Source: American Bible Society website.
By Ann-Margret Hovsepian
For years, my biggest struggle with being single was the not-knowing. A bit of a control freak, I have struggled to allow this part of my life to remain a mystery. One day, I decided I would choose singleness for myself so I could stop wondering. That gave me a sense of control but, in hindsight, it was a form of self-preservation and a cop-out because I no longer had to wait on God.
I operated under this delusion for about three years, until I realized God had never asked me to give up the desire for marriage. God was calling me to trust God, day by day, and to find fulfilment in our relationship.
Many single adults face this conundrum: is being unmarried a curse or a blessing? Should we embrace it or surrender it to God? Should we wrestle with the desire to get married or plead with God to take it away from us?
For me, loneliness is not the worst part of being single. Countless married men and women say they feel lonely while laying in bed next to their spouse. Hang around couples long enough and you learn that a wedding is not a cure-all or the beginning of guaranteed bliss. What’s harder to come to terms with is the feeling I’ve been passed over, the lie that creeps in that something is wrong with me.
Stay in the Truth
Deception is easy to trip over, especially when we’re vulnerable and our judgement is clouded by emotional pain. Singles may question their worth, identity, and sense of purpose by comparing themselves to peers who are wives, husbands, mothers, fathers—people who seem to have a higher calling in life. However, Ephesians 2:10 celebrates each person as a valuable, purposeful creation. We have inherent worth as God’s children, made in God’s image. Singleness only becomes a deficiency if we make it one.
Another common misconception is that God is denying singles a blessing God has bestowed on others, perhaps as a punishment. This viewpoint assumes God has promised marriage, which is not true. Scripture says God will meet our needs (Philippians 4:19) but never spells out what that will look like.
We often subconsciously—or patently—base our faith on how well God meets our demands. If God doesn’t send us a spouse, God isn’t all that loving. This is a severe accusation against the Creator that we would do well to avoid. Psalm 84:11 reminds us that God does not withhold good things from those who walk blamelessly. While we may expect these good things to come in the form of a partner, God’s provision comes in all different shapes and sizes.
Embrace your Blessings
It’s hard to see singleness as a blessing if it’s not the gift you were hoping for. British pastor Vaughan Roberts writes: “As long as you have [singleness], it’s a gift from God, just as marriage will be God’s gift if you ever receive it.”
In 1 Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul highlights two advantages of being single: freedom from the responsibilities, pressures, and burdens of daily married life, and freedom to serve God with abandon. Paul urges those who can remain single to do so. He never diminishes the value of marriage but makes it clear that singleness is a beautiful, godly choice. Rather than viewing it simply as a waiting period, singleness is rife with its own opportunities and ways of contributing to Christ’s body.
Be a Good Steward of Your Gift
The Christian’s goal should never be personal fulfilment and happiness. This falls short of the full abundance God has for us. The Bible provides a far more holistic vision of all creation being brought into unity in Christ. One should not remain single for the freedom to revel in a life lacking responsibility; neither should one make the worldly pursuits of family, home, or social status the ultimate goal. Matthew 6:33 makes it clear that all believers must seek God’s kingdom and righteousness above all else. As we seek God’s kingdom, we are satisfied at the very core of our being. Then we can receive both singleness and marriage as a gift, an expression of our life lived in and with God.
Alone or in partnership with someone else, when we are fully committed to Christ, our resources, talents, time, knowledge, experience, and opportunities can bless those God places in our paths. We can cultivate the gifts God has given us, bringing us deeper satisfaction and making our lives a fragrant offering.
Ann-Margret, a best-selling author of devotional books and an illustrator of adult coloring books, lives in Montreal, Canada. Over the last thirty years, she has served in children’s, youth, and women’s ministry and is preparing for her third mission trip to Armenia (her motherland) in August 2017.