What to do, what to do? Saturday 14th February is looming large on the calendar. Option 1: Stay in, make a large bowl of pasta, watch Bridget Jones Diary (again). Option 2: Organise GIRLS NIGHT OUT. In your face, romance! Option 3: Sign up for e:harmony in a fit of desperation. Cancel subscription after 10 minutes (cringe cringe cringe!).
How should a single person deal with the barrage of hearts, flowers and romance that we’ll be surrounded by for the next week or so? Are we doomed to feel morose and alone just because everyone else is out on a date, and we’re not?
Let me suggest Option 4: Celebrate.
That’s right. Celebrate. I don’t mean send an anonymous card to your secret crush. I do mean get on board with what God says in the Bible about marriage. And God says that marriage is a good thing for everyone because it points to something even better. Paul spells it out for us in his letter to the Ephesians:
'This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.' Ephesians 5:32
The point is simple: Marriage is a picture that points to a heavenly reality: Christ and his church. So when we see romance and relationships being celebrated all around us, we can celebrate too. That’s because, as Christians, we’ve got the inside track on marriage. We know the truth; it’s a signpost to something better. It points us to Jesus and the relationship he has with us, his people.
This isn’t intended to be a glib brushing off of the issue. Singleness can bring with it real suffering; loneliness, disappointment, and anxiety aren’t light emotions that can be dismissed with the wave of a magic Bible verse.
However, God promises that His word changes us; as we listen to what he says, and believe it, we’re being conformed into the image of His Son, Jesus.
So, it’s worth spending time prayerfully meditating on what the Bible says about marriage and the Gospel; it helps us to see things the way that God does. We can genuinely rejoice with those who are rejoicing. We can pray that God would raise up lots of gospel-centred marriages in our church family, even if that prayer isn’t answered for us as an individual (This is something I try to pray on a regular basis).
Ultimately it helps us to look forward to weddings, engagement parties and Valentine’s Day as pictures of the eternal, and more substantial reality that God has offered us in His Son. An eternal marriage, perfect and everlasting, between God and His people.
'…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.' Isaiah 62:5
Happy Valentine’s Day. xx