Last Saturday I enjoyed the Wilburn family tradition of going out for my birthday and playing a game my brother calls “who can remember an embarrassing story about John” like every other year we all ended up laughing so hard tears came out of our eyes. This time was a bit different though since I turned 40 and in His sovereignty of God has called me to a life of celibacy or virgnity.
Being in a culture where people use one another to fulfill their own desires, and marriage is looked upon as a source of happiness you won’t find many single people in their forties. A single virgin in their forties should probably belong in a museum somewhere! Honestly you know people find your situation strange when a movie uses it as a punchline like “the forty year old virgin” and no I haven’t seen the movie it would just make me sad 🙂
Though there are challenges with being a forty year old virgin I accept it as God’s Will and He gives me strength. This wasn’t always true because being single seemed like a curse in my twenties, particularly since all of my friends were in serious relationships or getting married. More than once I asked God why He chose me for this “burden of singleness” in my younger years but never really expected an answer.
Thankfully God gave me one anyways
It’s easy for a married couple to stand up and tell people their relationships (dating and marriage) are to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church, so instead of selfishly using one another for our own purposes we should minister to one another’s needs. But the single person can stand up and say “that’s easy for you to say as a married person you don’t know how I feel!”
That’s the thing…I know how they feel
I’ve walked their road, and am still walking it with God’s help
A few months ago I began teaching on relationships in my Churches Friday evening young adults meeting. One of the foundational points was you shouldn’t date anyone unless they’re someone you feel led to marry. In other words there was a pre-dating process where you learned about the person in a group setting. Only after they passed certain prerequisites was the dating process begun…we eventually started referring to this as opening the gate
About the fourth session I told them about a young lady named Tina who I was madly in love with (not her real name, I’ll tell it to you for a million dollars in unmarked bills). She was an absolutely perfect fit for me with one exception…Tina wasn’t called to missions. One young man in particular was shocked after learning we didn’t go on a date. “You didn’t open the gate for her?” He asked “she may have been willing to become a missionary!”
I explained to him that there was a chance Tina would become a missionary, but personal experience had taught me those kinds of commitments don’t last. In a deeper sense it’s my belief Tina was God’s Will for another man so I didn’t open the gate.
Please understand I don’t share this for sympathy or matching-making (I’ve got plenty of that trust me!) Instead I share it because there are many others who God’s called to virginity and singleness.
People who won’t open the gate (even if they REALLY want to) except for the right person
People who find their identity and fulfillment in Christ instead of the self-esteem or intimacy of others
People who know how it feels…and can share with younger singles not only the struggles but God’s grace
They day may come when God opens the door for marriage, but if He doesn’t that’s okay. Because the world needs to see Believers who walk the road of virginity with submission and courage.