Fathom Mag
Article

Yes, the struggle is real.

An excerpt from Party of One by Joy Beth Smith

Published on:
February 12, 2018
Read time:
3 min.
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We all know that Genesis opens with God creating Adam. Remember how Adam lost a rib and gained a wife? As much as we know and feel that it’s not good for man to be alone, we might not be an Eve with an Adam. We might be an Esther with a Mordecai. A Hannah with a Samuel. A Jesus with a John. A Paul with a Timothy. You weren’t meant to fight through this life alone, to do battle by yourself—but the companion promised to you won’t necessarily wear a platinum wedding band and fold towels the wrong way.

Or, you know what? He just might.

I think that’s the hardest part about being single: never knowing when this time will end. Every day could be the day your life changes. Every unmarried man you meet could be the man you spend the rest of your life with. Every message you get on the sketchy dating site could be the message that starts a conversation that leads to a meeting that ends at an altar. Or you could think this way every single day for ten years, but none of these things happen. Men come and go, messages are sent with no reply, and day by day, your singleness grows into a thing that feels cumbersome and heavy and threatening.

You never know when it’s going to end—if it’s going to end—and in the midst of this uncertainty, in the midst of this questioning and pain, you’re somehow supposed to trust God implicitly. To be proactive but not overactive. To help the Lord’s plan along but not overtake it. To glean the fields and lie on the threshing floor but not (Facebook) stalk your Boaz. These are hazy lines at best.

And this is exactly why we have to crush this lie. It’s hard to live in this tension of desperately wanting something and never knowing when or if it will come. We need to actively cling to promises that are in scripture: promises that God will never leave us, promises of his control in all things, promises of his goodness, promises that the trials of this world pale in comparison to the glory of what is to come. These are sure things.

A husband is not a sure thing.

We can’t continue to put prophecies in the Lord’s mouth and call it comfort. We can’t believe these promises and call them sound theology. Somehow there’s middle ground here of seeing the sanctity of marriage, hoping for that end, believing God to be good, yet not placing all our hopes on God delivering a man.

A husband is not a sure thing.
Joy Beth Smith

God giving you a husband does not prove his goodness—marriage isn’t even inherently good. But God is good, always. He is good in your singleness. He is good in your foolishness when you make stupid decisions because of singleness. And if you’re in this same place ten years from now, he will still be good. But when God’s goodness becomes dependent on his delivery, you have perverted the true gospel into nothing more than a prosperity message.

In discussing this idea of God’s goodness, Paige Benton Brown wrote, “It is a cosmic impossibility for God to shortchange any of his children. . . . I am not single because I am too unstable to possibly deserve a husband, nor because I am too spiritually mature to possibly need one. I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is his best for me.”[1] If I’m single today, it is because God is good to me, so good that he loves me enough to save me from less than his best—and for whatever reason, that’s marriage. I am a have—not a have-not.

Many of the well-intentioned people in our lives act as Peter did in Matthew 16. As Jesus was about to be taken away, he told the disciples he was about to die. And sweet Peter cried out, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

If I’m single today, it is because God is good to me, so good that he loves me enough to save me from less than his best—and for whatever reason, that’s marriage. I am a have—not a have-not.
Joy Beth Smith

What a great comfort he must have thought that affirmation would be to the Lord. But instead Jesus responded with my favorite response whenever anyone offers me yet another cookie and I’m trying to fit into yet another bridesmaid’s dress: “Get behind me, Satan!”[2]

Just because we have seemingly encouraging or positive things to say to someone doesn’t make them biblical or even good or true.

So let’s find the good, the true, and the beautiful, and let’s leave the rest.

Joy Beth Smith
Joy Beth Smith is the author of Party of One. You can find her online @JBsTwoCents.

Taken from Party of One by Joy Beth Smith Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.partyofonethebook.com.

Cover image by Kyle Szegedi.

[1] Paige Benton Brown, “Singled Out for Good,” Reformed Youth Ministries, October 10, 2014, https://rymonline.org/resources/posts/singled-out-for-good-1.

[2] Matthew 16:22–23

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