Often times God will bring an amazing season into our lives when we least expect it. For me, it was the Spring of 2008.
I had previously spent four years in the Corps of Cadets (ROTC) at Texas A&M. During those four years, I lived and breathed the Corps of Cadets and all Aggie traditions – 24/7! On top of that, I was involved in numerous campus organizations outside the Corps (“off the quad” as we called it.) I spent my last two years as an Aggie Yell Leader, traveling to every Aggie fish camp, A&M club, and Aggie sporting event you could possibly imagine. I gave the university my all. God put me in that position for His purposes, and I learned a lot, forged lasting friendships, and grew in my relationship with the Lord. My only regret is that during those two years, I didn’t have much time to process – to think, sit, and meditate on the Word. There were so many events, places, people, friendships, late nights, “buddies,” and NO PRIVACY – especially in the Corps dorms.
Before I knew it, graduation day had arrived. On May 12, 2007, I walked around Kyle Field one last time in my Senior Boots at Final Review (It’s an Aggie thing), put on my Marine Corps Dress Blues and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
Shortly after graduation I reported to Quantico, VA for the Marine Officer Basics School. The next six months were a blur of Powerpoint classes, long “hikes” through the “Quantico highlands,” field exercises, land navigation courses, live fire ranges, and endurance/obstacle courses. About half of our time was spent in the “field.” The rest I spent in a small barracks room that I shared with five other 2nd Lieutenants. FIVE! Needless to say, during those first months out of college, I did not have much time to “think” either.
So it was a gracious act of God’s providence to bring me to Pensacola, Florida for my first duty station. I was honestly surprised to be going to Pensacola. There was literally only one Air Traffic Control spot designated to my company of over 250 lieutenants. Many of us wanted that one slot, but God in His providence had designated it for me.
The Marine Corps and the Navy Air Traffic Control training commands are located at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. When I checked into the station in February of 2008, I was surprised to be given my very own Bachelor Officer Quarters room. It came complete with daily maid service, cable television, and a view of the beach! This was so different from the woods I had been trekking through for the past six months, and there was so much more privacy and free time than I had experienced at both Texas A&M and at The Basics School.
Each morning began at 5:30 AM with a run with all the Marines. We started our classes at 7:30 AM, and we would often finish for the day by 2 PM. This left me with a lot of free time. I honestly did not know what to do with the extra time. I started training for triathlons and hanging out with people from my church, Providence Church. I also had time to think. I often spent my evenings running up and down Pensacola Beach, stopping to read Tim Keller’s The Reason for God on the beach. But for the first time in five years, I was able to really think. I was able to process. I was able to meditate on the Word of God, particularly the Psalms.
And that’s when I started to contemplate my singleness. Like many of you, I longed for a wife, but I didn’t see how I possibly could get married anytime soon – I was slated to go to Japan for 2 years at the beginning of the summer. That thought worried me.
It worried me until one night in April. I was going back to Houston for a buddy’s wedding. For some reason I could not get a flight out of Pensacola. So I drove all the way from Pensacola to New Orleans one Friday afternoon and then caught a plane that night from New Orleans to Houston. I had recently bought Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and had decided to bring it along. While on the flight, I read the first chapter, which was John Piper’s chapter on singleness. I remember that while reading, I was cut to the core. I was moved by Piper’s exhortation to maximize singleness. I was moved by the accounts of singleness – by people who necessarily didn’t feel “called” to be single. As I watched the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico outside my window, a new thought dawned: I must leverage my singleness for the glory of Christ.
Singleness is a Gift
One thing that I realized on that plane is that singleness is a gift that God gives to His saints so that they can leverage their time, energy, and effort towards serving Christ and advancing His kingdom. I realized that instead of feeling sorry for myself, I needed to direct my energy to His service.
That’s what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.”
Jesus is Worth Your Singleness
After all, Jesus is worth your singleness. A relationship with Him is more than enough to satisfy every longing of your heart. Though your heart may ache for earthly companionship, if you are a Christian, you already possess the most satisfying relationship in the universe. And this relationship will last for eternity (John 17:3). Every other relationship can be taken from you in a blink of an eye. Not this one. Jesus Christ satisfies. Everything, including marriage, is “rubbish” compared to knowing Jesus (Phil. 3:8).”
Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a treasure that a man finds hidden in a field. The man sells everything he had to buy the field and possess the treasure (Matt. 13). Jesus’ point is that He and thus His kingdom are like that. He’s worth our all, everything we have to give, including our singleness.
Holiness is Worth Your Singleness
As I have often heard Dr. Mark Coppenger say, “God hasn’t called you to be “happy,” He’s called you to be holy.” Paul said that your holiness was God’s design for your life before the foundation of the world: “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him (Eph. 1:4).” Ultimately, God’s design for you is to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Sometimes God uses suffering and difficult circumstances – including singleness – in our lives to further this process of sanctification. But remember that these “light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Cor. 4:17).”
So please do not take your singleness for granted. Instead, when you feel lonely and when you long for companionship, remember that God is using the sometimes “lonesome” moments of your singleness to make you more like Christ. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).”
A Godly Woman is Worth Your Singleness
If God calls you to marry, don’t settle for anything less than a godly woman! I can promise you that a godly woman is worth your singleness.
And simply put, there are too many godly, single women out there who love Jesus Christ more than anything else in the world for you to settle for anything less. Don’t settle for a nice, “Christian” girl. Wait for the girl that loves Jesus with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength.
How will you know the difference? A godly girl will be plugged in and serving in a local church. She will understand Paul’s mandate that everyone in the “body” must contribute their spiritual gift for the edification of the rest of the “body” (1 Cor. 12). She will dress modestly, at all times (Prov. 31:30). She will be more concerned with growing in character than with being found “popular” or “alluring” by the guys. So look for the girl that is defined by “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight (1 Pet. 3:4).” She might not be the prettiest girl that you have ever seen externally, and she probably won’t be the one that attracts the most attention to herself on the social scene and on social media. But if you can find her, she is worth more than any treasure in the world (Prov. 31:10).
She will bless you more than you can imagine right now. She will be your helpmate and will follow you anywhere. She will help you become more like Christ, and she will be your most faithful friend on this earth outside of Christ. She will satisfy your sexual longings (Prov. 5). She’ll partner with you in the cultural mandate (Gen 1:28) and will help you fulfill the ministry God has given you.
God is sovereign (Eph. 1:11) and is working all things for your good (Rom.8:28). He will withhold no good thing from you…after all, every good thing is from Him (James 1) and He is the giver of all good things.
Please brothers, trust Him with your singleness and embrace this season in your life. Ultimately, Jesus is worth it!
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