I was late and had run to my college dorm room to grab a book for my next class when the landline phone rang (no cell phones back then). He said his name was “Phil” and he had a couple of tickets to a concert that weekend and did I want to go? When I heard the name of the rock band performing, I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. But I was in a desperate hurry and told Phil to call me back with the details and quickly hung up. As I did, a sinking feeling suddenly hit me.
I had gotten to know a Phil during college registration day, and it was only after hanging up that I realized what I had done. That wasn’t the Phil I knew. He was a different Phil! I had sat next to another Phil at a chapel service the week before, and it was that Phil who called! Horrified, I turned to my roommate standing there and said, “Oh no, I think I’ve just accepted a date with a guy I don’t know.”
Little did I know this blind date would be my forever husband, my prince, and the love of my life. God knew it, and I believe orchestrated my lack of attention to insert Phil Cooke into my life. What’s interesting is that when Phil picked me up for the concert, it wasn’t uncomfortable. I remember feeling like I had known him all my life. He later admitted the same and how comfortable he was with taking a girl out he didn’t know for the first time because it was something he’d never done before.
We often hear the quote, “It’s a marriage made in heaven,” but do we believe that it’s possible?
Can you trust that God has the perfect match picked out for you? Can you lay hold of the fact that God’s choices are ideal? My mom had told me throughout my life that she was praying for my future husband – my ideal life, whatever that would be. She wanted me to have God’s first choice. Mom instilled in me that God’s plan for my life was the one I needed to pursue, and as the Bible said when we seek the Kingdom first, our desires would be given to us (Matthew 6:33). It was a secure confidence I clung onto as I walked the dating tight rope.
Recently, I had lunch with a smart and successful woman in her 40s. I told her that most women who attend Influence Women Hollywood events were single. She cringed and then looked at me and said, “I hate that word ‘single. It’s like a dagger stabbing me in the back, telling me I’m a failure and that there’s something wrong with me.” She went on to say that she’d found contentment, as Paul did in scripture, but most people only saw failure because she still hadn’t married. She said, “I’m happy and have a fulfilling life, however, admittedly, I am still human. I still come home to an empty house, and it can feel lonely. Does it get to me? Sometimes. Would I love to have that prince sweep me away on his white horse? Of course, I would. But I can’t live my life in desperation for that dream, and there’s no guarantee that a man will bring me happiness and contentment. God’s got me where I am, and He continues to fill my life with purpose and meaning. Just don’t label me single. Label me a daughter of the King, happily living in His court.”
How can you find contentment?
Stop looking around, and start looking up and staying filled up with God’s miraculous love and contentment.
It’s easy to see others with what seems to be happy marriages and relationships, but God wants us to see Him first. He wants the best for us – single or married. And it may not be married to someone on this earth but to Him. It might be that your best, most contented life is one that is caught up and filled up with the work that God has called you into. Like the apostle Paul, that work will bring you joy and fulfillment, even if it doesn’t appear to be ideal in the eyes of the world. God calls us to seek what is ideal in His eyes and be committed to Him first and foremost, no matter where we are at or what we are currently doing.
Remember, you live in the courtyard of the King, and He has riches untold.
I recently spoke at a growing church of 20-to-40-year-olds in Milan, Italy, being pastored by a single woman. The church has 20 church plant locations, and she is constantly traveling to visit them throughout the week. The churches are vibrant, and have a huge media outreach with thriving, active congregations. She talked about her singleness with me and said that she fully embraces it because if she were married, her time and attention would be divided. A married life would keep her from fulfilling God’s direction and calling for her life. She is one of the most joyous, prosperous, and contented women I have ever met because she sees others come to know her bridegroom – Jesus. She feels that if she would have gotten married, it would have taken her away from her true joy.
God doesn’t want us to let go of the “desires of our heart.”
Wanting a “match made in heaven” is part of what God has instilled in all of us. But it has to be a match with Him first. The Bible talks about the Church as His “bride” and that God is our “bridegroom.” Our creator gave us the desire to know Him for a reason. He wants us to be His first love. Thanksgiving gatherings, office Christmas parties, and friends’ weddings may be coming around again soon, but don’t let the lies of the deceiver cause you to get depressed or sink into loneliness. Don’t ever stop hoping for an earthly mate if that’s the desire of your heart, but also know that God is your ultimate and eternal soulmate. Never forget His loving presence is with you always, even when the house seems empty at the end of the day.
Who could ever wrap their minds around the riches of God, the depth of his wisdom, and the marvel of his perfect knowledge? Who could ever explain the wonder of his decisions or search out the mysterious way he carries out his plans? Romans 11:33.