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At the blog The Gift of Singleness (located at thegiftofsingleness.blogspot.com), in an entry entitled “The Importance of Waiting on the Lord” (dated January 17, 2007), the blog’s author, someone calling herself (or himself?) “Captain Sensible,” compares having faith in God to provide one with a spouse to having faith in God to reveal to a student which college the student should chose.
The comparison at that blog is made to ridicule the notion of any Christian having faith in God for a spouse.
The idea that a Christian would rely on God for college membership choice, or God’s direction or leading in the matter, is viewed by “Captain Sensible” as being silly and unrealistic, so the analogy is that relying on God in the area of marriage is also ridiculous.
Look, I fully appreciate the frustration of Christians who are single well past the age of 35 who dearly want to get married and have no current prospects (I am in that group myself), but I was very disturbed by the cynical attitude of that blog.
After having skimmed over some of “Captain Sensible’s” other content, I find myself agreeing with some of it and enjoyed some of the humor (such as the January 13, 2007 post entitled “Beware! The 14th February approaches!”).
But as I was saying, I do find certain aspects of the marriage mandate crowd’s attitudes (including some of those expressed by Captain Sensible) upsetting.
To mock and ridicule a Christian for having faith in God for provision, whether we are talking about food, water, shelter, a job, a spouse, a baby, a healing, or what have you, seems very antithetical to Christianity.
Especially when one considers all the passages in the Bible where
(a) Believers are chastised for NOT having faith in God and
(b) Believers are strongly commended for having faith (see, for example, Hebrews chapter 11 in the New Testament)
I have heard various pastors say that upon visiting Wal-Mart on a busy day, with a jam packed parking lot, that they prayed and asked the Lord for an empty parking space, and shortly after uttering such a prayer, they received a parking space.
The lesson I learn from such personal anecdotes is that God does not mind us praying to Him for whatever our wants and needs are, no matter how small they seem.
We believers are encouraged -not discouraged, and certainly not mocked or ridiculed- through out the Scriptures to approach God with any of our needs or wants and to trust that God will come through with whatever we asked of Him.
The Scriptures tell us ‘we have not because we ask not.’ I would say, therefore, that it might be a little more dangerous or risky to rely entirely on one’s own means to procure a spouse than to pray to ask God to provide for one.
We are told to take all our needs and wants before God; see Philipians 4:6:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
I do not see any asterisks after that verse with a footnote to small size text at the bottom of the page with legalese reading, “This verse holds true, of course, unless you are a single person requesting a spouse. So sorry for you, this does not apply here!”
Back when I used to wear glasses, I would sometimes misplace them. After spending time hunting around for them, I would pray and ask God to help me find my glasses.
There were other times I did not even bother to look for the misplaced glasses at all and from the very start implored God, “I haven’t even tried looking for the glasses. I know it’s useless to do so, this place is such a mess. I have no idea even where to start. Would you please show me where the glasses are?”
I felt idiotic making such a trivial appeal to God, but anytime I made it, I always found my glasses shortly thereafter.
(I could reel off similar examples of God answering my trivial petitions for His assistance, and how He came through, but that should be sufficient.)
Jesus encouraged us to pray repeatedly for something if we want or need it, until it comes to pass (see Luke 18:1-8; it’s the Parable of the Persistent Widow).
From Matthew 21:22, Jesus speaking (also check out Mark 11:23-25):
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
It matters not how big or little the request is.
If God is not put off by a man asking for a parking space (or me asking Him to lead me to my glasses), I seriously doubt He takes issue with a person asking for direction in getting a spouse. (I discuss a related issue in the post The Right One.)
We Christians are commanded, and various believers are commended in the Scriptures, for having faith in God for provision.
I take it that “Captain Sensible” of the The Gift of Singleness blog is one of the marriage mandate advocates.
Marriage mandaters believe that God and faith do not factor in getting a spouse at all, or very little.
According to an online article I read a few months ago, one of the marriage mandate leaders, Debbie Maken, even relied on her parents, an Indian heritage (she originally hails from India, I believe), and an online dating sites for Indians, to set up an arranged marriage between her and an Indian gentleman, if I recall correctly.
It would appear to me that someone like Maken totally, completely removed God and faith from the marriage equation, which I find troubling.
Such individuals, the marriage mandaters, believe that a Christian woman getting a husband is akin to a Christian woman desiring obtaining a new dress:
If you want a new frock, you must hop in your car, visit various clothing stores, look at and compare various dresses, select your favorite, and purchase it.
Such a mind set presumes that merely putting effort into getting a man will get you a man, but that is not always the case.
I have joined various churches, attended singles events, and did not get so much as a date.
In the “store and dress” example above, you are pretty much guaranteed a wide selection of dresses. If J. C. Penny doesn’t have a dress you like, you can always try visiting the Gap, Sears, Dillard’s, and many other shops.
However, at various churches I have attended, there have not been too many single Christian men my age to choose from.
Supposing I do find a single Christian man appealing, there’s no guarantee that he will find me attractive in return.
In the store example, if I find a dress attractive, I can simply purchase it and bring it home. One cannot simply drag an attractive single man home against his will.
About three or four years ago, I read a web page by a Christian woman who decided to be more pro-active in getting a mate.
This woman had heard others lecture single women with the whole, “if you want a man, you need to be pro-active and join a lot of social activities to meet a guy; you likely won’t meet anyone while sitting on your couch in your den watching television” spiel often enough, so she decided to give it a try.
She therefore joined numerous groups, singles functions, and attended many social activities. She tried this approach for about a year or longer.
She decided to take up square dancing, so she went to a weekly square dancing class.
To her dismay, she was the only 30- something woman in the class. All the other students were in their 60s, or older, and married.
She heard the old adage about taking up your favorite hobby, since she might bump into a single guy with the same interest.
She always wanted to learn how to ride a horse, so she next tried taking horse riding classes. The class was mostly filled with teen aged kids. There were no suitable, single men her age in the horse riding classes.
For over a year, this single woman ran herself ragged on the hunt for “Mr. Right.” She never did meet anyone, despite all the socializing.
All of this tells me that if it’s not in God’s timing for you to get married right now, that you can attend as many
◆ singles groups and classes at churches,
◆ bars / night clubs,
◆ continuing education college classes,
◆ horse riding classes,
◆ volunteer at every soup kitchen or homeless shelter in your city,
◆ attend as many other social events as you possibly can, and still not meet a “significant other.”
In other words, being very social and pro-active is no guarantee of achieving marriage.
Returning to the topic of Captain Sensible’s “The Gift of Singleness” blog and the “The Importance of Waiting on the Lord” page, which mocks and ridicules any believer trusting in and waiting on God for a spouse:
As I stated in previous blog entries, because we are each individuals with our own unique situations, unique problems and unique personalities, and God treats us each differently, I believe it is in error to approach Christian singleness and marriage with a “one size fits all” mentality.
In other words, while it might very well be true that God expects some Christians to “actively” seek a spouse, I do not believe this is true for all Christians (reasons for which I stated in prior posts, so I will not cover them here).
If you are a Christian who has prayed and feels led by God to be active in searching for a spouse, then that is perfectly fine and acceptable. I have no quibble or argument with you.
I would, however, strongly caution any Christian against dismissing God’s will and guidance too lightly, as marriage mandate proponents such as Captain Sensible does.
I realize if you are never-married and over the age of 35, you may feel terribly frustrated, desperate, ashamed and a whole host of other negative emotions due to your prolonged singleness, but you can also cause damage to yourself, your life, and your walk with God if you marry indiscriminately.
There are biblical examples of people who disregarded God’s leading, or did not even bother to seek out God’s will, before jumping into an endeavor, and their situation turned out horribly.
Look, for example, at Sarah and Abraham (see Genesis, chapters 15 – 17).
To summarize, Abraham was upset because his wife, Sarah, had never been pregnant and had a baby, which Abraham mentions to God.
God tells Abraham that he and Sarah will have a baby – a biological baby of their own, not one that was adopted. From Genesis Chapter 15 we read:
(4) Then the word of the LORD came to him [Abraham]: “This man [Abraham’s servant] will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.”
Either Sarah did not believe God’s promise of a biological child, or she did, but got tired of waiting (from Genesis chapter 16):
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
The end result? Abraham does the “horizontal rhumba” with Hagar, and Hagar later gives birth to Ishmael.
God does later keep His promise, to Sarah, who later gives birth to her and Abraham’s biological child, Isaac (see chapter Genesis 21).
The result of Abraham and Sarah trying to fulfill their own desire to have a child, rather than relying on God and God’s timing (I do not know why the blog is displaying the following font at such a huge size, by the way):
- ● created problems within their family; Sarah and Hagar fought, and Hagar and Ishamel were ostracized (temporarily);
● present day Islamic Arabs (many of whom hate Jews and Israel) are believed to be descendents of Ishamel
Why do I mention this?
The point is, if you jump ahead and seek to fulfill your own wants, needs, and desires by your own effort, your own power, and your own choices and decisions…
And if you do not seek God’s will and/or rely on God’s timing and provision, you too may end up creating a problem, such as Abraham and Sarah.
Think of the heartache, struggles, and disappointment that Abraham and Sarah could have avoided.
Instead, they did not trust God to send them an heir, got tired of waiting (I suppose they assumed after thirteen years of waiting, it was never going to happen), so they took matters into their own hands.
If you feel led by the Lord to be active in getting a mate, go for it.
But again, I would caution anyone from trying to entirely take matters into their own hands when it comes to finding or getting a spouse, or anything else in life (including which college to attend).
I am amazed, saddened, and confounded that any Christian, like the ones at some of these “marriage mandate” blogs, would be so dismissive and cavalier about having faith in God, trusting Him, and waiting upon His timing for anything.