"Are You Worried About Getting Married?"
Singleness – We believe that unmarried women are fully valued in Christ; that by their chaste and set-apart lives they may especially devote themselves to service in the Kingdom of God during either their season or lifetime of singleness (1 Cor 7:4-35).
“Are you worried about getting married?”
My heart sank. Shocked and humiliated, I looked around to see if anyone had heard her.
I felt like I had been caught. How did she know? Was it that obvious?
No matter how much I knew it shouldn’t be true or wished it wasn’t. Yes, I was worried about getting married.
I am worried about getting married. Every day of my life.
But luckily, before I could utter a word, she quickly followed with a second question. “Do you want to get married?”
Well that was an easier, less shameful answer. “Yes, I do.”
It hadn’t been an easy morning. My emotions had gotten the best of me at church and I couldn’t tell you why if I tried. Welcome to womanhood. I guess sometimes emotions collide, circumstances come to a head, and you stand before the Lord, a wreck, and there’s nothing you or the hundreds of people around you can do, except admit that the timing is less than ideal. (Yeah, I usually prefer to have breakdowns in private, thanks.) I guess sometimes you don’t have a choice, and a beautiful moment of vulnerability in the midst of your people, people that know and love and walk with you, just happens.
I’m normally a night church goer. (Y’all evening services are where it’s at.) But I had gone that morning in support of the daughter of a dear friend who was being baptized. Amelia is nine, just started the fourth grade, and is now a ferocious follower of Jesus. A week prior I had sat at her kitchen table with her mom and watched her scrounge her entire house for the perfect super hero costume, complete with an eye mask made of wide-ruled notebook paper, and a sparkly belt that was either pink or green, I can’t remember. But I remember she looked fierce. That morning, I watched her stand proud and just as fierce in front of five hundred people in order to tell them she had trusted Jesus to save her. She was a Jesus lover, and I stood, with her family, friends, and most of all the God who created her, an Amelia lover. Mark my words, God will use her boldness and tenacity in ways unimaginable for the Kingdom.
Afterwards, with about forty people in tow, Amelia set out to celebrate her day in true Texas form, over chips and salsa, and sour cream enchiladas. I felt bad at the time, but for some reason, Amelia took to me that afternoon and asserted upon her arrival that she was going to sit next to me. After checking with her mom, making sure Amelia didn’t need to appease her out of town family with her presence at their table, I embraced the beginning of a sweet lunch sitting next to Amelia.
I can’t tell you what happened before or immediately after, but at some point during lunch, Amelia, in the blink of an eye, exposed my greatest weakness. A weakness I’ve carried for a decade, she brought up with no preface and no hesitation.
“Are you worried about getting married? Do you want to get married?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Well… God just hasn’t picked your man yet. But don’t worry, you’ll get married.”
And that was it. You’d probably think I left encouraged, elated even, that this precious friend, newly anointed with the Spirit of the living God, had no doubt that marriage is in the cards for me. But I didn’t. I left humiliated, messed up with embarrassment. I felt like all my efforts to have it all together, or at least appear to, had failed. A nine year old saw right through me.
Maybe I did stick out like a sore thumb among couple after couple that day, every single one with kids or kids on the way. Maybe everyone was wondering the same thing, feeling sorry for the single girl. Is it ever going to happen for her? Maybe they all know why it hasn’t and no one is telling me. But, as I’ve processed the whole encounter, moved past the insecurity, the fear and uncertainty that is stuck to this area of my life, Jesus has showed up in a way that’s undeniable. I fully believe God spoke through Amelia that day. Here’s why.
“Are you worried about getting married?” Jesus’ ministry was full of questions, and while Jesus already knew the answer to every one, He still asked. Why? I believe because He desired a deeper understanding of Truth, of Himself, for each and every person He encountered. If Jesus had asked me the same question Amelia did that afternoon, and in a way He did, it was because He wanted me face to face with the reality of my sin. Not to leave me there with no hope, but to open my eyes to my need for hope outside of myself.
Maybe you’re brushing it under the rug, denying the very existence of sin in your life. Maybe you’re justifying it because your circumstances are just too hard and your sin could be way worse. Or maybe you’ve just grown so accustomed to sin, you’ve stopped recognizing it as such. Friends, Jesus wants to forgive us, heal and redeem our hearts, and be our Savior. But we must admit our need. We are paralyzed until we do.
“Do you want to get married?” In John 5, Jesus encounters a man at the pool of Bethesda. This man had been an invalid for thirty-eight years… thirty-eight… and Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be healed?” Surely that’s not a real question. But you know what the man says, because it’s not a simple, “Yes.” Nope. Instead, he gives reason for the impossibility of such a thing. Again, though He is absolutely omniscience, knowing the answer before He asks, Jesus wants to remind the man (and us) who He is. He parts seas, moves mountains, walks on water. No thing is too hard (Jer 32:17), no person too far gone. And not only that, but the things we want are no accident. The presence of the desire I have to get married, is purposeful at the very least.
Whether He intends to fulfill it or not, He has a plan and a purpose for me to fully desire it now and I can be confident that it is a purpose toward His glory and my deepest joy. He wants me to recognize Him as the giver and sustainer of all things. Let’s own the desires He has put in us for good things, for His glory through them, and hold one to Him, rather than what we want. Desires may come and go, but God remains the same.
“God just hasn’t picked your man yet.” While I don’t believe that He hasn’t picked my man yet, I do believe we have either yet to meet or we have yet to realize His intentions for a marriage relationship. It’s just not time yet. I am absolutely humbled in thinking about the Lord’s timing and all the hundreds of thousands of things he is weaving together to make my story exactly what He intends it to be. The waiting is not the issue here; the issue is either we trust God or we don’t. Do we trust that He is good, and not just in a broad sense, but toward us, His children, specifically and personally? He is not holding out on us, He is working all things together toward an end far greater than what we could ever ask or imagine.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get married.” And there it is, the confidence I can’t seem to muster up for myself, Amelia spoke with ease and not a shadow of doubt. I wish I could, but I feel miles away from finding the line that balances contentment and hopeful expectation. I can’t say for sure, but I do believe that God spoke through this precious girl that day. I believe He told me it’s going to happen. Though this promise is not explicitly provided for me in the authority of His Word, I want to “go down swinging.” Each swing filled with shameless persistence in prayer and courageous belief. I know He is able, I know He is good and I know He hears me. On the foundation of having every thing I need in Jesus, I’m gathering all the faith I can find, from the deepest corners of my soul, and I am going to believe it. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter whether I do or I don’t, what matters is Jesus, that He is trustable and that I’ve sought Him and believed Him with every ounce of my being to make His name great.
So that’s my pledge to you, dear reader. I am going to pray and believe it.
Why not believe? He has already shattered all my hopes and dreams and expectations with something even better than them all, Himself. Jesus. Why would I not believe Him for something far less important? Believing Him for this only greater ascribes to Him the banner of provider, sustainer and giver of all good things.
What are you believing him for today?