Staying Your Heart Upon Your Trustworthy King
By ANNIE WESCHE
MY PRINCE, MY CASTLE, & MY KING
The train rolled steadily along as I watched droplets of rain gently tap the window beside me. I watched one English town after the next pass by in a blur, feeling a combination of intense apprehension and joyful excitement. After a year of praying, planning, and dreaming, I was finally on my way to Bible college in the breathtaking Lake District of England. It was by far the biggest adventure I’d ever embarked upon in my eighteen years — leaving my family and my comfort zones, and traveling to a whole new country to stay in a real English castle (which had been converted into a Christian training center). And in the midst of all the “newness” I was experiencing, I also harbored a secret hope the hope that maybe, just maybe, I’d meet my future husband in this beautiful land of Jane Austen romances.
Surely God would realize that this was the perfect place for Him to fulfill my lifelong dream of meeting a godly man. Visions of falling in love over daily Bible study assignments and taking long walks on the country lanes that wound around the grounds filled my daydreaming mind. It seemed to me that there was no better time or place for my faithful God to honor all my waiting and finally script out my very own fairy tale.
That was 15 years ago. And I am still single. Obviously, I did not meet my husband in that romantic English castle. But, in those very same spring months in England, God did unfold in my life a love story — one that has become the preeminent romance of my life, reigning far above all other relationships. Soon after the semester started, hope began to wane that any of the men attending the college were the prince I had thought I would meet. Disillusioned and in need of something far greater than a beautiful love story, I walked out one early evening into the pasture beside the castle and found quiet refuge under a restful, giant tree. There and then, I freshly surrendered my life — with all its romantic hopes and dreams — to God.
That day under the restful tree, as the sun set behind the castle and sheep gently grazed in the distance, God once again revealed my rescuing Savior and Bridegroom. My eyes were opened to see Christ more fully than I ever had before — mine. And I saw myself more clearly than ever before — His, entirely. And in the weeks that followed, my heart was changed and romanced by the most beautiful, heroic love of One who had given everything for me. I saw with greater revelation that I was an unworthy sinner, yet He had set me free, paid all my debt, given me His Name, and met each need I had from the resources of His own life. That day in the English countryside, I took His outstretched hand as He led me into the endless frontier of grace-enabled, triumphant living. He asked me to wait longer for my earthly prince, but the King of kings had won my heart with His matchless love. In the knowledge of such a great love and in beholding His supreme worthiness, I realized there was no better place or Person to whom I could — or wanted to — entrust my earthly love story. Could the One who had done the greatest thing for me, fail me in this?
SINGLENESS UNDER SIEGE
Today, we Christian singles face tremendous opposition if we choose to surrender our relationship status to Christ and pursue full satisfaction in Him and a life spent for Him. Daily life inundates us with online dating, Pinterest dream boards, dating apps, #relationshipgoals, and the ease of comparing our lives with everyone else’s through social media. And from the people in our lives we face questions, the challenging of our position, constant match-making (of both the well-meaning and the pressuring sort), and sometimes, outright mocking of our decision to wait upon God.
I am so very grateful to have parents and friends in my life who champion my trust in God to script my love story, but I’ve also experienced from other people the ongoing questions and pressuring that come with being single through my 20’s and now into my 30’s. How can you seriously say you’re “fulfilled” being single? Do you have any way of actually meeting guys? If you don’t date, how will you get to know someone? Don’t you want to be married? It’s not going to happen if you don’t put in a little effort. How have you not been snagged yet? I think your standards are probably just too high. You’re “waiting on God?” … uh, that’s not really how it works.
To the Christ-less world, it makes sense that a romantic relationship would hold top billing on the life-goals list. Sentimental phrases like “You complete me!” have been the ageless declaration of movie-screen heartthrobs. But now even some Christian leaders are putting forth as truth that you’re not complete unless you are married. And to us longing-for-marriage-singles, it can be tempting to buy into this lie. But God’s voice is the one we must listen to — married or single, we will only be complete in Christ.
Let’s pause and settle our hearts for a moment on Colossians 2:6-9 NASB:
“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him … see to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.”
Whether single or married — our ultimate, unshakable fulfillment will only be found in our relationship with Christ. Whether single or married — our call is to follow Jesus and to love Him with all our heart. Whether single or married — we are called to love others with His love. Whether single or married — God wants to make us His hands and feet to this lost, hurting world. Whether single or married — we will face difficulties, trials, and times of loneliness, and He will always be the answer. Whether single or married Christ must have first place in our lives. And whether single or married — our life is not our own, but His.
OUR ULTIMATE, UNSHAKABLE FULFILLMENT WILL ONLY BE FOUND IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.
Marriage is indeed an incredible, beautiful gift, but so is singleness. They both are given by God who is lovingly, intricately, and gloriously purposeful with the lives of His children and with each and every season He leads us through for His Name’s sake.
It’s been fifteen years since my life-changing spring term at Bible college. And it’s been twenty years since I first leaned into the strong arms of Majesty, giving Him all rights to my life and my love story. After these many years of what would be called “waiting,” I trust the Lord with this area more than I ever have. In the place of ongoing trust and surrender of my singleness there grows a spring of deep intimacy with Jesus Christ that is more precious to me than anything.
That said, those same twenty years have not been without moments of loneliness and longing. I have known nights of tearful prayers asking for what I’ve so greatly desired — to be a wife and a mother. I’ve gotten distracted from seeing the gift I have of these single days and what God has lovingly assigned to me in them. I’ve experienced the ache of feeling “alone” and I’ve often asked God why the wait is so long. In the times of struggle, great or small, I run to Jesus. He has never failed to renew my heart and mind in His worthiness and His trustworthiness in this area of singleness. And when I’ve run to Him, He’s been faithful to point out specific snares the enemy uses to distract and deceive my heart, so that I can fortify myself against them and keep my mind stayed on what is true. Here are two of those snares that the Lord has exposed:
Eating Rotten Fruit
Whenever I’ve been tempted towards unhealthy things like daydreaming, lust, discontent, finding myself being drawn to the world, or having doubt in God’s faithfulness, I can always trace it back to where I have allowed the world’s voice an inroad into my life. Hear me, dear sisters, it is not that the world’s definitions of love, romance, and marriage merely pale in comparison to God’s, but that they are directly opposed to God’s definition and pattern. The enemy is a deceiver, and he’s good at it. He will do all he can to woo you towards the world’s message found in these various inroads: Movies that romanticize ungodly relationships, justify impurity, or scoff at the sacred covenant of marriage. Music that encourages selfish thinking or dulls you to profanity. TV shows that laugh at vulgarity, glorify violence, normalize promiscuity, mock purity, and deny our God. Even though I rarely go to the movies, don’t have a TV at home, and don’t buy pop-culture magazines, I still have to vigilantly guard my heart from subtle ways the enemy wants to influence my thinking: TVs at the gym, movies and TV shows friends or family may be watching, magazine covers in the grocery line, or shared posts and videos on my social media feed.
God tells us, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23 NASB). This isn’t a gentle suggestion, but a command from our loving God. And this diligent guarding is a weapon we can wield to deny the enemy’s voice and live in the freedom and joy that come from walking in the truth!
Listening to the world’s messages is like making a meal of rotten fruit. Throw that rotten fruit out of your life! Bag it all up and take it immediately to the dump (I’d suggest looking for the one on the outskirts of town that gets burned each night). Allow God to do a thorough cleaning of your heart and mind. Then light the candle of worship and its aroma will begin to fill your life, driving out the stench (and the lies) that the world left behind.
Neglecting God’s Feast
My dad once told me a story that has continually reminded me of a profound truth. The story is of an Indian child who was told by his grandfather that there was a dog and a wolf at war within his soul: one for good and one for evil. The boy fearfully asked, “Grandfather, which one will win?” And his grandfather replied, “The one that you feed.”
It won’t do for us to only throw out the rotten fruit we’ve been allowing into our lives and cut off those inroads of the world’s messages. Starving alone won’t bring us strength. We must daily come and feast upon the Word of God. And in Him we will not only find strength for life and godliness, but also an increasing joy in the narrow road He has called us to walk.
Remember the priorities contrasted in Mary and Martha? Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Lk. 10:41-42). Busyness and urgent things will tempt you to set aside your daily stillness with Christ and pull you away from being in His Word, but don’t allow anything to crowd out your Savior. He is your life, your strength, your joy! Sit down at Christ’s table and you will begin to feast on things that will truly satisfy your soul.
“For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (Jn. 6:33 ESV).
WITH ALL MY HEART
Are you prepared to entrust your desire to the Lord and trust Him to fulfill it — no matter the desire? If you ever find yourself in a fog of longing or under the pressures of others to make something happen in the area of romance, freshly set your eyes upon your Savior and silence every voice but His. Remind yourself of who He is and what He has done. Can such a redeeming, perfect Love have half our hearts, half our trust, or half our lives? He is wholly trustworthy with your life, including your love life. Lose yourself in glad surrender to Him and turn outward to bring the freedom of salvation and the joy of knowing Jesus to others. Then settle your single soul upon the promises of the One who cannot be anything but faithful.
CAN SUCH A REDEEMING, PERFECT LOVE HAVE HALF OUR HEARTS, HALF OUR TRUST, OR HALF OUR LIVES? HE IS WHOLLY TRUSTWORTHY WITH YOUR LIFE, INCLUDING YOUR LOVE LIFE.
Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 KJV
No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.
Delight yourself in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart
Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26 NASB