This posting is somewhat of a response posting but not really. The other day, a friend of mine posted on her blog regarding contentment. In relation to that, she made the point of being content in the Lord alone. Here I stand very much with her! We are to remain content in all things, as Paul says in Philippians 4:11b-13,
“for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
But, it did ring a bell in me. I’ll open up a little bit. I’m a single Dad, and one of the greatest pains in my life is vacancy in my and my children’s lives of a wife/mother. It is something I have brought before God several times. As I consider that desire within me to see that place filled (pardon my candor, but I don’t know how to say this in this context without it sounding a little sterile), I am more interested in serving my God, the Almighty Creator of all things. But does this desire make me less content with God? This has been the question I have been wrestling with after my friend’s post; to be fair, she did not leave this question out of her post. Rather, her post was on a different topic and this one spun up in my mind!
I begin with the question, is it wrong to desire a wife? As Julie Andrews might say, “Let’s start the very beginning, a very good place to start…” 😉 Genesis 2:18,
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’”
Shortly after God has completed creating man, has commissioned what man can and cannot do, and before He declares that day’s work as “good” (note that God declares the creation “good” after He has created both male AND female genders), He makes a statement that it is not good for man to be ALONE! Does this necessarily mean a wife? No, but in the context, it certainly sells itself that way. After all, what is God’s solution? He makes man a friend… Oh! No. He makes a woman for man! Va-va-voom! =)
“But Ben, this was the first of mankind! You can’t use this as your entire basis!”
Yes and no. I can use this as the basis to say that my desire for a wife is not inappropriate. It is not wrong. The better assertion is the question: where does this leave us? Am I to burn in my desire for a wife? In short, NO!
Let’s take a look at Ecclesiastes 4:9-12,
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”
You see, loneliness does not have to be resolved by friendship with the opposite gender, and, I think any reasonable person will agree, it should NOT be resolved exclusively that way. Men need to befriend men, and women need to befriend other women. Older men and women need to befriend younger men and women to help those young men grow up in the Lord. Younger men and women need to befriend older men and women to have that same mentorship in the Lord. Therefore, each man and woman should have friends older, equal to, and younger than themselves for good balance and proper growth in the Kingdom of Christ; older teaching the younger and the peers encouraging all along.
Some will now even go so far as to cite 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul makes the case that, if you can, then you should not get married! To these I say, fair enough! Paul argues in this passage (which I’m not quoting here for brevity-sake) that we are to do what will make us the most free to serve God! In many cases, this means people should stay single. However, Paul makes a point that it is, as I said above, about being the most free to serve God.
Has God put marriage on your heart? Has God put singleness on your heart? Are you willing to submit either one before Him? Are you willing to lay down your desire for His best?
For me, I can honestly say yes! I know that within myself, I am willing to, and daily do, lay down my desire for a wife and a step-mother for my children in favor of His best and whatever He wants to do in my life. After all, everything that I do ripples out to others. Perhaps, if I were to take a wife, others in my life would be negatively affected by that. Perhaps, if my children were to have a step-mother, some work God is affecting in their lives would be thwarted! And, perhaps it is simply that God wants me to learn to trust Him above anything else in this world! And, frankly, it could be none of these!
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
– Matt 19:26 –