Every year the marriage conference rolls around and many of us can become contrary and bitter. Maybe it’s just me, but I know that the marriage conference is not everyone’s favorite time of the year, especially considering how close to it is to Valentine’s Day. How many reminders of my singleness can I get in one month? Not only this, but, along with it, all those true but vague reminders to trust the Lord, wait on him, and find your identity in Christ. Yes and amen, but what does that even mean?
Despite all this I really did think Dr. Doriani did a very good job teaching us what the different roles in marriage should look like. The thing I appreciated most was that he said all of us are called to wait on the Lord, trust in him and find our identity in him, whether we are single, dating, engaged, or married.
We have been taught and influenced not only by the Church’s attitude, whether explicit or not, but also by the world that marriage and family are the height of human existence. To die never having been married, having sex, having children, is to not truly live life to its fullest potential. In response to all of this pressure and bitterness at our own singleness we often lie to the world and ourselves and say, “I don’t want to get married anyway.”
Here is the truth. We all long for companionship in some way, and fear dying alone more than much else, and if we don’t now we will as we get older. We were created for relationship. The first relationship was that between man and God. God walked in the garden with Adam, and had fellowship with him. I’m not talking about middle school youth group fellowship, I mean intimate, intentional, passionate fellowship. God knew Adam perfectly and God loved Adam perfectly, before and after the fall. If we are his, he feels the same about us. What does it mean to receive his love, wait on him and find our identity in Christ? These things are daily tasks that require active participation. Everyday seeking His face and working for His glory, honoring Him with our thoughts, words and deeds. These things don’t change if you meet “the one,” start dating or get married. The only thing that changes, from what I learned from Dr. Doriani, was what that looked like day to day. As a single person, my high and challenging calling is daily managing my own heart, and remaining in him, actively, thoughtfully living for his glory. The Lord knows that that is plenty of responsibility.
We will be working at this for the rest of our lives, and should God provide another human being to strive with us intimately and closely, so be it for his glory. If not or until that day, we can take every opportunity to create meaningful, beautiful relationships, exemplifying the powerful, life-giving gift of the gospel to anyone and everyone we encounter. Our lives should not be spent waiting, but living.
Waiting on the Lord is never passive. We are to run toward him in any direction, and when he closes that door, we pursue him in a new direction, and in this way we allow him to guide us through the path he has carefully laid out for us. Finding our identity in Christ means to actively remind ourselves of what Christ did for us and find peace in that magnificence. We allow his actions to lead and dictate ours; we allow his perfection to shine through our sin. Our father in heaven loves us perfectly and has called us to a beautiful purpose, each through different stories, with different challenges to grow our different gifts.
Let us as believers focus on our Lord and his work, trusting and allowing him to provide what we need when we need it, in view of his love for us.