When I first moved into my 1920 vintage home, the kitchen had those crank-out sort of windows. They didn’t work so well, because the cranks kept falling off and eventually would not work anymore. One of the windows would fly open in the wind and I had to nail it shut. First big expense – double-paned windows. A week and BIG chunk of change later, I had windows I could open and shut with ease and the double panes helped with my heating bill. Rain would slam onto the screens and the outside pane but keep the inner pane dry.
Fast forward a couple years. Moisture began to gather between the panes of those expensive windows. Thanks to the warranty, another big chunk of change for labor, and I had airtight windows again. I guess you could call that “labor panes.” Sorry! I couldn’t resist that.
So, why the thoughts about windows today? Because for a few weeks now, I’ve been bumping up against a single window pane of the mind which causes emotional pain. Advice for marriage and family abounds. Some of my long-visited Christian websites have either discontinued their pages for singles, or have buried them under pages labeled “for women” with fewer and fewer articles for those without a life partner. And, generally the articles there tend to be written by now-married women who focus on “what to do while waiting.” Articles abound on “how to raise children” and “10 little things to brighten your husband’s day.”
Venturing onto pages “for men” is usually a different experience. While there are articles for “5 things your wife wishes you knew,” it is rare to find any mention of singleness on men’s pages. Maybe it’s because fewer men than women walk through life as a onesome.
I’ve come to realize that singledom, especially in the church, is an invisible village.
Sermon series for God’s design for sex and marriage are popular. Onesomes are told to pray for their married family and friends, armed with increasing information on what marriage should be about. I’m quite happy to do that. I respect marriage highly. I’m not blind to the endurance of many in this challenging place. Why, however, is it not just as important for those who are married to understand more about the challenges of living as a Godly single, and to pray for us as well? I’m here to tell you that being single takes a lot of hard work, too!
In the absence of attention at church-level in general, I’m aware that there is definitely an elephant in the room – and it seems to be me. Well, at least, it is those of us who do not have a life partner at present. Most unmarrieds who come to the church are those who have had the experience of having had a spouse. Sadly, marriages end by death and divorce, both very painful situations. I’m also here to tell you that never having had a spouse can also be a very painful situation that very few acknowledge, bringing loneliness most folks just don’t get!
I’m saddened greatly that most churches do not think about a sermon series – or even one sermon – on what it means to live a Godly single life. There is an urgent need for even middle and high school students to know how precious their emotions and hormones are to God, and that He is very interested in helping them develop self-control and contentment. College men and women are thrust into a world where many of them are on their own for the first time, and if they have not learned the value of faithfulness and self-control at a younger age, they may have trouble seeing the value now. The term “single” is not generally used until they are post-college age. Once again, they are on a huge learning curve of how to be self-supporting and responsible adults. Too often, too many do not have a practiced discipline in their moral lives and may not see a need to gain one now. Why not?
They have not been told how important and valuable their moral lives are to God, themselves, and those around them.
Read this: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (I Corinthians 6:19-20)
The temple in Scripture is described as a visually spectacular place, full of color and lush fabrics, and gold, silver, and gems of every type. Of course, its real purpose was not to be spectacular, but to be a place where people gave back to God from their crops and livestock, acknowledging their shortcomings – sin – and receiving forgiveness. While the Temple does not exist in Jerusalem today, its memory does. And, certainly the reality of Jesus’ sacrifice in my place for my sin exists!
In the process, He considers me as a beautiful temple which is furnished by the Holy Spirit within me! How can I help but live my life glorifying Him as best I can!
However, I still find myself as a sort of Lone Ranger shouting a message few want to hear.
Are you listening?