by: Stefanie James; Guest Writer
Patience. That two-syllable word that strikes fear into our hearts, yet we know how valuable patience truly is. However, actually practicing patience is hard. And practicing patience while struggling with singleness can be incredibly frustrating.
Oh, I know you’ve heard the time-honored, clichéd advice. “Be patient because the right guy could be the next guy you meet!” Or, “Oh, girl! Use this time to be free and live the single life before settling down!” Or even, “Honey, God WILL grant you the desires of your heart… but in His time.” (This one always makes me want to say, “but WHEN will it be His time for ME?!” Do you see the patience in me?!)
And then we are reminded with this biblical advice: “How long did Hannah have to wait to have children? How long did Jacob wait to marry Rachel? How long did Abraham wait for his descendent, Isaac?” (Answer for each: a good number of years!)
I had a conversation with my mother a few weeks ago that really touched my heart and got me thinking about patience in relation to waiting for marriage. My mom is an amazing, godly woman and I go to her with all my tough questions and rants. This one particular conversation I was ranting about my frustrations regarding really wanting to be married (AGAIN) and my mom kindly reminded me of the above biblical truths (AGAIN). To be honest, each time she told me, my reaction was similar to “Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard this before.” But this time she snapped my perspective back to where it needed to be.
She asked me how long our family had been praying for my grandfather to see his need for a Savior and to place his faith in Christ. I meekly answered 14 years. FOURTEEN years of praying and crying out to God to save my grandfather from eternal separation from Him in hell. And God answered prayer! My grandfather finally placed his faith in Christ just a mere seven months before passing away, and it still brings me great joy to say that he is Home with Christ.
Ladies, this was a punch in the gut for me. How selfish of me to whine and complain to God that I want it to be MY time to get married NOW. I had completely forgotten that I am to be focused on a purpose much greater as a daughter of the King: to bring glory to God and to proclaim Christ to all peoples. Yes, marriage is a beautiful reflection of the Gospel and it’s a wonderful thing to desire. But when that desire turns into a warped perspective that makes us self-focused instead of Kingdom-focused – that’s when we know we have a problem.
The correct, godly perspective of being Kingdom-focused can change our outlook on our lives and our struggles. We may still struggle with singleness, but we must always remind ourselves of the Gospel and where our true joy and hope lies. If you desire marriage, continue to pray for guidance and guard your heart with Scripture. But never stop proclaiming Christ to those around you. Always be a light for the Gospel. Allow those around you to see you have joy in the midst of your struggles, since your source of strength is Christ alone.
God has called you each by name. He knows the plans He has for you. Rest in Him and let your life be an adventure that reflects the Gospel – and wait patiently!
Stefanie is a native New Yorker who is always working on her southern twang in her current home state of North Carolina. A recent graduate of Southeastern Baptist Seminary, she takes great joy in ministering to women, children, and her crazy awesome middle school girls. She loves adventure, taking pictures, and creating lasting memories!