The Weight of Singleness Part II: Goodness, Love, and Contentment

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Goodness

We’ve all heard the saying “God is good, all the time.” Many times, it is said during a moment of celebration and triumph. It is not as often used when someone close to you is diagnosed with cancer, or when a family member loses their job. These situations make it feel like God is good MOST of the time but definitely not ALL of the time. But if that were the case, then God would not be God and He would definitely not be good. Because if God is not good all the time, He is not good any of the time. God’s goodness is a vital part of who He is. It is not only a characteristic He has vowed to live by, it is the very essence of His being. God and goodness cannot be separated. Where God goes, goodness goes and where goodness goes, God goes.

“God is good, all the time.” Over the past few years, I have become more aware of the word “all” in this phrase. All… Every millisecond of my life – past, present, and future – God has been good, is still good, and will always be good. No matter what.

When I am weak, God is good. When I am strong, God is good.

When I am lazy, God is good. When I am productive, God is good.

When I am broken, God is good. When I am whole, God is good.

When I am hungry, God is good. When I am full, God is good.

When I feel hurt and rejected, God is good. When I feel loved and cherished, God is good.

If I (somehow) get married in the next two years, God is good and if I never get married, God is still good.

No matter how I feel or where I’m at, God is still good.

Even when I think that God may not be good, God is still good.

God’s goodness is not contingent upon His love for me. If He did not love me, God would still be good… But in His goodness, God has CHOSEN to love me.

Love

During this season of singleness, I have come to recognize God’s love for me in many different ways. Through fellowship with other believers, the simplicity of quiet time in the mornings, and the way that the sun sets over my family’s pasture I see glimpses not only of God Himself but of His love for me and the rest of His creation. Oftentimes, I am so captivated by the Lord that I lose my breath and am at a loss for words.

God’s love is absolutely unimaginable. No matter how hard we try, we could never even begin to fathom the love that the Father has for us.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:38-39, CSB).

Not a thing in this world (or the next) will make the Lord stop loving you. God’s love is like His goodness, it is a part of His divine make-up. He doesn’t go anywhere without it. Like layers of skin, God’s love and goodness hold together all that He is. Without these two parts, God would be just like the rest of us but because His love and goodness are holy by nature, He is far greater and far better than any person on this earth.

Just like goodness, love has started to obtain an inaccurate definition in today’s society. It’s actually not just one inaccurate definition, it is many inaccurate definitions. Love has been a catch-phrase of sorts rather than a meaningful word that actually carries weight for the ears that hear it. The word “love” has lost a lot of its power due to being overused and under-utilized. As humans, we can no longer grasp the significance of what the Bible means when it says “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!” (Ephesians 2:4-5) or “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life,” (John 3:16). What splendor is lost in these verses when we can only think of “love” as a shallow, ambiguous term. God has proven His deep, immeasurable love for us by giving us His Son as a Savior that conquered sin and death so that we may know God and live forever in His Kingdom.

The gift of eternal life and a restored relationship with the Father gives us a greater understanding of God’s love and His goodness.

I have recently learned of another way that God has shown His love and goodness toward me: contentment.

Contentment

It’s an amazing thing to find yourself completely content in Yahweh Yireh – the God who Provides. Resting in the fact that He alone can satisfy my most anticipated desires enables me to have a deeper understanding of and longing for His Word and, ultimately, Him. When I put my trust in the God who knows what’s best for me, there is nothing I will miss out on. Philippians tells me that I don’t have to be anxious about anything because I’ve continually taken my worries to the Lord and He has given me the peace that passes understanding, (4:6). {Notice I did not say “He gives me what I pray for” but that’s for a different day.}

I used to hear the word “content” thrown around a lot to apply to certain situations in peoples’ lives. “Oh, you should be content with a 3.5 GPA!”… “You just need to be content while you are still single.”… “Once you become content with your current situation, you will get the [job, guy, house, etc.] that the Lord wants for you.” I don’t have a major problem with these too-often used phrases. I do, however, have a problem with the assumption here. The assumption is that our situations are what makes us discontent or content but, as a believer, I would have to disagree.

If I’m being honest, I don’t think I’ll ever find contentment in my singleness. I don’t want to be single. Period. I don’t like it, it hasn’t been good for me, I want out. BUT my singleness has been marked by a contentment that can be found in Christ alone. Just like the peace that passes understanding, I will find myself completely enthralled by the Lord too much to even care about my current situation.

I like to think that Paul was in this state of mind when he penned Philippians while imprisoned in Rome. He had a longing to go to the church in Philippi but his imprisonment kept him from leaving the house. After the Philippians had displayed how much they cared for Paul and his ministry, though they sent no material gift, Paul writes:

“… I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. I know both how to make do with little and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me,” (4:11-13).

Paul knew that only Jesus could give satisfaction during times of uncertainty. He was aware that his situation was rough but did not make excuses for losing hope in what Christ was capable of doing. Paul clung to the truth and was content while he was imprisoned. Notice I said while he was imprisoned… not in his imprisonment. Paul makes it clear that Christ is the root of contentment, not the circumstance he was in.

If we cling to Him, we will be content through and in spite of whatever circumstance we face. If we find our satisfaction in the Lord, we will never be let down. Surrender your desires to Him. He can see our future; we can’t. Jesus needs to be enough for us in ALL seasons of life.

All the Above

Through God’s love and goodness, He has gifted me with contentment. I could never be content on my own. If I did not know the love and goodness of God, I would constantly be trying to scratch and claw for the things that I want with no regard to who I was hurting or who I was becoming on my path to proverbial “success”.

But glory be to God that I no longer have to live like that. I can rest in the promises of my Lord and know that His plan for me is greater than anything I could choose for myself. My life is to be lived in pursuit of the One who gave His life to save mine. Contentment is founded and grounded in Christ alone.

Grace and peace,

Bethany

One thought on “The Weight of Singleness Part II: Goodness, Love, and Contentment

  1. Pingback: The Weight of Singleness Part III: Praying While You Wait – lightwalk

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