The concept of covenant with God has totally altered the way I think about my prolonged singleness. From the beginning, God has made His faithfulness clear, inviting men and women to partner with Him in mutual faithfulness. We see this affirmed each time a believing man and woman pledge themselves to God and to one another in marriage. An older wording of traditional wedding vows said, “I plight thee my troth.” It means, “I pledge to you my fidelity.” Comprehending that as a single person, I can pledge my fidelity to God just as He has promised His faithfulness to me, is a precious gift. Should I marry, this covenant joins seamlessly with a marriage covenant.
The process has not been easy. Being my only source of income, buying a home, and making life-altering decisions alone became stepping-stones to a deeper authentic life in Jesus Christ. Along the way, I have struggled with desires, dreams, and what I have come to realize was an unwitting vow which killed hope and brought deep pain and sorrow.
God’s promise is true. Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. We see this worked out in Eden. Adam delighted in God, and He planted a desire in Adam’s heart which was fulfilled by Eve’s arrival. I find it interesting that God did not satisfy that desire with Himself. I’ve come to believe the same is true for many of us who have prayed for God to remove the desire for a husband/wife if He does not have marriage in our future. For most, He does not answer that prayer quite like we expect. He does not remove the desire because it is a normal Godly and human desire, and it is to be a means to keep drawing us to Himself for the intimacy we long for. His promise goes much further than simply giving us what we want. He plants His desires in our hearts.
For many of us, the two main dreams of career and relationship leading to marriage are the driving forces in our lives. What happens when career dreams come to a resounding halt, quite possibly due to circumstances totally out of our control? What happens whan a spiritually agreeable, mutually attractive man or woman does not choose us to grow old – or older – with? Simply getting married is really not the issue. Finding someone who walks intimately with God and obeys His mandate for purity and faithfulness is the issue.
“I will never let anyone get close enough to hurt me again.” This may seem like a natural response to the painful end of a hopeful relationship. But, if it becomes a prolonged reaction which governs the heart, I believe it is as strong as a vow. For me, the vow took the form of becoming resigned to never marrying, because resignation was far less painful than trying to keep hope alive. My quiet resignation was not confident acceptance of God’s good intent in my life. It was belief that, for some reason, God was withholding the one earthly desire I wanted the most. Being resigned did bring some emotional relief, and I was quite settled in it until the Holy Spirit gently peeled away layers of bitterness and distrust and showed me how dishonoring resignation was to God. With a trusted friend, I prayerfully renounced that unwitting vow, and began to see evidence of God’s resurrection of dreams and hopes in my heart.