Speaking as a single person who desires to wait not for the “perfect one,” but for God’s choice—in His chosen time and in His chosen circumstances—I find myself often discouraged by our current American church culture.
On the one hand, we have a more loose approach which says: “Date around! There are plenty of fish in the sea! See what size fits!” On the other hand, we have a more conservative perspective which says: “Get married as your solution to loneliness, romantic fulfillment and all sexual desire!”
However, I personally have not found myself to be comfortable with either of these two extremes.
Recreational dating aligns with culture quite nicely, but places absolutely no faith in the God who provides for His sons and daughters.
When I read Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33 and Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 7:27, I am reminded that we need not be anxious for our own interests. We have a Sovereign and Almighty God as our loving Father. He cares for us infinitely more than even the best earthly father. Plus, we have to remember that both Jesus and Paul were single, and they commended singleness (Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 7:8).
In the same way, the conservative strategy to marry wisely often sacrifices the sweet, romantic gift we observe in the Song of Solomon (as fully realized in the relationship between Christ and His bride), which is dynamic and full of life… not mechanical and systematic.
I'm concerned that Christian singles are pursuing marriage with greater vigor than they intentionally pursue Christ. I believe this is probably fueled both by their own desires and the external pressures within the church. My exhortation is this: "NOTHING is wrong with you." Do not allow yourself to feel as if you are a problem to be fixed simply because you are currently single. We should be far more fearful of not pursuing Christ as our greatest treasure than we are of being single. Also, we should fear our tendancy to value anything including marriage (for the sake of getting married) over and above Christ and His kingdom.
Marriage is a very good gift. But, we must remember that it is a gift given and not for us to take. The single man or woman finds no less favor with God than those who are married.
Spend time with your Creator. Wrestle before the throne of your King. Make child-like requests to your Father. Is marriage in your heart? If so, then pray without ceasing and find your satisfaction in God while you TRUST God to provide for you. His promises are throughout Scripture. Stop the silly games of pursuing romance in relationships which so often fail and so seldom satisfy. Wait on the God who saved you and trust Him to provide for you a suitable mate with whom you can excitedly pursue your joy in Christ. The loose approach encourages you to compromise away all that is special and dear to you and your future spouse.The conservative perspective urges you to rush into a calculated marriage before considering whether or not you are called to it by God.
Wait on God.
Wait on Christ.
Search the Scriptures and realize that waiting on God is one of the highest and sweetest disciplines of faith.
Nothing is too difficult for Him (Jeremiah 32:17).
You need only be still (Exodus 14:14).
“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" (Psalm 27:14).
In conclusion, I would like to remind the Church that there are many in our number who will be called to singleness until death or Christ's Return. We must esteem their value to the Church.
Constant questions such as, "When are you getting married?" or "Are you interested in someone?" encourage singles to find their identity in marriage or family. Also, it makes our singles feel as if there is something wrong with them.Help those in the Church who have been given the GIFT of singleness to take advantage of it as a means of undistracted service in the kingdom. Encourage them to believe the promise that the Lord will give them the desires of their heart (marriage or not) as they seek His kingdom and His righteousness.
Grace and Peace,