A few years ago someone said the words I most needed to hear as a single woman. Ironically, it was another single woman who uttered these words — a bit of wisdom gleaned from her mother, I suspect. If I could tell her now, I would let my friend know how much her simple reply comforted my heart, and how many times it has anchored me when I despaired of ever finding “the one.” They are words I want you to hear too.

Having just passed the time of year that privately makes every “searching single” wince — Valentine’s Day — it was a relief when the words from this long-ago conversation floated back to me, as relevant as the day they were spoken.

My friend Heather had pulled me aside after our church’s midweek worship band rehearsal that night. The sparkle in her dark brown eyes reflected the joy of a newfound love in her own life — a relationship that indeed turned out to be “the one” two years later.

“So how’s everything going with Joe?” she asked, eager to hear the latest developments of my on-again off-again relationship with a guy from church. I almost felt guilty when my disappointing answer stole the smile from her face. Things were definitely not so good, I told her, and it looked like Joe and I were headed for a dead end.

Before I could stop myself I lapsed into that despairing mode all searching singles are familiar with. I call it the “Why Has God Forgotten Me?” syndrome (you might also call it a pity party). When everyone around you seems to be coupled off or at long last meeting the man or woman of their dreams, you soldier on alone. You purchase your meals-for-one at the grocery store and wonder: Has God forgotten my address?

Sighing, I told Heather, “It’s okay. I know God has someone special out there for me. I just wish I could find him.”

My friend looked at me intently and shook her head. “No, Angie, he’ll find you.” My puzzled look must have told her the words needed repeating: “The right man will find you.”

The words sank into my spirit as Heather continued. “Remember? The Bible says he who finds a wife finds a good thing…it’s the man’s job to find you. You just have to wait.” She rambled on in this vein for a few minutes, but all my mind could register was an overwhelming sense of relief. The pressure was off; the search was over.

If you’re a single guy reading these words right now, you may be thinking, "Great! So shove the burden onto our shoulders!" But believe me when I say this arrangement is not the female gender’s idea — everything within us seems bent on trying to make things happen. We work ourselves into a frenzy trying to go here, be there, attend all the right functions, search online, and discreetly ask our friends for blind-date setups. But I have a hunch this is not what God intended for our single-woman status to look like. In allowing men to be the hunters — the ones who do the searching and finding — He must have a perfect design up His sleeve.

Even though my friend’s words comforted me the night I first heard them, the passage of time has a wearing-down effect. Sometimes the rest and peace inherent in those words get lost in the worry that time is running out. I find myself in search mode again, wondering of every passable guy I meet, “Could he be the one?”

In her classic book "Passion and Purity," Elisabeth Eliot talks about this rather unpopular notion of waiting — of being a single woman not intent on finding Mr. Right but allowing God to bring him to you. The Bible is replete with examples of this pattern: When the time was right, God “brought” Eve to Adam; Abraham’s servant went out and found a wife for Isaac; Jacob, traveling to a distant land, found the girl of his dreams in Rachel. But note this: All of them were going about the business of doing the work God had for them to do.

A few months ago I read a passage in a book that brought Heather’s words back to me. In the (true) story, a father asks his young teenage daughter if she ever worries about who she will marry and whether she is even interested in boys.

The daughter laughs and says, “Oh, Daddy, you and I both know God has a special guy out there for me, and when the time comes He’ll bring him along.”

Once again, those words of quiet assurance stopped me in my tracks. "Lord, give me faith like that young girl," I thought.

We have no divine guarantee that a longing for something ensures ultimate satisfaction, but at least now I know (and keep reminding myself) that as a single woman, if God does have one special man waiting for me, it’s not my job to find him. He’ll find me.


A. J. Kiesling is the author of "Jaded: Hope for Believers Who Have Given Up on Church But Not on God" (Baker). She welcomes your thoughts and comments. Feel free to write her at jaded0351@yahoo.com. For more information about "Jaded," visit her online pressroom.
Copyright 2005 by A.J. Kiesling