Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Stuff Church People Say to Singles, Part 2

You know how most married people have rings to declare their takenness? I propose (ha! didn't even mean that pun) singles have
rings to declare their status too. It could prevent those awkward moments when a married folk asks a question assuming you're one of them and aren't quite sure how to respond when they find out you're not. It's either a startled response intended to comfort you after forcing you to admit to being single (gasp!) or a pat answer that they carry with them for just such occasions. For example?

Church People Say: "If you just pray and trust God, he'll grant you the desires of your heart."

Translation: You have less faith and a worse prayer life than every married person. Ever.

Consider: Really? Do you really believe that? Aside from the fact that many people of all faiths or no faith at all have dreams that come true, Paul didn't. He prayed repeatedly to be rid of "a thorn in his side" and God said no. It wasn't because of a lack of faith (although he was single...) If getting the desires of our hearts was a sign of how faithful we are, then the most successful athletes, most famous actors, most wealthy world leaders would be examples to live by because they have fulfilled a desire in their lives that 99% of us will never see happen. And everyone who has lost a loved one, every family that can't put food on the table, every martyr would be examples of people who lack faith. I don't think anyone would say that. 

Let's even bring it home. Do you, or anyone you look up to, have things you want in life? Good things? Right things? That you truly, deeply want? Even things that aren't for you personally, like world peace, ending drought in Africa, rescue for those enslaved around the world....if you're blaming your own lack of faith for these horrors, you're giving yourself way too much credit. Definitely pray for those things, just understand it's not you.

Let's not forget that in addition to Paul, a lot of single people are examples of amazing faith. Mother Teresa, every Pope, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Joan of Arc, C.S. Lewis*, and yeah, Jesus.

The truth is that we all have, cradled deep in hearts, desires that haven't been met. If you believe God is good, and He is grace, then you know it's not because he's waiting for your 4,396,247th prayer. We may never know why some longings are never met on this planet. But, "If you just pray and trust God..." that's okay. 

* Our boy, C.S. did tie the knot, but not until his 50's and after he'd written most of his timeless works. He was single when he penned those.