Hope and the Numbers

Reminder: We fast on Mondays at lunch (or longer) to ask that God would raise up godly, courageous men to move toward relationship, that He would show us where we need to change, and that He would grant marriages to those who desire them.

I love this blog. There is freedom in coming together to pray, encourage, and stand with each other in the arena of singleness. We’ve wrestled together with loneliness, lust/sex, and ultimately, God’s goodness. Sometimes, in my prayers and in my internet surfing, I lose myself in my personal pain and disappointment that I feel about my love life, and I forget the spiritual war being waged on God’s good design of marriage, family, and sexuality.

I recently watched a video lecture from Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas. I won’t even link to the video here, because I honestly don’t want you to watch it. Regnerus spoke about how it is “socially more difficult—not just personally more challenging—to withhold sex before marriage.” Throughout the lecture, he spoke quite frankly and openly about how, as women were liberated sexually, men no longer have to pay the high price of commitment and marriage to have sex.

The video was downright depressing. I felt deflated and suddenly thought, “Ok, that’s it. It’s impossible for anyone to get married without paying the price of pre-marital sex.”

As soon as that thought left my head, I was filled with an unspeakable encouragement.

Is this situation any more impossible than Sarah, the old grandma, having a baby?

Is hoping in the middle of this cultural trap any more difficult than Ruth hoping in the God of Israel for her future?

Is trusting God harder for us than it was for Mary, who was told she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit?

I was reminded on a grand scale that the God we serve is more powerful than cultural trends. He cares more than my tiny mind can comprehend about sexual brokenness. And, He ultimately is working all things out for His glory and our good. I have no idea what that looks like for you individually or the church at-large, but, all the while, we can walk bravely and pray boldly.

Looking at the numbers—whether it’s the ratio of eligible men to women in your social circle or how few abstinent individuals there are on the planet—can be incredibly disheartening, but we cannot live there. (Well, in reality, we probably are all there at some point, and some of you are there now.) But, your heart cannot dwell there and still keep beating.

Today, we as we pray, let’s turn our gaze away from the numbers and to our one, real, life-giving hope: the risen savior, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.  And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

Love,
Anna

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20 Responses to Hope and the Numbers

  1. 30sv says:

    I wandered over here after someone posted a link on Boundless.

    I think I’ve watched that same video. I’ve read Regnerus’s book, “Premarital Sex in America.” I’ve also read the paper by Baumeister and Vohs that is the basis for Regnerus’s sexual economics idea (it’s a fascinating read!).

    I think the lowered price of sex is a non-issue for Christians. I’d suggest that there are two markets, each operating quite differently. There is a worldly market is governed by typical economic principles, one of the key assumptions being that buyers and sellers negotiate prices based on self-interest. And there is a Christian market which, in contrast, is driven by Philippians 2:3-4.

    Well, I really hope there are two markets. Partly because if there is, in fact, only the market that Regnerus describes, I have zero value (or negative?). ‘Cuz I’m a 30-something virgin guy… (Yup, that’s directly from the Baumeister/Vohs paper. Like I said, fascinating read!)

    BTW, are you Anna Broadway? If so, I gave your book to my sister for her birthday and she loved it.

    • fast. pray. says:

      Thanks for your insightful comment! I hope there are two markets as well, but even if there’s not, I literally cannot worry about it without going crazy. So, as cliche as this is. I have to cling to hope and trust in a God who is good and “blesses us with every spiritual blessing.”

      I wish I could claim credit for the book, but I’m not said Anna. But, now I’m curious! Thanks again for your post.

      –Anna

      • 30sv says:

        “It’s going to take a miracle for me to get married,” I laughed to my discipler (basically everyone at my church is either Under 18 or Married). The odds may not be auspicious, but God is more powerful than a bunch of numbers and probabilities.

        Proverbs 16:33 – The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

        It is refreshing how you are advocating change in both men and women. Keep it up!

        • fast. pray. says:

          Thanks for the encouragement. We definitely want to include men and women because it’s so easy for us as women to just assume the other gender is at fault. We want to fight against that assumption. Happy you stumbled on to our blog!

          –Anna

  2. Lynn says:

    Thank you. This post and the one last week spoke to me right where I am. I’ve subscribed to fast.pray for about a year now, but these were the first posts to resonate with me in months. I confess that the numbers have me feeling overwhelmed. There is a small part of me that wants to remain hopeful, but if I’m honest, I’ve truly given up hope. I can’t say that my feeling of hopelessness has changed dramatically after reading this post, but I feel a little better today after reading it.

    • fast. pray. says:

      I’m so with you. Hope is both dangerous and beautiful, and I think many of us here really understand that. Trusting God with that tender, broken part of our hearts is painful, and I’m glad you’re here w/ us.

      Love,
      Anna

  3. halennox says:

    Excellent post, as always. The numbers game is a hard one for me… rather depressing at times. I was sharing my concern with some Ugandan friends recently. I expressed my fear that I was getting too old to get married and have children. My dear friend replied, in her lovely Ugandan accent, “God is never late”. So true!! Thank you for the reminder this week to keep looking up!

  4. Annette says:

    Bravo!!

  5. Olivia says:

    you’re not alone by Meredith Andrews http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKj4Fcp5S1o

  6. Erica C. says:

    Elijah ignorantly assumed he was all alone. That reality, based solely on his own evaluation of the situation, depressed him. Right after God revealed his presence in the small whisper to Elijah, God told him, “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” -Kings 19:18

    Sunday’s sermon at my church was quite convicting. My pastor differentiated agreement with a leader and following a God. Not knowing all the particulars of God’s plan is part and parcel for following Him, but it’s also what make Him worth following. He is more in control and more in the know. So this community is giving a glimpse that God is sustaining many that are called to this season of trust in His good plan.

    We are not alone and our Lord is most certainly trustworthy through all our lonely unknowns.

  7. Andrea says:

    Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  8. Anna –

    Thank you for again (as this blog always does!) reminding me how AWESOME our God is and that in this walk – I am not alone! I not only have the King of Kings walking alongside me, but loving, kind, insightful people like you!

    Yahoo! Yahoo!

    ps – I will say that all of the married women in my small group who encourage me to follow God’s word with regard to not having sex outside of marital bonds, HAD sex with their husbands prior to marrying them. I would love to hear from women (and men) who were able to withhold prior to marriage or, if you have never been married, are still pure. (I am now single, but was married). Does that make sense?
    ed).

  9. Well said! And it’s always comforting to know there are others in the journey too, holding to the standards God has laid out for us.

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