Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dear Single Friends--Keep On!

Three years of silence certainly demands an update. But there’s no time for that right now, only burning thoughts that have been storing up, waiting for time between dishes and diapers and housework, to put them on paper. (Yes, I have a husband and a baby now, God be praised!  He truly has blessed me more than I dared to hope for.) But without further ado…

To my dear single friends:
I’ve seen the wedding pictures proliferating on Facebook, looked at the smiling faces of bridesmaids and groomsmen standing beside the new couple, and remembered how it felt. I’ve listened to exhortations given to bride and groom, about how marriage isn’t a fairy tale and sometimes it’s plain hard, and although I agree, I also remember how those words sounded when I was single. Marriage is hard. Does that mean being single is actually easy? Cause if this hardest fight I’ve ever fought, this battle to trust God and obey Him and submit my body, mind, and will to the purposes of God, is easy….then I’m not too sure I can handle “hard.”

There’s been a booming crop of babies in these parts lately and I’ve heard, both from my own lips and those of others, the reassurance that being a mom is one of the highest callings on earth, one of the most important jobs I’ll ever do, and an opportunity to influence eternity through the raising of my kids. I agree.  But I also remember the way that sounded when I was single. Being a wife and mom is the most noble job on earth. Too bad I don’t get to try out for it. It sure feels like all the things I’m trying to do for the Lord might not count as much.

Dear single friends who are endeavoring to live pure, useful lives that glorify God, please hear this. What you are doing is hard, harder than any person besides the God who bottles your tears and hears your heart’s cry, can know. Holiness is hard. Faith is hard. Obeying when nothing seems to make sense is hard. And it’s all working for you an eternal weight of glory, and bringing delight to the heart of the God who scrutinizes your path and your lying down, and is intimately acquainted with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3)

This is what will carry you through days and nights of loneliness and uncertainty. We’ve read the books about the importance and beauty of chastity, how that waiting now will make your marriage blessed. It’s true, of course, more true than you know right now. But it’s not enough to keep you walking pure, because who says you’re ever going to get married?  What really is going to keep you from swerving to the right or left, is faith in the God who made you and died for you, just trusting that He knew what he was talking about when he said “Flee immorality…the immoral man sins against himself.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)

When you choose, one minute after the next, day after day, year after year, to obey God regardless of how you feel or what people think or the message this world blasts in your ears, you are walking in faith. Faith is the one vital ingredient to please God, “For without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)  To live for an eternal reward rather than earthly pleasure, is proof that you believe God is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 

Faith also means trusting that the most significant, noble job you can do in this world is the job God has put right in front of you at this moment. That might be going to work so you can pay your rent. Or picking up a sibling from a friends’ house. Or cleaning the church. Or sharing the gospel with your neighbor.

God doesn’t reserve his most precious commendation for those who are married or parents.  He gives it to those who trust that He knows what He’s doing and are just willing to do the job He gives them to do. 

What you are doing, this life as a single person honoring God, is hard, but believe God’s Word--it matters.

Jesus Himself asked, “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).  As I watch the lives of some of you, pure lives of obedient service, I am confident that yes, He will.
He’s already inducted people like you into his “Faith’s Hall of Fame.” “For time will fail me if I tell of [those] who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed act of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions…” (Hebrews 11:32-34)

Your choice to obey God is a victory on all three fronts of the Christian’s battle, the world (the system that opposes God), the flesh, and the devil. “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 Jn 5:4) There’s the conquering of a kingdom—the world. When you, by God’s grace, perform acts of righteousness, you demonstrate Christ’s victory over the flesh. And when you prove that you trust God even though He hasn’t given you everything you desire, you shut the mouth of the roaring lion, Satan himself, whose accusation before God was, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” (Job 1:9)

So dear single friends, stick to the battle. The Lord rejoices. The devil is thwarted. The church is encouraged. The world sees a picture of what a true Christian looks like. Too much is at stake for you to give in now. And ahead, perhaps just around the corner, is the ultimate home above, sweet rest, perfect love, and eternal reward. May God give you grace and strength to fight on.