Last year I visited a spinster friend of mine. Spinster is an outdated term, but the best descriptor I can think of. My friend is in her mid-60’s. Though she’d been in love a couple of times in her youth she has never married. She chose to adopt to fulfill her desire for a family. During my visit with her, we talked men and relationships that never took flight. She told me something that seared my heart and mind. Something I vehemently rejected then and since. “LaShawnda, you may never marry and it’s time for you to make peace with God about being single.”
My immediate rebuttal was, “God wouldn’t have put the desire in my heart if it weren’t part of His plan.”
Some time after that conversation, I did a study of Judges and paused on Samson. It struck me that his purpose was greater than marriage. Initially, that seemed to be an odd thought, because even in my own studies I’ve come to believe marriage is the highest plan God has for humanity here on earth. I believe it’s the best training ground and practice field for His Word. But in reading Samson’s story (Judges Chapters 13-16) marriage didn’t do him any good. Or rather marriage to the wrong person/people destroyed him.
Before he was conceived, Samson was set apart to God. His mother was told his purpose, which was to begin the process of delivering Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:3-5). Can you imagine knowing your purpose from birth? And knowing everything your parents did for you was preparation to fulfill that purpose? Samson knew, yet he still sinned. He still endangered himself. He still unwisely lusted after women who were not committed to him. He still taunted his foes and in his arrogance gave them the weapon to destroy him. Samson allowed his flesh to rule him even though he experienced the power of the Spirit of God strengthening him on occasion.
Samson unequally yoked himself to his first wife and his second wife proved to be his Judas. He wasn’t unaware; he just didn’t care. He saw. He wanted. He took. His actions went against God’s law and did not contribute to his purpose. He did indeed achieve victories against the Philistines, however it’s clear that he could have enjoyed life more and for longer had he been more diligent with God’s law and the Nazirite vows.
Sometimes, I think perhaps that’s what marriage has become – something we see, we want, we do. Or we’re told to want and we do. But it’s not necessarily for everyone. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:7-9:
But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. But God gives to some the gift of marriage, and to others the gift of singleness.
So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.
A single life doesn’t sound as devastating as it did a year ago. I know that God grants the desires of our hearts when we seek Him first. And I know that His blessings come free of sorrows. So I’ve concluded that what I’ve been asking for was not good for me. Unlike Samson, I will not push the issue. There’s nothing I want more than the peace I have with God. This season I will enjoy until He guides me into the next.