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Lessons from Longing

Three ways I've grown during my single years.

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Somewhere deep inside, I hope having a husband by my side will enable me to relax a little. I don't want another Savior; I simply want to go home each evening to someone who believes in me and encourages me, because this just might make facing the scary parts of life a little easier. But not having someone there forces me to turn to God instead. He answers by teaching me practical ways to combat my fear, which is really a result of spiritual assault from the Evil One.

Because my singleness forces me to lean only on God for complete assurance, I've learned from him to see the battle more clearly, and he's teaching me how to fight.

In his book Waking the Dead, author John Eldredge describes spiritual battle in terms of "agreements." What agreements do I make with the dark voice that tells me I must not be capable of a deep, committed relationship with a man? That because of this, or because I'm not attractive enough, I'll be alone forever? I've begun to recognize this condemning voice and to refuse acquiescence. Because my singleness forces me to lean only on God for complete assurance, I've learned from him to see the battle more clearly, and he's teaching me how to fight. As a result, like Dorothy's Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, I've found courage to face an uncertain future without fear.

Psalm 27: 1-2 says, "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?" God is and should always be my protector, provider, and Savior … whether I have a husband or not.

Lesson Two: Faith

In being without the earthly companionship I long for, I face a decision. Do I believe, as Eve did when she was tempted in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:2-6), that God is cruelly withholding the very thing for which my heart hungers? Or do I choose to believe what God has told me—that he's doing what's best for me even if it hurts and I simply don't understand (Romans 8:28)?

Perhaps faith in the face of difficulty and disappointment pleases God simply because it keeps the ones he loves so close to him. In Mark 9:17-27, a distraught father brings his suffering son to Jesus to be healed. Jesus asks the man if he believes his boy can be healed, and the man replies, in desperation, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" I love this prayer; it's so wonderfully honest. In our darkest times, when we come to the end of ourselves and have tasted loneliness past what we think we're able to bear, we too can cry out to Jesus for help and hope. In resisting the temptation to doubt his goodness toward us, we're brought closer to him.

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Lessons from Longing