Recently, I came across an interview from a year ago with Grammy-nominated Christian artist, Kari Jobe. For those of you who may not know who she is, she is a very well-known Christian worship singer. In this interview she was asked about being a single young woman and a Christian and how she walks that out. “
He’s had me wait. I’m in my thirties now because His timings perfect,” Kari stated. The interviewer responds, “Is it hard? Is it frustrating to be like, ‘I’m thirty and this was not the plan? I was supposed to be married at twenty-four and I was supposed to have three kids by now.” Kari replies, “I think God is really faithful in knowing what He’s called us to. I don’t know that I would be doing what I’m doing right now, you know it would look different so there’s a grace for what I’ve been doing and I’ll be excited when God brings that next phase of my life.”
Those words were so profound. This is a woman of God who is sharing her gift of worshipping the Lord across the world and yet at the age of 32 (my same age at the time of this interview) she was still a single woman. Those words she spoke caused me to examine the reasons that God may be deferring marriage for myself and many of you beautiful single ladies.
Defer: put off (an action or event) to a later time; postpone.
Why does God defer marriage?
- To pursue our God given purpose outside of marriage. If you were married right now would you be able to fulfill what God has called you to do? Would we have the time, the energy or the focus?
“If you’re single, and you want to know who to marry, run as hard and as fast toward Jesus as you can and if, out of the corner of your eye, you see somebody running in the same direction, take a second look.” —Pastor Tommy Nelson
- There may be things that God wants to accomplish in you outside of marriage first. We need to see the ministry of being single as a purpose not a punishment. It is a privilege to be used by God, even outside of marriage.
- So we may be fully healed and "whole." We are not yet fully prepared for the ministry of marriage if we are not whole ourselves. If we are not healed ourselves or devoted to God first than we will not be devoted to our marriages. One is necessary before the second. Forgiveness, mercy, grace, trust, love, commitment, loyalty, compassion, patience, gentleness and perseverance must be developed within us prior to marriage.
"All too often, people marry before acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to take care of their mates: to meet their emotional, mental, and physical needs. One of the ironies in our society is that a person has to have four years of training to receive a plumber’s license, but absolutely no training is required for a marriage license. Our educational system doesn’t even require communication courses basic to the meaningful development of any relationship." —Dr. Gary Smalley
- To learn to fully trust and lean on God first. The only real way we will learn to trust God is by having and watching Him work in our lives on a daily basis. If we were to just get what we want or ask for every time we asked for something, God would be a genie and not a Father and Savior that died at the cross for our sins. We would not trust Him, we would be demanding from Him, and honestly, we would not need Him if we got whatever we wanted all the time. God shows us every time He shows up, that we need Him and that without Him our lives turn into empty shells of just existence. Trust in God is the foundation that our lives are built on. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11 NIV).
- So that we may grasp what marriage is really about, not what we have fantasied it to be. So many of us our longing to get married and it seems as if that is starting younger and younger. Why? It seems as though we are all in a rush for a commitment that I am not even sure many of us are entirely ready for until later in life. The older I get the more I realize how much of a commitment and sacrifice marriage truly is. For so many years my eyes were only fixated on the dreamy images of what marriage looked like. I am convinced now that if God would have allowed me to get married years ago, I would be divorced by now. Praise God for His wisdom and deferment!
"Marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God. When you consider marriage in these terms, you may wonder how two relatively immature individuals can make such an awesome commitment. Too often, we tend to focus everything on the wedding ceremony and little or nothing on marriage. We see the beauty of the ceremony but miss the beauty and wonder of the covenant. We sometimes also miss the fact that we are embarking on one of the most difficult journeys of our lives, one that does not begin on the wedding day" —Kay Cole James, Author of What I Wish I’d Known Before I Got Married"
In conclusion, Kari Jobe got engaged a year after that same interview and this past weekend married her worship colleague and best friend, Cody Carnes. Remember that God’s delays are not His denials.
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay.’” (Hebrews 10:36-37 NIV)