(From 2 Peter 1:2-11)
And society insists I should be whining about it. Secular society proclaims that something must be terribly amiss if I have no boyfriend while Christian society simply insinuates my second-rateness by asking, “You’re still not married?”
Because a significant other is, after all, the measure of completeness.
Step back in time with me to a day when I was at enmity with God, excluded from His promises, cut off from His mercy by my sin. Having rebelled against Almighty God, choosing myself over Him, I found myself in a place of stark emptiness, alone, accursed, afraid. Single. Strip me back to the raw bones of helpless humanity and my needs become apparent—only one: to know God. Jesus stepped in, offering His life a ransom for my sins, redeeming me into a relationship with God, saving my soul from eminent death and destruction and betrothing me to Himself for eternity. Jesus took an empty, meaningless life and hid it in His making me complete.
In Christ, God granted to me everything pertaining to life and godliness. Do I lack?
Once upon a time you, too, were incomplete. Broken. Empty. Excluded from God’s mercy. But if you know Christ, you have everything. You are complete. Society doesn’t know God and tries to fill His place with everything imaginable: talent, money, beauty, fame, intelligence, experience, health, food, power, family, friends and romance. None of these complete you. Not even having all your appendages attached and in working order makes you a complete person. Completeness is apart from anything you can touch or see. Knowing Christ, you have escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Lust that is never satisfied, that always wants more. That we pursue until it controls us. You needn’t pursue anything but Yahweh.
Does this make “other” things evil? Not at all. Each of these things is a responsibility given by God to glorify Him. Every good thing and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights (James 1:17). He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will He not also along with Him, graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)? We know that God will supply all our needs according to the riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Take it back to the basics and we discover that we only have one primal need—to be saved, to belong to God. Everything else is a bonus. More. Above and beyond. An overflowing cup.
If your Heavenly Father met your primal need for a Savior, so miraculously bridging the gap between fallen man and perfect deity, does He have the power and wisdom to will and to work in your life for His good pleasure? Is there really anything “missing”? Are you incomplete? Lacking something?
Of course not. You have everything you need for life and godliness. Jesus. The lover of your soul. The bread from heaven. The pearl of great price. He beautifies the afflicted with salvation. He heals the soul. He makes wise the foolish and strengthens the weak. He is a father to the fatherless and a friend to all those who call on Him.
I realize that reflecting on these almost cliché truths sets your heart at ease and puts a smile on your face—for the duration of about two minutes. Just until the next wedding announcement arrives or you climb into bed alone. When sitting patiently, singing “Jesus is all the world to me” fails to stave off those second-rate blues, forget waiting to be pursued by a man and pursue!
Pursue Yahweh--Seek to know Him intimately, what pleases and displeases Him, His goals, His purposes, His promises. While you are unmarried, you have so much time energy and emotion you could be pouring into seeking Yahweh and building a foundation that will hold strong through the rest of your life. Are you wasting that time in pining for a husband when you already have a Perfect Lover?
Pursue your family--There is no shame, no indiscretion in a girl wooing her father or brothers. Certainly none in her reaching out to her mother or sisters. While you are unmarried you have so much time, energy and emotion that you could pour into the relationships that will best prepare you for marriage and uphold you through it—the relationships God has already blessed you with. He who is faithful in small things will be given great things (Mark 25:21). Are you wasting this precious training ground by day-dreaming of “escaping” it?
Pursue relationships with other girls—When Jesus healed the Gerasene demoniac (Mark 5:1-20), the man begged to go with Jesus. His request was a good one. Your desire for marriage is also. But Jesus told him “no.” That “no” was not a punishment. It was a redirection. The Lord had work for that man to do. The result of his cheerful obedience was that, even though Jesus had to leave the area, the entire region heard the good news of Jesus’ salvation. While you are unmarried, you have so much time, energy and emotion that you could be pouring into relationships with other girls. Are you wasting it feeling sorry for yourself when others could benefit from your encouragement?
Endure! Press on! Knowing that by the testing of your faith you will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4)! Be diligent to supplement your faith with moral excellence, consistently choosing to do the right thing. Your moral excellence comes from the knowledge of Christ! You come to know Christ through self-control and diligent study of Him and His word, which requires perseverance in your desire for God. Reach out to others, be kind to others. Forget about being “in love” and love! For real.
And guess what—you’ll find that you’ve been preparing for marriage in the best way possible. Or for whatever else the Lord might throw your way. You’re not depending on a husband to complete you. Or a father. Or a friend. Or anything else. Only Christ is perfect. Only Christ will never disappoint. In Christ you are complete. Lacking nothing. That is the secret of contentment in all circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13). Married? Single? Widowed? Your completeness comes from Christ. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
If these qualities are yours and are increasing, you’re neither useless nor unfruitful! You’re not incomplete. Second-rate. In Christ, you have everything you need for life and godliness. If you practice these things, you will never stumble. You’ll be so busy enjoying both that you’ll forget about the fact that you’re “still not married.” That you only turn down one side of your bed. You’ll forget to evaluate guys in light of your “husband-worthy” list. Time will fly by while the Lord is at work writing the life-stories that only He knows how to compose. Being completely single is an opportunity to be completely singled out to serve the Lord only. It’s an opportunity that, most likely, will not last forever.
Why would I whine about being free to serve Yahweh wholly? Why would I worry whether the God of eternity takes note of the ticking of a biological clock? Why would I feel as if I’m missing out on all the things God doesn’t have for me right now? I’ve got everything I need. In Christ I am complete.
Once I was a broken child,
Marked for death, by sin defiled,
But Thou hast brought me near by grace
To gaze upon Thy perfect face.
Complete in Jesus Christ I stand,
He holds me wholly in His hand,
I need no argument or plea—
He died to set my spirit free.
This is the love that Jesus brings,
Who left His throne as King of Kings,
And donned my sinful flesh to prove
The height and breadth and depth of love.
Complete in Jesus Christ I stand,
Receiving mercy from His hand
I trust that He will also give
Whatever I most need to live.
What else should I demand or plead?
I have no other pressing need
But to partake of Love Divine
And to be His as He is mine.
Complete in Jesus Christ I stand,
And dare to open wide my hands
To let go of my hopes and dreams,
Be emptied to be filled by Him.