an uneasy tension.

// the battle of the heart of the single Christian //

I remember when I was single and waiting and longing for a relationship. For eight solid years I had no boyfriend. Over those eight years I saw friends date, get engaged, get married and even start having babies. I couldn’t help but feel a void in my heart and an emptiness in my soul that rose up within me. It seemingly cried out to be filled by a romantic relationship.

During that time something else rose up within me…



an uneasy tension

I felt guilty for longing for an earthly relationship. After all I had been taught all those years in church and in Bible studies and at Christian camps that I was to be completely fulfilled by my relationship with Jesus.

At least that’s how I remembered it.

And yet… I couldn’t escape this desire of my heart for romantic love.

In his book Sacred Marriage, author Gary Thomas talks about the “uneasy tension” he felt in his single days. He says–

“As I grew older, both of these movements—toward Jesus and toward females—sometimes created an uneasy tension. The man I most admired, the one person on whom I wanted to model my life and to whom I wanted to express my commitment, was a single man.” {Sacred Marriage, p. 20}

While Gary’s and my tensions were slightly different, they are similar in many ways. And when I look back on my time of singleness I don’t regret the years it was just me and Jesus; rather, I regret the guilt I felt for longing for more.


created for relationship

You see, God created us to be in relationship. No, He didn’t create all of us to marry. I do believe in certain rare occasions He calls certain individuals to a life of singleness. But I do believe His design of marriage is an absolute gift and a definitive part of His plan for us.

Think about it: Adam lived in perfect relationship with God in the Garden, and yet there was something missing in his life. There was a longing in his soul for a companion—a “helpmate.” God even recognized this void as “not good” (Genesis 2:18a).

Single friend, are you longing for a romantic relationship? It’s not bad or wrong to have that longing; it’s what we do with the longing that makes all the difference.


navigating the waiting

When God recognized Adam’s longing for a helpmate, He didn’t immediately present Eve to him. Instead, Adam waited and worked for God, naming all the animals (Genesis 2:19). And then after a time God created Eve from Adam’s rib and joined the two together as one, as husband and wife, in the first ever garden wedding (Genesis 2:21-24).

God may have some work for us to do for His Kingdom before He delivers to us our spouse. But He is faithful. And just as He did not forget Adam’s longing (Genesis 2:20b), He does not forget ours.

My prayer is that you who wait would be filled with encouragement on the journey of singleness and reassurance on the sometimes very long road that our God—who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8)—sees you, knows you, and longs to give you the very best gifts (Matthew 7:11). May you run with endurance this race marked out for you in joy and with faith that you do not wait in vain.

Don’t let Satan rob your joy in your time of singleness. He would love nothing more than to turn you against the very God who designed this great gift of marriage. He would love nothing more than to have you believe the lie that God is withholding goodness from you (just as he did with Adam and Eve). Instead cling to the truth that God’s ways are higher than our ways, that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), that His purpose for us will prevail (Proverbs 19:21), and that He is working ALL things together for GOOD for those who love Him (Romans 8:28)!

I will say that again: friend, God is working all things together in your life for your good. Even the things the enemy means for harm, God uses for good! (Genesis 50:20).

Hold your longing within your heart while you fix your eyes on Jesus, going where He leads. One day you just might look up across the room and see the one you will one day marry. On an unexpected Tuesday in May of 2014, I did. And I give God every ounce of credit for ordaining our story within His greater Story He is telling.

Thanks be to God who, as Elisabeth Elliot says, “never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better.”

May the tension of the battle within your heart be eased with every word of God’s truth and every promise from His heart and every example of His faithfulness in the Bible–starting with His faithfulness in delivering Adam a helpmate and spouse and continuing on to the countless promises He fulfills in the remainder of Scripture.

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