I believe that both singlehood and marriage are gifts from God and valuable for bringing to pass His purposes in our lives. Having said that, I live in hope of meeting the man of my dreams, the delight of my eyes, and taking pride in being his helper.
Until that happens, I have two choices – I can either bury myself in self-pity or use the time and freedom to grow in terms of skills and competencies to empower myself and be used by God.
The journey of singlehood has many challenges but it also comes with its own highlights. One of these is more time to prayerfully seek God’s will before I make the lifelong commitment of marriage. I set out to study a few people in the Bible to help me better understand my present state.
Jeremiah wascalled by God to be a prophet at a young age. This came at a cost because among other things, he was instructed not to take a wife, have children or attend social events. In addition, he experienced loneliness and was even known as the “weeping prophet”. His life encourages me to choose to live in obedience to God’s calling and keep at it even in the toughest of times.
Anna’s brief marriage ended in widowhood. She did not have a child and spent more than 80 years as a widow and a prophetess. Widows at that time were typically poor, rejected by society and treated unjustly but that did not keep her from giving years of meaningful service to God. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Her single status illustrates that God can make every passage of our lives meaningful. Despite the stigma singlehood might carry, it should not hold me back from serving God but rather use my heartaches as His investment in me for His glory.
Paul was transformed by God from a persecutor of Christians to a preacher for Christ.Apart from Jesus Himself, no one seems to have shaped the history of Christianity like Paul. God used his past and present to serve Him in the future. He experienced a lot of hardship – false accusations against him, imprisonment, a thorn in his flesh and unjust charges of treason among other trials.
Despite his huge accomplishments, he still wanted to be regarded as a servant. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:7, “I wish all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” He was expressing his desire for more people to devote themselves to the ministry of the gospel without the added concerns of spouse and children.
Paul’s life demonstrates to me that singlehood is a special grace and that as I choose to depend solely on God, He will use my past and present to help me serve Him in my future.
Martha got so engrossed in serving the Lord that she forgot to seek emotional and spiritual nourishment and rest by sitting at His feet. This journey of singlehood might be very difficult if I rely on my own effort, wisdom and strength. I would rather get the same from God through the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Naomi and Ruth shared shattered dreams and painful experiences. Naomi’s husband Elimelech, and sons Mahlon and Chilion, died. Ruth also lost her husband yet she clung unselfishly to Naomi. In her singlehood, Ruth obeyed her mother-in-law’s instructions and God rewarded her with a new family. Eventually she was a blessing to the whole nation as she was named in the lineage of Jesus Christ. This teaches me that my service to God can cause an impact in my community, country and by extension the world.
I once travelled with a group of older single women from our church on a mission to Kwale County. We visited the mission station, which is located in a predominantly Muslim area, and had the privilege of stocking the kitchen with kitchenware. Our trip by train coincided with the first year anniversary of the standard gauge railway and we received gifts from the train staff.
I look back with gladness at the travel experience and the opportunity to meet women from the coastal region whose humble way of life left me in awe. We also got to enjoy time away from the normal hustle and bustle of life, indulging in sumptuous cuisine, praying and worshipping God.
Are you single? If yes, join me in accepting our present situation with gratitude, keeping in mind it is for a season. Consider it a gift and a blessing. Let us be sold out for the Lord – seeking to serve others instead of being served. Amen!