Today I’d like to take the opportunity to address my single friends. Yesterday was a day that many single people look to with dread; I know this as I dreaded it for 31 years. It wasn’t until I was 31 that I met Tim, and before that I had dated a total of 5 people, 2 of whom lasted more than one date. The one that lasted the longest was in high school and, though he was a good person, I really only dated him so that I could say that I had a boyfriend. Which is not exactly the best reason to be dating someone. So, like a lot of you out there, February 14th would roll around and it seemed like the day was mocking me: mocking my loneliness, which at times was all encompassing, mocking my desire to find someone to spend my life with, to start a family. I’d spend the day a little bitter and a lot feeling sorry for myself, entirely convinced that I would never marry, much less date, and grow old surrounded by 20 or 30 cats.
It’s difficult being single, especially when everyone around you is either dating or getting married and having kids. We are biologically programmed to seek companionship, to have desires, to want that connection. So we turn to things to quench that thirst, and they never are enough. There are a lot of empty substitutes for love out there, and they can be very, VERY tempting. It’s really easy to turn on the computer and access pornography, one night stands, or even dates with people that are completely wrong for us. Romantic comedies are fun, but they can increase the yearning, and chocolate is great as long as you don’t care about your waistline. And no matter how wonderful a cat snuggles, they can’t answer when you need someone to talk to (not that cats are a bad thing! Adopt all the cats!).
In discipleship class we are learning that above all human relationships is our relationship with Jesus. I want you to read this carefully and really think about it: until you have realized who you are in Christ, until you have come to a oneness with Him, until you are ready to forsake all others to follow Him, it won’t matter who you date or even if you marry the absolute perfect person. You will never be fulfilled without a life fully invested in Christ. Single people have an opportunity to focus on their relationship with Christ in a way that those in relationships don’t. They have the opportunity to develop into fully formed people, to become the type of person God would want them to be. Paul, the ultimate bachelor, talks about this in 1 Corinthians:
“I would like you to be free from concern. 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 Cor. 7:32-35)
This being said, you will still feel lonely, still yearn, still desire. These are the times to fall on your knees, cry out to God and live in Him. Christ can help you through the loneliest moments and the saddest days. He understands them all (Hebrews 4:15-16). He loves each of his children (Jeremiah 31:3). He promises to fulfill all of our needs ( Philippians 4:19). He has given us His promise of support through our most difficult times (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), to be our strength when we have none (Philippians 4:13). Perhaps most importantly, He has promised us joy in Him:
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
I don’t know what your path holds. It is my sincerest wish for you that God bring you the earthly love that you so desire. Until that day comes, hold fast in the knowledge that there is no love on this earth that is equal to that of His love for you, his Most Beloved.