Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

God's Satisfaction In Singleness

Post by Guest Writer Hannah Herndon on singleness.  Encouraging! 

God's satisfaction 
Image result for Singleness
In Singleness 

...For she was given all to fleshly lust,
And poured forth in sensuall delight,
That all regard of shame she had discust,
And meet respect of honour put to flight:
So shamelesse beauty soone becomes a loathly sight.

Faire Ladies, that to love captived arre,
And chaste desires do nourish in your mind,
Let not her fault your sweet affections marre,
Ne blot the bounty of all womankind;
'Mongst thousands good one wanton Dame to find:
Emongst the Roses grow some wicked weeds;
For this was not to love, but lust inclind;
For love does alwayes bring forth bounteous deeds,
And in each gentle hart desire of honour breeds.

The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser, 1590

The difference between love and lust, and the avoidance of lust, is something that can consume a girl's time and energy to a great extent. No follower of Christ wants to imitate the fleshly lust that the world is consumed with, and that flaunts itself on magazine covers and in romance novels. We recoil in horror at the thought of being this lady, described by Spenser:

Nought so of love this looser Dame did skill,
But as a coale to kindle fleshly flame,
Giving the bridle to her wanton will,
And treading under foote her honest name:
Such love is hate, and such desire is shame.

But when you have real needs, it can be hard not to think on that "someone". It can make you spend all day constantly thinking, "am I overstepping the bounds in my thoughts?" I don't know how many other girls have this problem, but I certainly have. It isn't healthy, to walk between doubt and desire, fear of sinning and a need that feels unmet.

 "God's love isn't a substitute for a man's, but it is better. It doesn't satisfy in the same way as a husband would, but it is more than enough to satisfy the soul."

I think I have found the key to resolving that kind of thinking, and I wanted to share it here. It doesn't honor God to walk between fear of "overstepping bounds" and the real desires that we all have. Trying to just "repress" those feelings isn't the answer. Neither is telling yourself that you just must go without until God sees fit for you to marry (this can lead to a secret grudge against God, among other things.) Nor is it telling yourself that God can fulfill those needs, and trying to find an outlet for those feelings in thinking about Him. (Although it isn't far from the answer, it misses closely... like just barely missing someone in a game of blind-man's-bluff.)

Yesterday I was doing dishes, in the afternoon... feeling a bit lonely, and having this "feelings struggle" for most of the day. I knew it wasn't healthy. I knew that God had something better for me to do than think on love and lust. I just turned and started thinking about God. I thought of all the good things He's done for me, as His child... given me an eternal hope, an inheritance in heaven that will never fade, and the loving family around me... and just that quickly, the thoughts of the "someone" faded away as I looked on the Lord's face. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Psalm 103). I realized what had just happened, and turned in amazement to see the thoughts of the longed-for person fading away, in my mind.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace."

The thing was, I didn't try to visualize God as a substitute for the love of a man. I've done that many times, and it never worked. I realized that the love of God and the love of a man are two different things. God's love isn't a substitute for a man's, but it is better. It doesn't satisfy in the same way as a husband would, but it is more than enough to satisfy the soul. I realized that it is quite possible to live and be whole without the love of a man, by experience. It doesn't mean that a man's love isn't good or wonderful. It's just an extra thing, optional in the course of life. Not necessary. I felt that I could live quite happily just serving God. Marriage will be wonderful, if I get to have it. But I don't need it.

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