Aloneness hurts. What single person after waiting on God hasn’t asked himself, “Now what?” I have talked to dozens of young people that have gone to church or Bible college, kept themselves pure, resisted the temptation to settle, who now find themselves alone every Friday surrounded by little brothers and sisters on family night. Don’t get me wrong, it is fun hanging out with family, eating pizza and playing monopoly, but not if you have no other option.
There is a story in the Bible that may mirror your life, and help give some perspective of what to do, while you wait. Before we jump into the story of our 40 year old single guy, I need to add a caveat. Not every story in the Bible is given for our emulation (i.e Samson, Jonah, Judas, etc.). The Scripture does, however, give us tangible examples of faith, so that we can see faith in action (Hebrews 11, I Cor 10:11). The story of Isaac and Rebekah is one of those great example passages of faithful people depending on an even more faithful God.
“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.” (Genesis 24:63-64) This passage of scripture gives some great instruction on what men are to be doing while they wait. Keep in mind that even though this article is geared toward guys, every girl should be looking for a man with these qualities. If a man is not showing godly characteristics and actions while he is waiting, he will not be doing those things after he has won a girl’s heart. (Next week’s article will explore what a woman should be doing and what men should be looking for from the same passage.)
Godly men wait patiently. Isaac had waited a long time. Genesis 25:20 tells us that Isaac was 40 years old. (Apparently this was a cultural thing because his older brother Esau didn’t get the keys for the camel until he was forty, Genesis 36:34.) This is rather amazing as Isaac was the area’s most eligible bachelor. He was the son of a local millionaire, he was a wonder child, he had promises from God, he had good looking genetics (at least from his mom’s side) In short, he was popular, pretty, and stinking rich, yet with all of that, he wasn’t married. The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically, but he may have been waiting because he saw the pain that was caused by His dad, who didn’t wait in the area of relationships.
Godly men wait obediently. The context of this verse is encased in the entire passage. Earlier we see in Genesis 24:3 that Isaac was obeying God, by not seeking a bride that would not assist him in his pursuit of God. If your future spouse is not focused on God, you will have a love war, and become schizophrenic in your pursuits. Isaac was well aware of the fact that a godly woman may not be found on his timetable. For those who have waited a long time I would ask in invaluable question, “What do you want from a relationship?”
Remember, that a woman will never give more than God has already offered you, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19) It may help to remember that passage of Scripture was written by a man who at the time was in jail as a single man.
If you are not content with what God is giving you, you will never be content with what God might give you.
Godly men wait worshipfully. Where is Isaac, he is out in the field thinking about the greatness of God. It seems from the text that he was bowed down in worship. When his “girlfriend” arrives what does she find him doing? What do you think went through Rebekah’s mind when she found out Isaac was praying on their first “date?” If you have never been caught worshiping, you may as well say goodbye to a quality, God centered worshiping spouse because they are off in a different field.
Worshipers have a great advantage when it comes to dating, they don’t have to change the object of their affections.
I feel I must address the heresy that God is obligated to send you a spouse if you are worshiping Him. This is not at all what I am saying, I am simply giving a general principle that if you are already singing praise to your Savior, that a harmony line will fit nicely and you don’t have to change your tune in order to attract a spouse.
Godly men wait thoughtfully. The passage continues and describes their first meeting, “Therefore Rebekah took a vail, and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.” (Gen 24:65-66) Put yourself in his sandals. You have waited forty years for a wife, you trust your dad and friend to find you a wife, and the first thing you do is…. Talk to the old servant? I think this shows an incredible amount of maturity on the part of Isaac, as he voluntarily seeks wisdom before hormones. The passage says that the servant tells him everything. This is not the Hollywood, first date go to her apartment and see if she is a good kisser philosophy, this is a man whose heart is controlled by his head.
How about you, how many wise mentors do you seek advice from before or during your dating relationship? Far too many couples seem to start with an attraction, move to infatuation, and then when wise individuals offer advice, it is viewed as spiteful and uninformed. “What would old married fogies possible know about love anyway?”
Godly men wait unselfishly. “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” (Gen 24:67) Ever wonder why the word order is reversed? Marriage then love seems very strange to a culture that grew up on Disney love. Many couples test the waters to see if their feelings are strong enough to get them through. Love can result in an incredible feeling, but it is a result of a choice. If love is all about a feeling then when my feelings go away, I am justified in adultery. In reality love can be incredibly painful (ask the 85 year old couple whose wife has Alzheimer’s).
My love is not about me. If I am hoping for a special someone to make me feel special, I will soon hate them for what they cannot give me. In reality, I am really more in love with myself. The commitment that Isaac gave was the perfect soil for the seed of love to grow.
I understand that Isaac lived in a different culture, yet he does give us a good model of how to wait and helps us answer the question, “Now what?”