The “The” That Makes THE Difference

I recently survived another typical holiday season of “Why aren’t you married?” and “This is why you’re not married” conversations.  I am single, yes, but I do hope to be married someday.  Even if it happens later than I would have expected, or not at all.

The reason for being so open ended on the possibility stems from reading Genesis 2:18 recently.  This time through, something new popped out at me  They don’t call it the living word for nothing.

Here the passage from the NIV.

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

For the vast majority of my life I had been confused by this passage.  If marriage is what God wants for us then how come so many people like myself single?  I’d look through scripture and become more confused because after all Jesus was single and God loved Him the most.   Then there’s Paul.  He wrote most of the New Testament and advocated for the benefits of being single, not out of selfishness but for God’s purposes, so that he might be of use in advancing the kingdom.

Then I noticed it.  “It is not good for THE man to be alone.”  God was not talking to all of us guys when He said that.  He was only referring to Adam.  The suitable helper was needed so that God could accomplish His will through both Adam and Eve.  They had to populate the earth and you can’t do that by yourself!  It doesn’t mean that there’s some soul mate out there just waiting for you, or worse, you missed her and you’ll never have another chance.

God accomplishes his will through both single and married people.  Marriages are glimpses of Christ’s relationship with the Church, where as single people have more time to be focused on what God wants to do with them.    There is a common purpose for both the single and the married.  It’s not about just having someone around.  It’s much better.  I should mention that single people need community too.  The apostle Paul was single but he did his ministry with a series of “suitable helpers” who were seasonal. On the other hand, marriage has community built in if you work at it.  As the Church we all need each other.  Married folks can learn from singles as much as singles can learn from married couples.

The desire for marriage is good.  So is the desire to be single and carry out ministry in that way.  One is not better than the other.  If you’re like me and you have that desire for the right reasons but aren’t married yet, we can still accomplish God’s purpose during the single portions of our lives no matter how long they may be.  Marriage is not the end goal in the Christian life.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much we may want it either.  The goal is to do the will of the Father and to live lives that are holy and acceptable to Him.  If that is more fully accomplished in a married state then you will eventually find yourself there.  If God decides that life long singleness is the way to go for another then He will be there to help him through it.  It won’t be easy, and we may not like it all the time but we were bought at a price and belong to Him. We exist to carry out His will here on earth as it is in heaven.  The Lord wants us to be holy.  We can pursue that in either state.

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