Many young people and young adults struggle with the conversation of dating and relationships. Thoughts cross the young person’s mind when they compare their present circumstances to those all around them. For many, they have a great desire to be married and raise covenant children out of that marriage, but they have no hope. They wonder, what is God’s purpose and will for my life? Where is He leading me if it is not in the way of marriage? If it is His will I marry, why can’t I be dating right now? I would certainly be happier in life if I were. We wallow in our miseries and dwell in the shadows of darkness and despair as if all joy in life is lost.
Young person, your circumstances do not determine your joy.
Think of Joseph; this man endured much hardship throughout his life. He was sold into slavery, tempted of Potiphar’s wife, and cast into prison. Nevertheless, he was at peace with God’s will for the events and circumstances that surrounded him. He trusted God had a purpose for his trials, and that “God meant it unto good” (Genesis 50:20).
Think of Job; this man lost all his cattle, his possessions, his children, and his health. Yet still he trusted in God’s perfect plan for His life, confessing, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
Let’s expound on that verse for a little while. Oftentimes, we take more thought for our future than for our present, yet God has not promised that you will live even unto tomorrow. Your life “is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14). You would do good to fix your eyes on the things of heaven and hope for the future of eternal life with God; to fix your eyes on your future earthly circumstances is to tempt you to fear, to doubt. When you look up to the almighty, sovereign God who has determined your path, you are able to find comfort in the midst of your present circumstances. You do not know what your future holds, that is true. But why use that uncertainty to fear or be dismayed? God continually throughout Scriptures calls his saints to “fear not” (Isaiah 41:10; 43:1). Young person, there is no reason to fear. God knows the path that you take, even this present one of singleness, and it will be for the good of your salvation.
Perhaps you are contemplating, I know God is sovereign and has determined my path, but I still struggle to be content with the single life. Your flesh may seek to understand and discern why you must endure the trial of singleness. You must learn to trust Him. As Joseph trusted God through every situation he faced, may you also trust “because as for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). When you try to go further than God’s understanding and demand a reason, you will only be frustrated and complain; these reactions are the fruit of destruction. The fruit which beareth good reward is the fruit of contentment. “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11). Yea, even so in singeless, you are called to be content. Pray for God to grant you the strength wherewith you may fulfill this calling.
If you truly desire to be married, do not grow weary. There are callings you have in this time of singleness. First, focus on growing closer in your relationship to God. As Rev. Engelsma shows forth in his book Dating Differently, “focus on becoming someone rather than finding someone.” You would be foolish to enter into a relationship if you are not spiritually mature; afterall, the purpose of dating is marriage. Ask yourself, are you ready to make that commitment? As husband and wife, you are to grow in Christ with each other. How can you build a foundation on God with another when you are not spiritually mature? Work on growing in your faith, and in due time if it is God’s will, “He will lead every man unto his wife”.
Secondly, use this time of singleness to serve! Find ways to busy yourself serving God’s kingdom. Are there elderly people in your church you can visit or write letters to? Can you join a church committee and put forth your time there? Offer to babysit for busy mothers. There are plenty of ways to find time to serve and glorify God, other than contemplating your singleness and doubting the goodness of God in your life.
Lastly, I give you the calling to pray. Come before the throne of God boldly! Pour out your desires before God that He may know the thoughts of your heart. We can be so doubting and despairing that we grow afraid and try to grasp for control, but you know God has said He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut. 31:6-8). When you think He is gone and has forgotten you, be assured, He is with you alway.
Therefore, continue to pray to your God who has promised to be faithful, who has promised to never leave you. When you feel alone and desire to find a spouse, remember and believe that you already have the purest and greatest love there is: the love of God for you. Oh, what an amazing truth to confess:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8: 38-39). What more could you possibly want?
Knowing the love that God has for you, go forth and trust that the one who loves you has a perfect plan for your life. You may not see how your trial of singleness will be for your good, but God’s promise remains fast. Every circumstance you endure was placed in your life for the good of your salvation. In everything you go through in your future, may you “rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God concerning Christ Jesus in you” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
- Rev. David Noorman’s sermon, “He Knoweth the Path I Take”
- Rev. Cory Griess’ sermon, “The Tree of Thankfulness”
- Rev. Joshua Engelsma’s book, “Dating Differently”