Sometimes we make our choice from those around us, and they are not interested. Which has happened on many, many, occasions to me.

At other times those who approach us wear only the mask of “loving the Lord.” It is as easy to blame those who rejected us for being too picky, and we might hurl the same charge at them. Perhaps there is even ignorance or sin involved in the decision to reject us or in our decision to reject others. Sin must always be addressed. However, sometimes no sin is involved—only choice.

At the end of the day, whether married or single what is most important is not who I am with—but who I am. I dare not let those who have rejected me define me. I dare not allow the fact that my advances have been turned back define my idea of how God loves me. This is, tragically, too often the case. Yes, sometimes our “choice” to be single seems made for us. This changes nothing! God loves us!

How to solve the matchmaking issue I DO NOT KNOW! If I get married, I will know only that I have found a person whose passion for Christ inspires ME and whom I am able to inspire in equal fashion. I have never offered advice for finding a mate and may never do so. It remains, to me, ultimately a mystery. I don’t believe there are five or ten steps to finding a mate. Nothing is that simple and least of all this great mystery.

I am concerned about how this time of insecurity and longing can erode our faith. I ponder how the longing for relationships affects THE relationship because, married or not, I want most of all to walk with Him in utter devotion. What concerns me is that this process, and perhaps particularly prolonged singleness, can have a devastating effect on our spiritual lives. This should never be.

What I strive to understand is not how to get married but why the failure to get married should so unearth the foundation of our faith. Is it possible that we have held God hostage to our desires? Is it possible that we have come to expect marriage from God as a right rather than a gift of grace? A right cannot be denied but a gift is freely given. We can be disappointed but should not be destroyed if the gift is delayed—or denied.

I hear often that, “God will not give us a desire He will not fulfill.” What a strange thing to say—especially this side of Eden, this side of Heaven. We have many, many, many, desires that are not to be fulfilled. We would be a debauched, gluttonous, people if we trusted that every desire were to be fulfilled.

The fruit of the Spirit begins with love and is hemmed by self-control. I have always thought this wise. Each Fruit of the Spirit is either formed in keeping with self-control or properly administered through self-control. The desire for marriage is no different. It is both formed in the presence of self-control or it is merely lust. It is best pursued and lived in self-control or it will destroy. God may very well give us a desire and ask us to make a choice along the way. This is not cruel. It is a good God orienting us towards His greater purpose that MAY but need not include marriage.

We have a choice, a freedom in Christ defined for us as, “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial [and] I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). We CAN choose and everyone in the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:39) falls within the “permissible” category. But not everyone falls into the “beneficial” category. It is to our detriment if we lose self-control and are “mastered” by the idea of marriage.

Remember, “not everything is constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23). This is especially true if our purpose and our goal is to see His kingdom come and to see the nations bowed down in praise of the one true God. If we lift our eyes and elevate our goals, then, though we have the freedom to choose “anyone”—not anyone will do.