Last week a woman asked me, “What would you say to a single person who was frustrated with being single? If they wanted to know what to do, what would you say?” My response was, “I would recommend they buy my book, Surviving Singledom.”
Shameless sales pitch aside, the reason why I wrote a book about singleness is because there is no one right answer to this worthy question. There are a range of possible answers but there is no golden formula that is going to fit for everybody.
Just as with any issue we face in life, be it a physical issue, a relationship problem, a matter of faith or a practical need, there is a multitude of possible answers. No single explanation is going to be right for all. And I think life would get pretty boring if we were all that homogenous and predictable.
I found out during the years of my singleness that there are many challenges the Christian single person may face. I also found that many Christians are frustrated with being single and with not knowing whether God has a partner in His plans for them.
Sometimes we want to know what God is up to. We want to understand His will and timing for our lives. Sometimes we just want to vent to God about our circumstances. Sometimes God answers. And sometimes He lets us drift in the waters of uncertainty with no land in sight.
It can be frustrating when faced with such uncertainty. In our modern 24/7 world, we don’t seem to cope with uncertainty very well. We’re not good at sitting with suspense. Ask someone who has just been to a job interview, or sat an exam, or undertaken a medical test. The waiting reaches a point where that person just wants to know the outcome, because even bad news is better than the interminable wait.
It can be even harder to watch someone we love suffer in the midst of their frustration and uncertainty. When we care about someone, we often want to protect them, fix their problems and cheer them up. These, while noble sentiments, are not always helpful or realistic. It’s pretty hard to offer someone comfort and solutions when you are not privy to all the answers.
In thinking about this woman’s question, I came to realise that sometimes the best answer is, “I don’t know.” I don’t know why God seems to allow such prolonged suffering in our lives. I don’t know why God provides partners for some people and not for others. I definitely don’t know why He sometimes doesn’t give us what we ask for.
Let’s try to get better at sitting with the unknown. Let’s join with one another on our journeys of uncertainty, knowing (and thanking God) that we don’t have all the answers. Praise God that He knows the future – that’s our certainty.
The support of others during times of difficulty can make all the difference. Let us walk this road together rather than in single file.
NB. My upcoming book is an attempt to address some of the issues faced by Christian singles in our contemporary world. I will provide updates regarding the release of my book on my blog, facebook and twitter pages. Keep your eyes peeled for more updates on Surviving Singledom in the coming months.