I’ve had one of those days recently. A day when being single just weighs on you. When all your single friends are busy and your married friends are, well, married. You spend most of the day trying to be productive. Reading. Writing. Praying. Then you eventually start just medicating.
Turn on the TV. Put down the book and people watch at Starbucks, or whatever small coffee shop the hipsters prefer. But the more you medicate, the more something deep inside stirs, longing for more. Longing for depth – for wholeness.
And all of these feelings come down to one thing: Grace.
Yep, grace. Because as obnoxious and as painful as these days are, they are days we get to press into the Gospel. They are days when we are pressed into leaning on Christ and finding our identity and completeness in Him. Don’t get me wrong, we were wired with those desires. They are good desires—desires for marriage and for Gospel-centered community. These are good desires, and they are good gifts from God.
Just as much as these are gifts, so are those alone times. Those moments that make us realize that we want—that we need—more. Those moments without anything to distract us from crying out to God. And do you know what? He wants us to cry out to Him.
We’re not hiding anything from Him anyway. God knows what we’re going through already. He sees us when we lay in bed at night, staring at the empty space next to us. He sees us when we have great news and no one to share the excitement with. He sees us when our hearts break and we don’t have anyone to go home to and talk with. Like a parent who sees their child upset and sitting in their room wishing friends could come over.
Sometimes He surprises us and brings people into our life on those days. Sometimes He waits for us to ask, so that we can be encouraged both in the asking and in the answering. And some days, He lets us sit in that loneliness. He lets us feel the weight of it.
He lets us feel the heaviness of the longing in our hearts so we’ll know we’re really longing for something that a spouse or community just can’t fill. We’re longing for Him. We’re longing for the completion of our redemption. Eagerly anticipating the “already” colliding with the “not yet” in the beautiful explosion that will be our glorification and His permanent, visual exaltation throughout the Earth.
Until we find our rest in Him, we won’t rest. We can be married. We can have solid Gospel-centered community. We can have a family. We can have all of these things and still feel that pull toward eternity, that longing for more.
This is God’s grace toward us: letting us wrestle with that now while we’re single and only have to focus on our own spiritual walk and then our community. It’s God’s grace keeping us single until we rest in Him, so that there will be one less thing to struggle with during marriage.
Do I think this ever really, permanently resolves itself until Christ returns? No. But if, by God’s grace, we train ourselves to rest in Him and to seek Him for fulfillment, then we’ll be able to do so more easily when the added pleasures and stresses of marriage and family are added.
To be honest, I’m preaching this to myself right now as much as I’m hoping the Spirit speaks to you. I don’t have it together. I may never have it together. But Christ does, and He can handle the weight. He wants to handle the weight (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7). So when you’re in those moments, join me in crying out to God to fill that void.
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless
till they find their rest in you;
so lead us by your Spirit
that in this life we may live to your glory
and in the life to come enjoy you for ever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
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: familymwr