God understands humanity. He knows that we are so very weak, in spite of our best efforts to be strong. God has showered us with promises that ought to be enough to send us anywhere, to do any job. But the truth is, we don’t. We freeze in fear. Thankfully, God in His mercy doesn’t zap us for our timid resistance. Instead, in His compassion, He dispenses grace beyond what we even thought to ask.

God’s grace is like manna. You remember the small loaves of bread God supplied for the Israelites morning after desert morning. Do you remember how He supplied it? Just what they needed, just for the day. God didn’t let them stockpile manna in the pantry. Every morning, the wanderers awoke to little loaves outside their tents. If they tried to store it up, it rotted. If they didn’t bother to gather any, they went hungry.

God always provides the sustenance to press on through the wilderness. Somehow, in my wilderness experiences, He manages to give grace that lets me take another step. If I look at the miles stretching across the sand, I am engulfed in fear. There is no way I can make it. But if I look at the loaf in front of my foot, I can take the next step. There’s manna for the moment. And there will be manna for tomorrow’s moments, too. When I get there, He’ll provide.

Singles often wander in the wilderness of broken relationships, with fear as their companion. Having been deeply wounded by the rejection of someone they loved, they greatly fear future relationships. It’s hard to even think about getting close to anyone in a dating relationship again. There are no guarantees about how things will turn out, so facing the risks can be a Herculean effort. Fortunately, for those who muster the guts, there are guarantees of grace loaves at their feet.

One of the greatest sources of manna in my life comes from people around me. While everyone needs encouragement, singles especially need people who will walk with them. Regardless of the road – relationships, careers, habits, involvements – as a single adult, I don’t have the built-in support system provided by a spouse. I don’t have a constant someone to recognize the difficulties I face and help me find my way through them. It’s a matter of survival for me to have friends who can lend faithful support and encouragement. Like fearful Moses needed Aaron, I need constant encouragements beside me, friends who see the things that make me afraid and help me move right through them. They are friends who become what Isaiah might call “pools of water” in the desert (Isaiah 41:18).

There was a time in my life when I wasn’t willing to let people walk so closely with me. In fact, when I was in college, I nearly lost a dear friend who was frustrated with my lack of vulnerability. I wouldn’t even let the people closest to me see where I struggled, much less ask for any help.

Somewhere along the way, I learned better. I look around at several key friends now and can only imagine how horrible it would be to walk tough roads without them. They have been “gifts of Aaron” to me when I perhaps would have shrunken back from divine direction. Friends like this don’t lurk behind every corner, but they are worth looking for. They are worth every ounce of vulnerability I can squeeze out, because they are the ones who push me forward when I cower in fear from the risks of relationships, new ventures, and changes.


By Wendy Widder, featured on "FamilyLife Today" and author of "Living Whole without a Better Half" (Kregel Publications, 2003).

The wearer of six bridesmaid dresses, Wendy Widder knows the single life. She also knows the church after spending a lifetime there in both volunteer and paid positions. She believes more than ever that the two go together. Wendy is a graduate of Cedarville University and Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and she is currently working on a doctorate in Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is the author of "Living Whole Without a Better Half" and "A Match Made in Heaven: How Singles and the Church Can Live Happily Ever After."