay the appetite of our living.” (Elisabeth Elliot)
Don’t miss something that is because you’re focused on something that isn’t. Today has a purpose. In one single 24-hour period, we have the chance to: choose contentment and joy, learn, grow, bring glory to God, encourage someone, point someone to Christ, make a difference.
We will not get this day back. Live it for God! May God be primary and everything else secondary.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33).
Photo credit: Unsplash/Kevin Young
4. To Enable You to Rely on the Sufficiency of God
God satisfies and He is sufficient.
If God’s love is unfailing (eternal, certain, steadfast, inexhaustible), it is not His love the Psalmist prayed for, but rather that we would find our satisfaction in it. Therein lies the problem: our theology. Despite what the Bible says, we do not believe He is sufficient. We believe, rather, that He is insufficient, and that we also need another human to complete us.
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:18).
Adam needed Eve, you might think, which is why God created woman. We absolutely do need a helper, a companion; and those living without romantic love, without sexual fulfillment, are incomplete. Adam obviously could not have been okay with God alone.
That is not true. Eve was God’s grace in Adam’s life, God’s good gift to him. God’s grace is sufficient because God in His wisdom always gives what is good, what is best (not in our opinion, but in His). Without Eve, Adam would have walked with God in paradise, completely and utterly satisfied in God. God had already given Adam life and breath and placed him in utter paradise. Adam’s life was already better than any man to live after him.
And yet, God opened His hand and gave another gift, satisfying a desire Adam did not even realize he had. God’s grace is so sufficient that He provides for us and satisfies us in ways that surprise us. He doesn’t give us everything we ask for and believe will satisfy us; He gives us what he KNOWS will satisfy.
Adam would not have known to ask for Eve. God knew Eve would be suitable, a welcome help through life. He does not promise us all the same type of help, the same variety of grace. We are not guaranteed a human helpmate. But rest assured, that God will provide for you just as he did for Adam. His grace will be sufficient for you.
“You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does” (Psalm 145:16-17).
Imagine the difference our life would make, our testimony for Christ would make, if we truly lived that way: being satisfied with God’s unfailing love, believing that the Lord’s ways are always right and faithful!
The Apostle Paul learned about God’s sufficiency through hardship. After pleading with God three times to change his circumstances, he was given this answer:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a).
“Therefore,” Paul went on to write, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9b-10).
Hardships and difficulties do not disprove the goodness of God; they are a showcase for His power, sufficiency, and grace!
Ironically, both marriage and singleness prove to us to the insufficiency of humans and the sufficiency of God! As good of a gift as Eve was, that iconic pair made a mess of things, paradise was lost, and mankind had to return to realizing just how right and sufficient God alone is, until ultimately that was revealed through Jesus Christ.
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5. To Cause You to Trust Him
God desires to give us what will truly satisfy us, but He will not give it if it is not good. We must trust His definition of good.I want anything and everything God has for me, including my current singleness, because He is good and His plans and timing are for my good, my sanctification, and His glory. This is not always how I “feel,” but it is my true heart’s desire.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless” (Psalm 84:11).
Again, our theology is skewed. We trust in our own wisdom and timing and we doubt God’s. That’s messed up, dangerous theology. It means we wish we were God, seated on His throne.
God has already given us the one thing that can truly satisfy the needs and desires of our souls: Jesus.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
God’s gift of Jesus is proof that He is the Giver of all good things. We can trust Him.
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Kristi Walker has been a missionary in Berlin, Germany for over 15 years working with an international church as the Director of Student Ministries. She is the author of two books - Disappointment: A Subtle Path Away from Christ and Convinced. Applying Biblical Principles to Life’s Choices.