Many dear friends of mine have been suffering from depression lately. Not just a time of feeling blue, but deep soul-rending pain that leaves them questioning their very existence. Weeping with them and praying for them is in sharp contrast to the new life of spring surrounding us—flowers blooming, leaves returning, sunshine beckoning.
Eagerly Waiting with Perseverance At first ‘hope in troubled times’ sounded like a no-brainer to me. After all, that oh-so-familiar Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We have hope because we have Christ, right? …Right? I have to be honest: I can quote verses about hope all day, but I have a hard time knowing what that’s supposed to feel like. …
Lately I’ve been having a lot of conversations about singleness with friends of both sexes. Maybe it’s because it’s spring and with all the engagements, weddings, pregnancy announcements and new babies it seems like everyone we know is twitterpated. Maybe it’s because some are new friends and we haven’t had this conversation yet. Maybe it’s because we’re human beings in our 20s. Anyway, there’s been a lot of talk.
But something began to tug at my heart when I realized a couple of those friends and I frequently text each other complaining– via funny ecards, memes, or our own words– about being single. In the course of discussing a blog post about singleness and marriage, one friend said “I mean, doesn’t my future husband know I’m tired of waiting?! He needs to get here already!” I’ve said that too.
The first thing that came to mind, knowing my guy friends’ hearts, is “Don’t worry, he’s tired of waiting too!”
But we are called to other things in this season of singleness, however long it lasts. 1 Corinthians 7:34 says There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world– how she may please her husband. And lest we chafe at that, good ol’ Paul follows it with verse 35: And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
God has other work for us.
My friend knows that. But she said “I feel like I’m more worried about when I’m going to get married. That’s just how it is.”
God is not calling us to worry about when we will get married.
Hear it from Jesus Himself in Matthew 6:25-34:
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
When the Son of God specifically says not to worry, worrying is not “just how it is”. Worrying is sin.
Spurgeon says it succinctly: Remember this: had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.
He has called us to concern ourselves with the “things of the Lord”. May we always, ever, only, pursue His kingdom and His glory… and not worry about a husband or wife until He gives us one!
I read this post on feeling and thinking on The Christian Pundit. I feel like it’s a common oversight I find in a lot of Christian books/resources/whatever written for women. They assume (and granted, most of them are written by women– this post was written by Rebecca VanDoodewaard) we”re all having problems with our feelings all the time and need to be more logical/practical/action-taking.
Me? I’m Margaret Thatcher. I’m sick of feelings. I don’t like taking others’ feelings into account, because I don’t much take my feelings into account. Feelings are feelings. Facts are facts. We shouldn’t confuse the one with the other, and for the most part I don’t.
But essentially I have the opposite problem Rebecca has. I jump right to the action: fixing the problem, finding the solution, praying the prayer, organizing the meals. What I’m not always good at is the feeling. Feeling grateful, thankful, or even hurt– God has designed us to do both.
We have different temperaments for a reason. Those of us who have trouble feeling should take time to be more compassionate, and those of us who feel deeply should work on responding and taking action. But we should also act like the different members of the Body we are and both enjoy and employ our gifts.
This year I am taking the 3650 challenge, where we read 10 chapters of the Bible a day. There is a wonderfully encouraging Facebook group where we talk about what we’ve read and challenges we’ve encountered or breakthroughs we’ve had. Today a woman noted that she’s struggling with the genealogy passages in Chronicles.
Several things have helped me:
Listening to the genealogy passages rather than reading them myself. No skimming!
Knowing that some in other cultures have been brought to Christ by these very passages, seeing the legitimacy and history of Jesus’ lineage.
A friend once told me she likes to think of how God must read these lists. To Him it must be like flipping through a scrapbook of loved ones.
Imagining the full, individual lives each of these people led. It also helps me be thankful I live after God sent His Son to die for us so we are no longer slaves to the Law but recipients of such grace.