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The book of Ruth in the Bible is typically thought of as a love story – a picture of how God can restore a husband to a widowed woman, and give a wife to a deserving godly bachelor.
Though true, this book also offers great truth for those in the singleness journey in their current season of life.
Single but with hope is what we see in the first chapter of Ruth. First we see Naomi who is an older single woman, the mother in law of Ruth, who has lost everything. Not only did she lose her husband, she also lost her two sons. Thus she is single and without hope because she has no male heir to secure her estate, and to provide for her. Without a benefactor, it meant certain destitution in the ancient world. Next we see Ruth, who is considered to be still of married age, and there is no one remotely in sight. Further, she was a foreigner and young widow and in many respects was considered damaged good and an untouchable. She too was seemingly without hope of a mate and a patriarch.
Some of you may be like Naomi, in such a stage of life, where you are older, and you find yourself single. You may be asking like Naomi what did I do to deserve this? In fact, she asked that her name be changed from Naomi (meaning sweet or delight) to Mara (or bitter), because she had lost so much, and life was far from pleasant. Others may identify better with Ruth pending your stage of life. Regardless, you may be thinking of all that you have lost, or what doesn’t belong to you. Can I tell you something? God doesn’t want your single season to be about what you have lost (or what you don’t have). But yet so often, the single person cannot help but to look at those who have a partner, and indeed see themselves as somewhat less than complete.
However, in the kingdom of God, that is so far from the truth. Christ wants you to take advantage of your singleness, and see it as an incredible season of your life that you may never get back and thus needs to be cherished. Let me explain with a couple of reasons.
Firstly, being single is a time when you can exclusively devote yourself to serving God. I believe one of the reasons why some view this season as a time of loss is because they truly have not seen God as enough. Yet God wants to be our partner though always, but particularly in this time of singleness. A single person being undivided in loyalties to a person, can focus exclusively on their relationship with God. There is no one to worry about their perspective but God, no one to try to please but God, no one to cater to but God, its all God.
One of my prayer heroes in the Bible is Prophetess Anna. This lady had been widowed for decades, and in fact she was now in her eighties. Yet she wasn’t home and in despair, she was actively serving and impacting the kingdom of God, unhindered by the many duties and responsibilities that surely a woman in that day would be saddled with. Secondly, it’s a time for you to work on yourself. I am still old fashioned in that I believe in the inerrancy of scripture. Thus I believe that the scripture “he who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord” speaks volumes to the single people. See, the Lord is the ultimate match maker, and that when you find that spouse, it is him that blesses it.
This tells me that if you haven’t found a wife or a husband, it’s simply NOT because you haven’t made yourself available, or gone to enough singles events, it just simply because the Lord hasn’t released that blessing yet.
So then what do you do in the mean time? You want to continue to work on yourself to be the “good thing” that God calls you to be. Working on yourself could mean different things for different people. For some, it’s learning to be responsible and independent, for others it’s becoming financially, emotionally or spiritually healthy. As you continue to pursue God and fellowship in the community he has called you to, God will show you how to prepare yourself.
I know many feel they have gone through all the preparation and the big question “when” looms over them. Honestly, I can’t tell you how long it takes for a person to be ready, this is up to God. If he has given you that desire to marry, and the opportunity hasn’t presented itself, then the greatest development you can do is simply to trust him. Ultimately for everyone it’s learning to wait on the perfect timing of God, which is out of our control.
As conclude, I want to share a scripture and a prayer
because you know that the testing of your faith produces [patience or] perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:3-4)
May God hold you in his loving embrace, steady, firm and secure, as you continue to pursue him. Amen.
– Pastor Olu Jegede