This is your weekly reminder that we fast and pray on Mondays during lunch for 1) men to come to know the Lord and to lead relationships, 2) for women to see where they need to change and to change, and 3) for the gift of marriage to be given to those who desire it.
During tonight’s sermon at church, the guest pastor nonchalantly asked, “Are you following Christ because you want to serve God or because you want God to serve you?”
Such a simple question with such an obvious answer, right? Except that I know my heart reflects the truth better than my rote answers. So much of my frustration around being single really has nothing to do with a husband (or the lack thereof). It’s more with feeling like God somehow didn’t come through on this one. Like I’ve waited for years and gone on bad dates and helped every roommate I’ve ever had plan a wedding and read all the singleness books and did online dating…and now it’s my turn. My turn, God. Did you hear me? You seem a bit deaf to me on this one. I’m not kidding. I did my part – where’s my spouse?
I act as if I’ve somehow “earned” a husband by, I don’t know, following
all most a select few of the True Love Waits rules from youth group, and “guarding my heart” (or, in my case, acting aloof and unapproachable), and learning to cook (sort of) and not incurring large amounts of debt (well, until I decided to go to grad school) and smiling at lots of boys (until I realize they are wearing wedding rings…gah). Ok, so let’s be honest – I didn’t live up to the very ridiculous standards I had made for myself, much less touch God’s standard of fearless trust in Him and wholehearted submission to His word – husband or no husband.
So. I’m never going to be fully over my control issues and idolatry while on this side of heaven, but I can say that Jesus loves sinners. Even marriage legalists. And Jesus was tempted in every way as I am (including idealizing marriage and being tempted to put his identity in something other than his relationship with God) and was yet without sin. His perfect life, including His suffering, is accepted by God as full payment for the punishment that should be mine (Hebrews 4:14-16). And beyond that, He lavishes ridiculous amounts of grace on me as His child and is persistently tracking down my heart and changing me into Christ’s image (Philippians 1:3-11).
So what does all that mean when I stand at the front of a church this coming Saturday as a bridesmaid in yet another roommate’s wedding? What does all this mean as I start friendships with my new roommates and try to find the rhythm of life in a new neighborhood? What does this mean as I pray, sometimes against hope, for the unbelieving guys I’ve dated? What does all this mean as I go home for Thanksgiving in a few weeks to meet all three of my younger siblings’ serious significant others?
I think it means that I don’t need the answers to those questions. If Jesus is both good and all-powerful, I don’t have to try to control my future. If Jesus definitely loves me, I don’t have to question if my current circumstances are a mistake. And if Jesus redeems sinners and also empowers them to live for His glory, I don’t have to try to follow all my silly marriage rules any longer. (Thank goodness because they were pretty annoying rules!)
By His grace,