After a crazy-busy day of work (shorthanded, long lines, exhausted body), we were more than ready to leave. In the parking lot, a thought came to mind: I could get a milkshake. That would taste so good. And after this long day, I felt like I deserved a treat. I considered where I might stop, and even plotted plans B and C and more.
It so happened that I missed my first pick, skipped two other restaurants, and decided to catch a place across town. Without noticing, I drove by Rax. Then Tim Hortons.. I considered turning around – even switched lanes – but then decided to drive on home. “I don’t need it,” I thought.
Instantly, my heart sank. When you had your heart set on a thing, and then your answer is no, you’re more than a little discouraged!
When you’re 33 and single, you feel sort of like some kids in the checkout lanes at work. They hint at the register candy or ask outright. Some kids, their grandma or mom will buy what they want. Others hear: “No, we don’t eat candy bars in the morning.” Or, “We have Christmas cookies at home.” Or, “No, we’re going to eat dinner.”
When you’re 33 and single, you’ve passed up several opportunities. But you’ve also watched sullenly, with all your luggage, as the bus drove on by. You feel disheartened at times, and occasionally ask yourself, “Will I ever get married?” And in those times, you certainly don’t feel like it will happen.
But, as I told my mom recently, I do trust God will let me get married, I just don’t see the evidence. She quickly reminded me that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Yes, surprisingly, even when you’re 33 and single (amidst the longest wait imaginable – okay, a bit exaggerated, perhaps), yes, even then, you catch a beautiful glimmer of hope. Not referring to the hope of meeting the right one and no longer being single, but rather to the realization of purpose and meaning and warmth in life, amidst the singleness.
This happened to me one evening recently. A big crew gathered, we drove to the grocery to pick up frozen food for supper. While I rode alone in the backseat, a thought struck, infused me with joy, and utterly surprised me.
I suddenly realized, comprehended and embraced an idea I had uncomfortably pushed away for years: that God is enough for me. I now realized that He is a prized possession, and that even if I never get married, I do have the most wonderful treasure in the world, and He is more than enough! The utter warmth and joy was amazing, as I realized how wonderful and priceless God is!
Admittedly, I still feel disheartened or puzzled quite often. Like the other day at work, as I stuffed fake poinsettas into a bag for a customer, and spotted a tall guy in my peripheral, and my thoughts of the morning culminated in a frustrated question: Why do I not get a guy – the right guy?
Then the words flitted through my head, like God was telling me: “Don’t worry; I’ve got it covered.” How encouraging!
Indeed, my prayers through the years have closed with, “May Your will be done.” And a constant message I’ve heard is, “Trust Me.”
While overseas this summer, I was rather resistant to the insights I heard from two missionaries. The first shared in an evening session on a front porch in Cambodia that sometimes God wants people to be single (at least for a season) and there is so much you can do for the Lord as a single person.
The latter said while trekking rugged terrain around ancient ruins that she can be called upon to move from one country to another at moment’s notice, and can do so freely, because she is single.
I didn’t want to hear these insights, but they were right. And when you’re 33 and single, it may be that while the other kids are chomping their chocolate bars or sipping their milkshakes, God is telling you, “We’re going to eat dinner first.”
When you’re 33 and single, it’s about time you shifted your focus from your unmet dreams to the important and exciting tasks God’s set before you.
There’s so much to be done, and so little time. Following Jesus into the world. Experiencing mission trips and cross-cultural connections. Playing with nieces and nephews. Contacting friends. Connecting with coworkers. Making music. Laughing with family. Visiting shut-ins. Smiling, praying, caring, sharing. Drawing closer to God each day. It’s all worth it, and wonderful, if it’s about God.
When you’re 33 and single and trusting in Jesus, you’re never alone. Because Jesus is the Good Shepherd, leading the way. He knows what you need, and He supplies more than you could ever ask. Even if He leads you down a path you would not have chosen, He sees the entire way. You simply need to trust and follow your Shepherd as He leads the way. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6) Amen!