Accepting God’s “no” with gratitude
Despite what social media, movies, friends, and even some family members, tell us, being single is not a bad thing. Singleness is not a curse. While it sometimes feels like it, it’s not the end of the world if you’re nearing your 30s [or well past your 30s] and have yet to “settle down” and pop out at least one baby. Being single does not mean there’s something wrong with you or that you’re undesirable. Being single does not mean you’re not allowed to enjoy life. Being single doesn’t even mean that you’re cut off from any “privileges” that seem only allowed to those who are dating or married. But most importantly, being single DOES NOT mean that you are of any less value than those who are coupled up, “happily married”, or starting a family.
Each one of us has been created as whole individuals, filled with a purpose, gifts, and God-given talents. And we were provided with all of these things before we even took our first breath, “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you…” (Jeremiah 1:5). God had a whole life planned out, and achievements we’d accomplish, long before we even knew our likes and dislikes, passions, and skills. Before we were even born, He chose us!
And at the moment when we discover all the ways that God has blessed us, and continues to do so in our everyday lives, we are overcome with gratitude. Thank you, God, for these friends. Thank you, God, for this job. Thank you, God, for this car. Thank you, God, that I have a refrigerator full of food. Thank you, God, that you continuously provide. God, you are so good!
But then, we come across moments in our lives when God responds with one little word. And with that one word, we’re on the floor throwing a tantrum. You know the word. It’s the one we all hate hearing. And we’ve hated it ever since childhood. We hate being told NO.
Despite all the amazing things he’s done for us, with that one word we begin to wonder if God does actually love us. Because if you really loved your child you would never say no to them. Right? You’d never deprive them of that thing that they think would bring them the most joy. Otherwise, you’re obviously just the meanest parent in the world.
Of course, we all know that parents tell their kids no because they love their kids, know what’s best, and want to protect them. It’s the same thing with God.
How many of us know that God’s “no” can be the kindest answer he could ever give us. Even if we don’t understand it in that moment. We so easily forget that he’s not just a genie in the sky granting our wishes, giving us what we want, simply because we prayed for it. We forget that he is our Heavenly Father who wants the absolute best for us. He doesn’t simply tell us no because he wants us to suffer, but because he loves us and knows what’s best. Meaning he won’t always let us have that thing we desperately want.
This could apply to several (if not all) areas of our lives. But for today’s post, we’re looking at God’s “no” from the aspect of singleness.
Our society is obsessed with relationship status. We want to know who is dating who, who would make a cute couple, who’s single and ready to mingle, and we go absolutely nuts when we discover who’s recently gone “Facebook official”.
We get so wrapped up in this idea of being in a couple. Like, we forget that you can be single, satisfied, and significant! These days, it seems like such a foreign concept. We love the idea of someone choosing us, of someone actually wanting to be with us. It can make us feel like an outcast if we don’t have someone to call our boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. Everyone wants to feel wanted. It’s in our human nature to have that desire to be accepted and loved. But do you ever feel like we, as a society, put too much stress on this idea of finding “the one”? That we are so driven and determined to find that person to “complete us” and spend forever with that we forget that there’s a whole life to live outside of that obsession?
The answer to both of those questions is a big fat YES. And it’s because of this that we can sometimes view God’s “no” to a particular person or to our fairytale dream of marriage, as cruel. And the reason for this is because we start putting such a heavy focus on the gift. Putting more value in the gift and not the giver of that gift. We start to want the gift so badly that we lose focus, blinding ourselves to God’s actual plan for our lives. We just want that person so badly, we’re crushed when God lovingly tells us no.
I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope forJeremiah 29:11 (The Msg)
Despite how much we think we know, we will never know as much as God. No matter how long you’ve been alive on this earth, God still knows you better than you ever will. He created you and he already had a plan laid out for your life. He is the ultimate gift-giver. And that includes the gifts of marriage and singleness.
Now, God did not make one relationship status more superior than the other. He’s able to use and work through both singles and married couples. The only difference is whether you’re able to better serve the Kingdom as a single, or partnered up. And before we assume that being in a partnership is better, just look at John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul. Each one, single. Each one played an incredibly significant part in the Bible. While getting married and having children is an incredible blessing, there’s something amazing about having uninterrupted time with God. While having a family is a beautiful thing, there’s a delicate balancing act that comes with it, between giving focus to the spouse, the kids, and God. But in singleness, you’re free to move and be used in whatever way God needs you. Being single allows for a unique opportunity to grow in intimacy with God.
Whether singleness is just a season for you, or you’ve committed to a life of singleness, it’s a beautiful gift from God that shouldn’t be dismissed as being “dealt a bad hand”. It takes a lot to find comfort and satisfaction in your own company. And these days, people can’t stand to be alone. But a life of singleness with God is not lonely, boring, sad, pathetic, or whatever other negative things society associates with being single. It’s an amazing adventure. Because a peaceful single life, walking in the full purpose God created you for, will always be better than living in a marriage outside of God’s will that’s full of constant tension and frustration.
If you’re struggling with your time of singleness, here’s something to keep in mind: The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. The grass is greener where we allow God to water it. The season of singleness is a beautiful gift that is saturated in so much goodness, especially if you allow yourself to embrace it fully.
Whether God is telling you “not yet” or giving you a flat-out “no”, believe that he only wants what’s best for you. Trust him! He knows what he’s doing. Stop worrying about if and when marriage will happen for you, because it may not. But even if that’s the case, God is still good! He still loves you and wants to bless you. He still wants to use you and bring you on a life journey that will be far better than anything our limited human minds could ever imagine.
God isn’t trying to toy with us or be mean when he tells us “no”. It simply means that He’s got something far better in store for us if we would just be willing to trust his timing.