As I was doing my Bible study this morning, I came across this question: “How do you feel God singing a song of love over you?” Usually when I read things like this, I have a Sunday school response that pops into my head, “Jesus died on the cross for me.” But today, I’m ashamed to say, my first thought was of my material blessings: my fabulous apartment, a functioning car, family and friends who love me, a job I can’t wait to get to each day. I was immediately taken aback. I am such an American! I think God loves me because I have things that make me happy and comfortable. Which is why, when I get in a funk about being single, sometimes I wonder if God is taking as good care of me as He should, or if He really loves me if He is withholding the blessing of a mate.
I started thinking more about blessings, and how the Bible says that we have every spiritual blessing in Christ. And how I equate comfort with joy, and blessing with having what I want. I thought about how I don’t really thank God for the spiritual blessings I have in Christ because they are often so intangible. I mean, I can see my apartment and my car, I can touch my family. But eternal life? Righteousness in Christ? I know I have these things, but I don’t often take time to experience them on more than an intellectual level. What would that even look like?
What if all these tangible blessings were taken away? I would be no less blessed in Christ than I am now. What if I had the additional blessing of a mate? I would be no more blessed in Christ than I am now. Not that I shouldn’t be thankful for and enjoy the material things God has given me, but they are not the proof of God’s love for me. The cross of Jesus is. What if I experience desiring the blessing of a mate so that my appreciation of the spiritual blessings God has given me is sharpened? Like a blind person, whose other senses are sharpened because one is missing. They are keenly aware of the most minute sounds and their fingers become sensitive enough to read what appears to be a complex system of bumps because they are not distracted by sight. As I am going through life alone, how am I more keenly aware of God’s presence and help?
Would I be more attuned to my spiritual blessings with a mate, or would he be a hindrance to me experiencing the richness of God’s love for me? Does my desire for a husband drive me to seek pleasure and fulfillment in God, or am I trying to find satisfaction in earthly things?
The other day I was doing a Bible study on the verse “His divine power has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness.” The author asked the question, “How do you feel about this verse?” Which is a funny question, since it doesn’t really matter how I feel about God’s word since it is true no matter what. But I decided to answer the question anyway. And to tell the truth, I struggled with my answer. Because there is a part of me that feels very skeptical about this verse. I mean, there are Christians across the globe who are starving, and need food. Christians in jail who need to be released. My lovely young friend who suffers from a debilitating illness and needs to be healed. And very often, I feel like I need a spouse, for my heart’s sake, for my purity’s sake, and for my sanity’s sake. Clearly this verse is talking about need on a different level than I am.
It helps, in some measure, to put things in perspective. I’m not the only person hurting in the world. There are women whose hearts ache because they are unable to have children. There are those who long to serve the Lord in a career of ministry, but have found the doors closed. And there are those truly suffering for our faith all over the world. My lack seems small compared to that. If the Lord allows me to be in need of something I perceive as vital to my life and godliness, there must be something else I need more. If I think I need a husband so that I can be fulfilled emotionally, satisfied sexually, or helped spiritually, and the Lord has not given me a husband, then I must look to the Lord to fill those needs.
But my even with some perspective, my pain and need are still legitimate. So I have to cry to the Lord, “Why do You say ‘no’ to real needs?” And the answer comes back sweeter than I could imagine. “My precious child, there is nothing you need more than Me. I am enough for every need, every desire of your longing heart. And I am able to satisfy your heart more completely than you yet know. Find true joy in Me.”
I admit I don’t have that nailed down yet. It’s true that when I feel the most pain and I choose to turn my heart to the Lord, there is a joy that I can’t explain, though the pain never fully leaves. But I think joy and heartache are not mutually exclusive terms here on earth. That’s why heaven is so wonderful, because there, joy is perfect. Every tear is wiped away and every heartache is extinguished in the beautiful presence of the Lord, where every need is perfectly met forever.