Being single is hard. I know, marriage is hard, too, but being single is just obnoxious. It may be a stretch to say that we are created for marriage, but somehow being single still feels like I’m missing something. I don’t just mean sex, though I do include that. It’s all the other stuff.
Having someone to do life with on a daily basis, someone who is closer than a roommate can be. Having someone to provide for and take care of. And having someone make fun of me for ending sentences in prepositions because I just don’t want to think it through more thoroughly…and because I’m from Texas. Having a reason to make work feel like I’m doing more than just paying bills to continue a cycle of working to pay bills.
In case I’m not being clear, I’m tired of being single. More than that, I’m flat out annoyed with it. That’s why these words from Russell Moore in his book Tempted and Tried hit me like a ton of bricks. If you haven’t read this book, read it. It’s easily one of the books that every Christian should read. The third chapter compares and contrasts Jesus’ first temptation and trial in the wilderness to that of the Israelites during the Exodus, among other things. Here, he specifically addresses the Israelites’ complaints about not having “enough” food and wanting to go back to Egypt.
To lose control of your appetites is to lose sight of the gospel itself, the truth that God knows what you need to survive — the broken body and spilled blood of Jesus. God allows his people to “hunger” so he can feed them with what is better than what they would choose. The Israelites wanted Egyptian onions and leeks; God was training their appetites for bread from heaven.
—Tempted and Tried, pp. 80-81
You see, losing control of our appetites is about more than fornication or pornography. It’s about our attitude. It’s about how we seek God concerning this issue. It’s not wrong to want a spouse. It’s not wrong to pray for and ask God for a spouse. But I feel that many times when I do this it’s because I am more concerned about my temporal desires not being met than I am the glory of His name. I fear that’s the way many single Christians approach this as well.
I mean, even typing out the first paragraph of this post, knowing where I’m going to end this, makes me feel more like I’m complaining about the hunger than wanting to see how He chooses to satisfy those desires, or if He chooses to satisfy them. Just like the Israelites forgot about all the slavery and constant threat of death and wanted to go back to Egypt for food, I find myself wishing I could go back to when I was in a relationship. I completely forget about the fact that I’m not in that relationship because it wasn’t what God wanted for me. In those moments, I want my desires satisfied more than I want His best for me, more than I want to glorify Christ with my life.
Fortunately, God’s pursuit of His glory being displayed in creation and in my life is stronger than my pursuit of temporal satisfaction. His glory is displayed best when I am most satisfied in Him, and He will be faithful to cultivate that satisfaction in Him so that He receives the most glory. As C.S. Lewis points out, this isn’t a one-sided thing. He is also faithful to pursue our satisfaction in Him because He knows that we will have more joy when we experience a holiday at the sea than we will playing in the mud – even if that means He carries us to the ocean while we throw a tantrum because we just don’t understand.
God loves us, and sometimes that means He chooses to father us rather than feed us the way we want. He does this for His glory and for our good.
Do you sometimes get tired of being single? How do you overcome it?
Don Sartain started blogging about life, Theology, and Christian thinking in 2010. He’s a covenant member at The Village Church and single for God’s glory and his good (at least that’s what he keeps telling himself). His favorite authors include John Piper, Russell Moore, and Matt Chandler. He has several solid guy friends who love him well and aren’t afraid to speak truth into his life, especially when he doesn’t want to hear it and is friends with a few girls who fill that role, too, for whom he is incredibly grateful. He has a heart to see the gospel proclaimed with our lives and lips, for the glory of God and the joy of those who love Him. He blogs regularly at Transforming Words, and you can follow him on Twitter.
Photo credit: Carlos Martz