Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Singleness Thought of the Week: Is the Single Life a Wasted Life?

Recently, while I was on Facebook, I decided to do a little stealth research on some old high school and college friends I lost contact with years ago.  Nearly all had married and almost every one of them had children.  After seeing page after page of wedding pictures, school portraits, and family vacation photos……and especially after finding out that two children born to my college friends had recently gotten married themselves……I became thoroughly depressed.  Facebook often has that effect on me.

Reflecting on my life so far, all I could think about were all the things I hadn’t done.  I’ve never married and I’ve never had children.  I don’t have albums full of wedding pictures to show anyone, pictures of me gazing at my newborn child in the hospital, snapshots of my kids in school plays, or photos of the family rafting on rapids.  I felt like I hadn’t done anything noteworthy at all.  Like a complete failure.  Like my life had been a big waste.

Immediately, I thought of a quote from John Piper that I read in his book, Don’t Waste Your Life.  The quote is as follows:

“In April 2000, Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards were killed in Cameroon, West Africa. Ruby was over eighty. Single all her life, she poured it out for one great thing: to make Jesus Christ known among the unreached, the poor, and the sick. Laura was a widow, a medical doctor, pushing eighty years old, and serving at Ruby’s side in Cameroon. The brakes failed, the car went over a cliff, and they were both killed instantly. I asked my congregation: Was that a tragedy? Two lives, driven by one great passion, namely, to be spent in unheralded service to the perishing poor for the glory of Jesus Christ—even two decades after most of their American counterparts had retired to throw away their lives on trifles. No, that is not a tragedy. That is a glory. These lives were not wasted. And these lives were not lost. ‘Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it’ (Mark 8:35).”

That quote snapped me out of my despondency.  It is so tempting at times to view our lives through worldly lenses; to look to others (a boyfriend, husband, or children) to point to us and tell the world, “This person is valuable because she is my girlfriend…….my wife……..my daughter-in-law……my mother.”  Those are precious gifts from God, wonderful relationships to have, but they do not, in and of themselves, give us value.

I have value and my life is not wasted because I am doubly-owned.  God both created me and redeemed me from sin, purchasing me with the precious blood of His Son.  My life as a single, childless woman brings Him glory because it is what He planned for me (Ephesians 2:10).  It is the same for you, single woman, if you are a child of God.  If we live our lives to make Christ fully known to this dark world, be it by our purity in singleness, our encouragement to our brothers and sisters in Christ, our faithful service at work, our gospel witness to friends and neighbors,…..in whatever way we can display the truth of the gospel in our lives….we can know that we have infinite value.  Our lives cannot possibly be a waste.

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