Written by Sarah Tso, Singapore
Singleness was never a gift I asked God for. Instead, I have always desired companionship and to start my own family, so the more years I move up in my twenties, the more tempted I am to detest this gift and “exchange” it for the gift of marriage.
However, after reading a book, Experiencing God, by Henry Blackaby and Claude King, which showed me God’s nature and heart for world redemption, it has helped me put my gift of singleness into perspective, and to use this gift as the Lord intends. Though my years of singleness have been a mixture of joy, doubt, and pain, I am learning to embrace this gift by remembering the following truths about my Heavenly Father.
1. God is good—He gives only good gifts.
When I see my friends going out on dates or posting about their engagements or marriages on social media, it is easy for me to envy the exclusive affection that marriage entails, and even fear that I will remain unmarried. When envy and fear creep in, I am tempted to see my gift of singleness more as a curse than a gift, and ask God when my turn is—as if singleness is just a waiting room for marriage.
But in recent years, I have learned that regardless of whether we’re single or married, God can use us powerfully for His glory. As single men, both Jesus and Paul were effective in ministry. And as a married couple, Priscilla and Aquila also were effective in the early church ministry (Acts 18).
Because God is good and loving, He only gives good gifts in line with His loving nature (James 1:17)—and these gifts include both singleness and marriage.
Over time, I have found that putting on a spirit of gratitude protects my heart from envy and fear. When I catch myself tempted with envy, I have made it a habit to immediately give thanks to God for what I do have and all He has done in and through my life. With His help, I am finding it easier to “rejoice with others who rejoice” (Romans 12:15)—recognizing that the Lord has been good not only to me but to those around me.
Knowing that He is the giver of all good gifts helps me embrace my singleness, along with all the other gifts He provides.
2. God wants the best for us—He gives each gift to make us more like Christ.
2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
I believe “everything we need” includes singleness and marriage. Regardless of which season we’re in, God can use them to grow our faith and help us lead a “godly life”—of which Christ is our perfect example.
One moment when my gift of singleness felt particularly stark was during a week-long wait for my final clinical exam results, which would determine my future as a clinical practitioner. Being a single woman and geographically far away from friends and family, I had no one to turn to.
But because of that, I was driven deeper to God—my ever-present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1).
During that time, I came across a devotion where Christ cried out to God in Gethsemane just before He was crucified (Matthew 26:36-46), asking God to take the cup of suffering away from Him, but ultimately declaring, “Yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). After reading this, I chose to follow His example, and I cried out to God in desperation for peace and confidence that my future was in His hands.
3. God is eternal—He gives gifts with our eternity in mind.Knowing I am loved by an infinite, personal, and generous God who knows and holds my future helps me use my God-given resources for kingdom purposes.
As the Apostle Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, singleness allows a person full devotion to God in a way that would be hard for married people (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).
With that in my mind, I ask myself—“Will my season of singleness matter ten billion years from now? Will my time and availability in this season help bring others to Christ in a way that marriage can’t?” Will I let God use my season of singleness in a way that leaves an eternal impact?
Being single has allowed me to plan and participate in multiple outreach efforts which have brought people to Christ. I am also available to help my friends in desperate situations at a moment’s notice—even rushing to meet one with symptoms of depression and preparing my house to accommodate her. My weekends and evenings are available for Bible study and community groups.
Two years ago, my small group and I drafted our life mission statements. Mine was to “write to encourage others, especially young adults.” Knowing my mission gave me purpose and clarity, and I have been using my time and energy as a single woman to say yes to inspirational writing projects that came my way—a book and a worship album—as well as to encourage and invest in the lives of young adults.
Through these opportunities, I am thankful that God has used this time to develop godly character within me and use me in others’ spiritual journeys. As I continue to go about my God-given mission, I pray that He will multiply my efforts to make this season of life truly count for eternity.
Lord God, I thank You that You are good. You know my heart’s desires, and You have the best plan to prepare me for eternity. Thank You for all Your gifts. Whether single or married, please keep me in the center of Your will, close to Your heart, a channel of Your blessing, and a harbinger of Your Gospel. As I carry out Your mission, I pray for help—whether it’s through a life partner, and always through the empowering of Your Spirit and Your church.. I love You, Lord! Amen!