If we are to escape this futile desire for the easier answer we must consider the Biblical model of God’s loving grace to His people. God’s blessings were not always easy to bear, were not always easy to see. The truth is the lives of God’s people leave us with complex questions to which there are no easy answers. While it is natural to desire easy answers and quick methods it is more a reflection of our flesh than of the Spirit.
We often accept the easy answers because we desire the fulfillment they promised. We must realize that for most people life is a struggle. For most people life is not easy at all. Most of the world knows daily sorrows.
Life is not exclusively pain and yet it is folly to spend our lives trying to avoid pain. The pain associated with singleness can drive one to distraction but it is only part of the greater picture. We may walk with a limp but we must walk.
For most Christians it is not finding a relationship that is difficult it is living the Christian life. What is most difficult is learning to trust a God who gives and takes away, who lifts up and humbles, who loves and then wounds. For most of us it is this issue of trust that plagues us for if we trusted Him, truly trusted Him, we could rest in the confidence that His “grace is sufficient.”
It is the pruning of life that is painful and the process of maturing that hurts. In all that we do we dare not forget that simple principle of the Christian faith—God is love. In the shade of this great maxim we can sit, rest and be loved.
Too often we are unable to locate the desire for a relationship in its proper place. We sometimes isolated this one great desire so that it takes on a life of its own quite apart from the larger Christian life. So for God to deny us a relationship is tantamount to denying us salvation. Sometimes all the blessings of God sour in light of one great desire, but this should never be.
His grace is sufficient and even now He is providing our daily bread—even now He loves.
The greatest love was displayed on the cross in the greatest of injustices and sufferings. And this greatest of joyful tragedies can be explained with the simplest of answers—love. So when I think of who we are before God, and the struggle we endure in finding a mate, I consider the simplest of answers—love. The problem is that this simple answer leads to many more complex questions—How? Why? How long?
Three times the beloved apostle Paul pleaded with the Lord to ease the pain and God refused (2Cor. 12:8). Grace was sufficient for Paul, but is it sufficient for us? Oh! It is sufficient for us! He takes the wounded and the broken and loves them. He is not concerned with our scars just now. One day He will restore us, but for now these scars are reminders of where we have been.
Singleness may be in some way related our past, but it may also be a part of God’s present and future grace. This is the not an easy answer. In saying this I am neither shelving hope nor brandishing discouragement. No! We hope because we have a desire that He just may fulfill—and soon. But we live in the ignorance of His full plan. We live by faith not sight. We live by faith and not seven easy steps to anything.
His love may not reflect the storyline of some Hollywood movie. No, the God we serve often conducts the affairs of His kingdom in odd inexplicable ways. He conducts His affairs in ways that raise more questions while offering few easy answers.
I am always perplexed when I read the life of David, King David the anointed one. From his anointing by Samuel to his crowning as Israel’s king nearly 25 years passed. In the mean time he was forced to flee for his life, to live out of caves, to beg for food, and once he even played the role of a mad man to save his life (1Sam 20:10-15). He did all this after faithfully serving a man rejected by God, a man of questionable character. He suffered all this after being told that HE would be king.
No one would have faulted David for taking matters into his own hands and there was an easy answer for the taking—“God has appointed me king so I must TAKE the throne.” It is this very sticky balance between God’s sovereignty and human effort that melts before no easy answer.
Most of us are meant for less noble purposes than King David. But within each of our longing hearts is a desire for the promised completion in loving and being loved by another soul. And this is good. It is understandable that we search for the things that will expedite our orders, hasten the hoped for joy but we must wait with patience.
If we accept the simple answers and take them to be laws of nature and God then their failure is our failure. If things are really simple then we are idiots or horrendous sinners to have deserved (even in Christ) so prolonged a punishment.
If the simple answers are correct, that we must put on or take off, grow into or grow out of, learn or unlearn, say or do something in order to find the right mate then we cannot escape the conclusion—we are even more desperately lost than we supposed.
But nothing is that simple. We live in a fallen world in which the easiest of answers often yield failure. We live in a world where the wicked prosper and the righteous struggle. In this world the easy answers rarely consider the way in which God deals with His creatures. The easy answers rarely take into account the awe-inspiring nature of God’s ways—which are not like our ways.
The simple truth is that there are no simple answers or methods or tricks that will work mechanically but His grace is sufficient. In the end, after years in the desert, after years of fleeing for His life, David became King. He was not perfect but throughout the Bible he is known as “a man after God’s own heart.” It is this title I crave even more than “husband” or “father.”
*From the Princess Bride
This article was first published, Wednesday, August 05, 2009