Today’s blog is a guest post by Justin Campbell. Justin is a 39 year old single guy living and working in St. Louis. You can read more by him at his blog More Than Don’t Have Sex, where he writes about singleness, Jesus, the church, and how we can all be in it together.
So I’ve read a lot of online profiles. I mean a lot. I don’t even want to think about the number. Here is one of my least favorite lines, “I know that everything happens for a reason.” This usually follows (or is followed by) some sort of statement about not knowing why they still haven’t found “the one”. I hate this line. I call it Oprah theology.
A lot of Christians put their own sort of twists on it. “I know God has a plan” or “God made this happen for a reason” or “I don’t know why but God does” or “God has His reasons” and so on. I don’t really like those much better. Especially when it comes to marriage and singleness.
I can’t count the times someone has asked me why God has me single, or “encouraged” me by saying that God has a plan, therefore implying that me being single right now is because God wants that. Worst of all is when single people use it to hide from dealing with their sin, insecurity, and hurt. Or they use it to keep from engaging the opposite sex. “It’s God’s deal so I don’t have to do anything.” That’s convenient.
First of all this is not the point of God’s sovereignty. God’s sovereignty should be a launching pad not a hiding place. If God is sovereign then I am free to deal with all of this stuff. I’m free to deal with my sin. I’m free to face my insecurity. I’m free to deal with my pain and loneliness. If I feel called to marriage, I’m free to actually pursue that. Because if God’s got it, then I can go for it.
Now maybe you are reading this and thinking, “I really believe God wants me to be single right now.” That is great. If you’ve been engaged with God (preferably in community) and that is what you feel He is telling you, I absolutely affirm that. Sometimes we are called to singleness for a season. Or maybe you are called to be single for good. That is awesome. If you are following His call to singleness that is right on. In fact I think it is essential that we ask Him these questions so that’s not what I’m talking about here.
What I’m talking about is blaming God or hiding behind God. I’m talking about assuming that it’s God’s fault that I’m single. What if it’s my fault? What if at different times it’s been other’s fault? What if it’s because I don’t know how to get married? Heck, what if it’s spiritual warfare (you know that thing that we say exists but never actually live like is happening)? Do you think there might be a battle over your love life?
There are a lot of reasons that we are single (we each have an unique story) but we need to be careful before we start assigning it all to God. For one thing, if it is all God’s fault then it is also God’s fault that 49% of Americans are single. It would mean that back in the day God wanted everyone to be married early but then about 25 years ago He changed His mind. He said, “You know I’m tired of everyone being married, lets change it up.”
Look, I’m not pretending to know God’s will. But really who does? What we do know for sure is that His grace is big enough to redeem and use any situation for good. We know that He can use our singleness or marriage (or any other situation) to bring us closer to Him. That is the whole point – that is the one thing we know He wants.