I’ve been really enjoying reading an Old Testament daily readings book called Reading Between the Lines by a guy called Glen Scrivener. I love the fact the Jesus is on every page.
The other day I opened the book to the next reading titled “Two are Better than One” – Sigh! My mind was already whirring deciding what today’s reading was all about, and I just couldn’t be bothered with another wrestle with my emotions as I read about the joys of marriage.
The thing is, 98% of the time I’m perfectly content being single. I say things like “I’d like to be married” but, in truth, I actually like making my own decisions, I enjoy my own space, and I like that I don’t have to clean up after anyone but myself. I’ll admit that there was a time when marriage was an idol, but that was a very long time ago.
Let’s face it, with odds like one godly guy to every seven women, the chances of me finding a mysterious Boaz—who likes curvy, strong, and feisty chicks (who doesn’t want any kids) is like beyond needle-in-a-haystack. Don’t get me wrong, I know God is absolutely sovereign, but it took a long time to kill that particular idol in my life. I know marriage is an absolute gift and a blessing but, so is being single.
Still Feel It
I don’t feel it often, but if I was being honest, there are times when having someone would make just life easier. It would be nice not to have someone call me when I’m traveling to make sure I got their safely, nice not to have to explain the random questions I get about my kids and relationship history (especially when the questions are hurtful and cruel, asked out of nosiness), nice to have a deep conversation with someone who loves me.
Recently would have been one of those times. Working through the details of my mum’s estate and dealing with the day-to-day of grief, it would have been nice to have someone to buffer the calls or messages, share the admin, or bounce questions off. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt it—no matter how fleeting.
Through these times I remind myself of the truth that Jesus is better. I remind myself I am a bride and Jesus is the groom. He’s better than any imaginary Boaz I could come across. Even in the darkest “alone” moments, He is always with me, loving me, caring for me, helping me.
Those are not just empty words; they express solid truth. All the things I think it would be nice to have, Christ has provided for me in my church family—the girlies call me when I’m travelling, they get mad on my behalf at the thoughtless randoms (I secretly like that), I’ve got a one-to-one who knows me well and last time I travelled someone put milk in my fridge and chocolates on my counter on my return. The little things matter, and Christ shows His love through His people.
So, with all these thoughts flying around my head I prepare myself and start to read and, on the surface, it goes exactly where I expected it to: Genesis 2 (they always head there). “…in Christ’s world it is perfectly explicable why two are better than one. From the beginning, the Lord said of Adam, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:10).” But, then Glen Scrivener throws in a wee curve ball and I’m like: (hands in the air) Hallelujah!
“Of course, Adam was a picture for us of Christ and His desire for a bride… Jesus decides that, whatever the consequences for him, two are better than one for us. And so:
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25)
Now, together with him, we are made rich, we are made strong, we are brought out of the cold into the sunshine of his love.”
I couldn’t have said it better. We singles aren’t lesser beings, weaker, unloved, alone, abandoned, left on the shelf, past our sell-by date, or any other thing you like to tell yourself. No, we are abundantly blessed, treasured possessions, patiently pursued, deeply cherished, sacrificially loved. Jesus is truly the better bridegroom, and in Him we are afforded all that is His.
I know it’s hard when it’s been a crappy day and you want to snuggle up on the sofa with someone who cares. I’m not denying that would be nice (especially if he brought me ice cream and put on my favourite movie!). But, if we don’t find our complete satisfaction in Christ alone, content to trust Him with the plans for our lives, resting in His sovereign will—then that desire, that idol, will be all-consuming and fuel how we interpret every part of our lives. Many an unhappy marriage has been fuelled by this—‘Unhappily ever after’ is, after all, a very long time.
Marriage is absolutely a gift and a blessing. But remember, being single is also a gift that brings its own rewards. In his blog What is the Gift of Singleness? Tim Challies, speaking of 1 Corinthians 7:6–7, says this:
Right there, in the context of marriage and singleness, Paul insists that each Christian has “his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” God gives to some people the good gift of marriage and he gives to others the good gift of singleness… God does not leave any of his people without a gift. If you are currently single, you have no reason to think you have been bypassed when God dispensed his gifts. No, your current circumstance is God’s gift to you… You do not need to feel guilty or rebellious if you desire marriage, provided you do not begrudge God the gift he has currently given you.
Are you begrudging the gift God has currently given you? Do you really believe Christ is enough? Find your satisfaction in Him alone—no spouse will match Christ. Jesus really is better and enough.
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:25)