On Mondays, we pray and fast–asking God to come and meet us. We ask Him to soften our hearts as women, to raise up men, and to give the gift of marriage to those who desire it.
M.A.S.H. Mansion. Apartment. Shack. House. Yes, you just stepped out of a time-machine. There are teenage girls squealing all around you because Channing Tatum is going to be your future husband. If you aren’t sure what I’m referring to, you are incredibly lucky.
M.A.S.H. is a game that helps you to predict your future life. You get to select 4 possible future husbands, cars, jobs, residences, salaries, and cities. All of this is decided by random chance. You could end up with in a shack with no money and married to the awkward seventh grade boy who sits behind you in Math class. Or, you could end up being an art critic, living in a mansion, driving a jeep, and married to Hugh Grant.
In all of these scenarios, I ended up married. Maybe not with the man of my dreams, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, but to somebody, anybody. My middle school self had no idea that decades later I would be still a nervous nelly anxiously figuring out what to wear to a Saturday afternoon service project because, who knows, there may be a cute boy there. Really, Anna? Worrying about what to wear to pack a bunch of meals for a food bank? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Because no matter how much I write, talk, or internally muse about how being single has been a paradigm-altering, foundation-shaking, heart-shaping experience for God’s glory and my good. I don’t believe that second part. I actually believe that being single is God setting me up for failure for the random amusement of the universe. See look, that guy across the way wants to talk to that girl because she has an excellent waist-to-hip ratio. She’s got that “it factor” which is why he’s talking to my friend. And, there’s Anna standing between them awkward, intruding, and alone.
None of this is fair to God. He’s not a 7th grader. He doesn’t sit there drawing concentric spirals to assign me a random life. He’s not sitting a slumber party laughing with the other members of the Trinity saying, “Oh! Look! Anna got trash collector as a career!” Regardless of whether or not I believe it, He is not playing a game. He’s writing a story. I can’t see the character development, the story arc, the meta-narrative. I can’t tell when new faces will appear in the story–if one will be a man who becomes an integral character. My lack of railway-switchboard type knowledge doesn’t mean that my life is random.
The God of the Bible is the God who is so ordered and structured that even the hairs on my head are numbered, my tears are counted and recorded, every day has meaning and is assigned a purpose, and He even has a new name already picked out–intentionally–just for me. He’s building me a place to live. I don’t know why He has ordered and planned for my life to be unattached up to this point, but He has. The question is whether or not I can trust Him with the seeming randomness of my (lack of) dating life. I want a sign that it will work out in the way that I want it to. I’d almost prefer to be able to pick a number and a name out of a hat rather than trust whatever storyboard God has planned out.
It turns out that I’m not really that unique after all. Just after Jesus had fed the five thousand, people followed him around asking for a sign. They ate the bread and the fish, but they wanted more info on whether or not this Jesus guy was legit. They knew God had worked in the past with Moses and their ancestors, but they wanted another sign. That bread miracle could’ve just been random.
Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life…” John 6:28-35
I want a sign that God isn’t playing M.A.S.H with the universe. Jesus is that sign. Jesus is the sign pointing to the fact that from the beginning of the universe and from the beginning of your life–God had a plan. He has a plan. And, what’s our part? To believe Him.
Blessings on you as you pray and fast this week.