When Steve was dying, he said, “You will fly so free.”
But I am flying solo, and the Lord has led me to stay solo for the rest of my earthly days. I remember talking about this with my then six-year-old grandson, Simeon.
After Steve died, I bought my first car by myself: a silver Honda Accord. Simeon ran his hand dreamily over the shiny silver door before he got in. He buckled up next to me, breathed in the new car smell, and looked at me with shining eyes: “Grandma, I think you should name your car The Silver Bullet.”
“That’s a great idea, Simeon – but I’ve already named it The Grey Goose.”
His little shoulders drooped. “But why?”
I pondered how to explain this to a six-year-old.
“The grey goose is monogamous, Simeon. That means, if a male grey goose dies, the female he loved flies on alone for the rest of her life. That’s what I am going to do, Simeon. Now that I’m alone, I am going to fly on solo for the rest of my earthly life.”
That precious little boy looked up at me with wide blue eyes and said: “You’re not alone, Grandma. You have us!” I melted and hugged him.
I also thought, I’m not alone. God is real and I experience His presence daily.
It is a much bigger SACRIFICE to remain single when you have never married or had children. Yet a young single, with health, strength, and years could make an eternal difference in a way that those who marry and have children may not. God sees that choice, and blesses a hundred-fold, when it is done for the Kingdom. I think of Amy Carmichael and others like her.
Still, it is wrong, Paul tells us to forbid marriage. Instead, each of us needs to seek the Lord concerning if we have “the gift” or not. Scripture is clear that if you cannot control your sexual desire and are burning with passion, you should marry. I know some of you are thinking, “I don’t have the gift, but neither has God given me a godly man.” All I can say is the same thing that I say to women who are struggling with barrenness: “Ask God to either give you the desire of your heart, or to change it.” For me, Steve and the Spirit of God told me the same thing: remain single. When I number my days according to Psalm 90, I don’t have many good years left — and I want to use them as wisely as I can. For me the Lord has shown me I can do that better without caring for a husband or even a dog!
Though I miss Steve every day, and he will have been gone for ten years this Thursday, I know he was wise to advise me to remain single. I am freer to concentrate on ministry, and though there are lonely times and times when I simply wish I had the help of a man, God has met me with the kindness of a son-in-law or male friend so often.
Recently this decision was confirmed again through a 8 minute teaching video by Dr. Ellen F. Davis on Psalm 126. (She is the scholar whose teachings on the Song of Songs have been so illuminating to me.) There is, no doubt, a sacrifice in remaining single, but it is also a sacrifice that when well sown will lead to rejoicing as you bring home a harvest of sheaves. If you are married, please do this lesson for it will be relevant to you too — to minister to singles, and because, one day, most women will be single for a time.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY
Prepare your heart with this song on Psalm 126:
WATCH THE FOLLOWING VIDEO FROM ELLEN F. DAVIS — IT TAKES A MOMENT FOR THE VIDEO TO COME UP.
2. What notes and comments do you have from the video?
3. Read Psalm 126
A. Israel is in a time of suffering, but they are remembering another time (we cannot be sure what it was) when life was so good. Describe that time and how they felt according to verses 1-3.
B. What request do they make in verse 4? What do you think this means?
C What picture is given in verses 5-7? What insight did Ellen F. Davis bring to this?
The application I want to make (though there are many applications, for I believe every death to self for the Lord leads to a resurrection) is to singleness. It is a sacrifice. There will be lonely times, there will be times when you know two would be better than one, yet if you choose to remain single in order to be freer to serve the Lord, God could do a mighty work in your life. Keller is going to preach on the most famous passage on singleness, but let us look at it first. (It’s amazing.) Whether you are single or married, this lesson is important.
There was a time when believers read the following passage and assumed Paul thought Jesus was coming back very soon, but then said, “But Paul was wrong.” But that is not what he is saying. Instead, he is contrasting the length of this earthly life with the length of eternity.
5. Read 1 Corinthians 7:25-35.
A. What does Paul say in verses 25-28?
B. Now, in verses 29-31 he explains his “upside-down” (in contrast to the world) thinking. This is important. See if you can understand what he is saying and summarize it. (It reminds me a bit of the line at the end of The Lord of the Rings: “You mean everything sad will be untrue?)
C. Why is it a gift to be single, according to verses 32-35? If you are single, have you experienced this in working for the Kingdom?
6. Consider, if you are single now, how you might apply this. Also, if you become single, through death or divorce, why should you seek the Lord concerning this?
7. Whatever state you are in, what sacrifice might God be calling you to make, which may involve weeping, but will lead to bringing home sheaves of joy?
Thursday-Friday: Keller Video and optional look at Amy Carmichael
Watch this 30 minute free video:
8. What comments do you have on that above?
One single woman who’s legacy lives on is Amy Carmichael. As a young woman, God called her to be single, asking her:”Am I not enough?” In Candles in the Dark she writes:
It was a long time before I could honestly answer, “Yes, You alone are enough
for me.” I remember the turmoil of soul I experienced before committing myself
to follow Him on whatever path He would lead—remember as if it were yesterday.
But at last—oh, the rest that came to me when I lifted my head and followed!
For in acceptance there lies peace.
Amy Carmichael, Candles in the Dark
Elisabeth Elliot writes her biography in “A Chance to Die.” The parting scene she describes between Amy and the one who was like a father to her, whom she called “”Dear Old Man,” broke my heart. As her ship headed to India, she waved to him, knowing she would not see him on earth again. Yet I know today they are re-united. He was her sole financial supporter — and how together they are “bringing in the sheaves rejoicing.” Watch this video narrated by Elisabeth Elliot and share your notes and comments:
9. What is your take-a-way and why?