It’s funny how life works sometimes. You grow up being taught that if you do things the right way, abide by the rules, and follow the Lord, then things will work out fine. But that isn’t always the truth. I thought that I would be married by age 21 and be a father by 25. After all, that’s what my parents did and everything has turned out alright for them. Alas, here I am at 27 with not even the slightest sight of a relationship on the horizon. Almost all my closest friends have gotten married and/or have kids. Even my younger brother is engaged. I’m absolutely thrilled and happy for all of them, but it is still rough.
What makes it even more difficult is seeing those who you know haven’t done things “the right way” get the things in life that you desire. Seeing people who have treated you badly, people who have treated others horribly, people who have walked away from the beliefs they were raised on, people who openly live their life in opposition to God, seeing all those people get married and have kids. Seeing them have seemingly happy lives now. They did things “the wrong way” and they get the amazing rewards, yet I do things “the right way” and haven’t gotten them. It seems backwards. Is this jealousy? To some degree, yes. But I know from scripture that the things I desire are good things. I want nothing more than to have a wife and kids that I can love unconditionally and raise a family that is honoring to the Lord. That is a good thing. It is something I have wanted for as long as I can remember. And every time I step out in faith hoping to move towards a relationship that can turn into those good things, I am mistreated and denied by others. I know, I know, it sounds like I’m having a pity party and want you to feel bad for me. That isn’t what I’m going for here.
As much as not having those things gets me down and depressed, and as much as I wish I had those things now, I am not without hope. I learned many years ago that God is faithful and he is always with us regardless of what we see (or don’t see) in front of us. He is there in the idleness and sadness. He is with us during the tears and the heartbreak, he is that still small voice. Even when it appears he is silent or not listening to our prayers, he is working behind the scenes preparing what comes next. Even when it feels like all is lost and everything is going wrong, he has a purpose. He has the ability to turn what the enemy meant for bad, into good. We need only trust in his timing.
I know, it is easier said than done. But his timing is perfect. Instead of wallowing in despair and self-pity, try focusing on growing closer to him. Spend time in his word, choose a time each day to spend in prayer and meditation. Focus on becoming who he wants you to be. Your relationship with him is not one sided, you must be open to hearing him speak to you.
As we enter into this new year and new decade, my goal is to focus more on God and less on those things. I write these words as a reminder to myself, but I hope and pray that you can find some comfort and encouragement from this as well.
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year Nick,
God has a plan for each one of us and as you say He does things in his own time. Not that this is necessarily the case, but consider that God may not have marriage in mind for you, at least perhaps not yet. Paul was celibate, and many, many Christians have been down the ages, and it is possible to give glory to God this way, and for some it is God’s will. Be patient and God will show you the way forward and his will for you.
The prosperity gospel leads one to believe that if one does things for God – be righteous – God will give us (material) things. But that is not what Jesus teaches us. Luke 9:57 “57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’
58 Jesus answered, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.'” Jesus warns us that if we follow him the road will be difficult. And the sufferings we go through are purifying, that is how God prepares us for the challenges ahead – it could be in your case to prepare you for married life and the particular challenges you may have to face.
I highly recommend to you the book by Robert Spitzer: “The Light Shines on in the Darkness – Transforming Suffering Through Faith.”