We all saw so much good and beauty in our right-now lives of singleness, but we agreed it would be easier to enjoy that goodness, to enjoy singleness, if we just knew when.
Because that when would be a guarantee. A guarantee that our dreams for marriage, our longings for intimacy, our desire to do life with someone would be fulfilled. A guarantee that we wouldn’t be single forever.
There are a lot of What ifs? in life, and one that has at times loomed large and scary in my mind is What if I never get married?
Where does the looming scariness of this thought come from?
Yes, I do want to be married; that is something I hope for. But why the anxiousness, the fear, the desperation that so often accompany this thought?
When I find myself thinking in panic, What if I never get married?, it’s usually coming from a longing to know I won’t face the future alone. Or a fear that maybe I’m falling behind and failing in life. Or the idea that I need a significant other for happiness. Or the belief that singleness is second best to marriage and I’m missing out.
Ultimately, it comes from looking to a guarantee of marriage, of a romantic relationship, of a significant other for my joy and peace.
And so the thought that I might be single forever brings fear and anxiety.
There are a lot of What ifs? in this life. What if this scary thing happens? What if this thing I hope for doesn’t happen?
In the midst of those What ifs?, are we trusting God to be all He promises to be? Are we finding our joy and peace in the guarantee of His promises?
There are a lot of What ifs? in this life because there can be a lot of uncertainty in this life. Not only are we asking What if?, but also How? and When? and Why?
We don’t know the future. We don’t know how that situation will unfold, when this season of waiting will end, if our dreams will come true, why we’re experiencing this suffering.
Unknowns are hard. Unknowns are scary. Unknowns are, well, unknown.
But as Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Corrie Ten Boom* says, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
God’s character, God’s promises, God’s purposes, these are certain; these are guaranteed; and because God desires relationship with each one of us, He reveals Himself so these can be known. And this knowing is what bring peace and joy amidst the unknowns.
God is an infinite God, so there is much to know about His character, and much we will never know in this lifetime.
But here are 3 truths God reveals about Himself that we can know and trust in the midst of the What ifs? and fears of being single forever:
God is sovereign
I know the greatness of the Lord - that our Lord is greater than any other god. The Lord does whatever pleases him. Psalm 135:5-6
God is on the throne, and He always will be. Because nothing can threaten His rule, nothing can thwart His plans. No matter what the future holds, no matter how long we find ourselves single, no matter what challenges we face in singleness, we can be assured that God is in control and able to take care of us.
God is wise
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! Romans 11:33
Not only is God in His sovereignty able to carry out His plans for us, in His wisdom He knows what is best for us. He knows our needs and our desires, and He knows how to meet them in ways that will bring true fulfillment and joy. So however the unknowns unfold, whatever What ifs? come to pass, however long we’re still single, we can trust God’s timing and plan.
God is good
You are good and do only good. Psalm 119:68
The Lord does whatever pleases Him, and because He is good, He will never do anything that is less than good. So we can trust that what God does - His plans, His timing, His provision - is truly, truly, truly for our good. And we can know that in all, even the hard, the scary, the heartbreaking stuff of singleness, God is working for our good and will settle for nothing less than what is best for us.
What if I never get married? This isn’t a guarantee.
But who God is, that is guaranteed. Both now in my singleness, and forever into whatever the future holds.
He is Sovereign, able to carry out His plans.
He is wise, knowing what is best for us.
He is good, and will only do what is good for us.
*Corrie Ten Boom tells about her time in Auschwitz in her autobiography The Hiding Place; I highly recommend this book!