(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)
By Samantha Gassaway
A Christ-follower is never single in the way our society would like to define the term. We have a caring and generous lover in the person of Jesus, who will never abandon, dump, abuse, betray, manipulate or take advantage of us. He is the perfect lover, one we cannot live without and should never be unsatisfied with.
That being said, we are inherently created by God for community. In Genesis 1, God explicitly tells the first human ever formed by the breath of His lungs that it is probably not a good idea for that person to exist on this big, wide scary world all by themselves. We are all in the same position and have the same calling.
This world can be cruel to those who do not have someone special to call theirs – someone they can be around all the time who will not get sick of them. This person sounds an awful lot like Jesus.
Two important things are necessary in recognizing the challenge singleness can pose to those who have a hard time identifying the difference between need and want. Human beings need other humans to be in the world as a functional and sane person, glorifying to God. Whether or not those other people involve romantic relationships and a special someone is a point of tension in many people’s walk in the faith.
Shocking reality: there is such thing as (wait for it) a Call to Singleness. And it is a worthy one. Here’s a short list of just some of the notable people in the Bible who did not have a special someone their entire earthly lives: Jesus, Paul the Apostle, Peter the Apostle, James the brother of Jesus, John the Apostle, John the Baptist and the remainder of The 12.
Singleness was the calling of Christ, the incarnate God, the savior of the world, the Prince of Peace, the Mighty Healer, the Word of God, love made flesh and the redemption of the Fall of man, the new Adam. Singleness was the calling of the writer of a majority of the books in the New Testament regarding the function of the church as the body of Christ and an articulate father of modern and ancient Christian theology. Singleness was the call ofone of the closest friends to Jesus and the “foundational rock” of the church, on which it was metaphorically built.
Singleness may also be yours. And it is a worthy one. The challenge is accepting the calling and being content with it.
This calling is not all roses and rainbows, however. There are challenges and pains along the way, since the honor of being called to the life of Christ is not one accepted on a majority basis in modern developed society. There will be friends who seem to attract people to them like moths to their flame. There will be people who are called to relationship, to marriage, to motherhood, to fatherhood, to career-driven lives, to local missions, to international missions, and a thousand other things – all of which are independent of one another and perfectly God-Glorifying.
As touched on earlier, the largest challenge in taking up this calling is the inherent insatiable desire humans have for that special person to be miraculously sent from God to fill the hole carved by societal and cultural standards.
I entreat you, single people as well as those currently involved in any level of relationship: find contentment first in God, who is our perfect lover and has the power to call us to a life of continual and life-giving ministry.