I enjoy running. When it’s sunny and hot. Not warm, but hot. 95 degrees not 65. But recently in North Carolina, it seems as if we’ve inherited Florida’s weather flow. With humidity prevailing and storms emerging almost every evening. Which doesn’t bode well for someone who likes to run of the late afternoon, when it’s still sunny and hot. Exceedingly hot.
And so what that means for me is that when I’ve been out running recently. I’ve suddenly been caught in the middle of a rainstorm. Or two. Not according to plan. But that’s what happens when the weatherman can no longer predict raindrops any better than you can. You get caught. In the middle of unexpected storms.
Interestingly enough, unplanned downpours have taught me something. I’ve discovered that it’s really not that bad running in the rain. As long as it’s not thundering. Or lightning. That running in the rain can actually be refreshing. Not that I prefer it. But given the alternative of not running at all (or even worse, having to settle for a treadmill!). It’s really not that bad. In fact, it can surprisingly be quite nice. If you can get past the stares of those who drive by in dryness. Windshield wipers on. Avoiding the rain. That I’m enjoying. But looking at me. As if I’m running from something. Or as if I’ve lost something. Like my mind maybe.
Working with single adults over the past few years. I’ve found that when you’re single, it can feel a lot like being caught in the rain. Unanticipated. Misunderstood. Not the norm.
Not all singles have a problem being single. But some, perhaps many, do. They’d rather not be caught out in the rain. Alone. At all. They’d much rather be behind the windshield. And the wipers. With someone in the passenger seat. Sitting next to them. Together. Safety in numbers. No strange stares.
Many single adults feel like their singleness, even if it is for just a season, is a time of life that they’re missing out on something better. A better blessing. A better future. That can only happen, as far as they can tell, when they’re married.
And for most singles. It is for just a season. Given that more than 90+ percent of adults will marry someday. And 70 percent of those who divorce will be married again within three to five years. So for most singles. It is just a season. Maybe a longer season than they’d prefer. But just a season nonetheless.
Unfortunately for many single adults. They don’t see their season of being unmarried as a torrent of blessings. But instead more as a torment of being left behind. Of being left out. And being a single adult myself, I can empathize with the greater perspective. But I’ve also come to realize that some blessings are hidden at first. Until you take the time to appreciate life wherever God might have you. Whatever season it might be. Even if it is out in the rain. Running. Alone. With people throwing peculiar glances your way.
And yet Scripture in 1 Corinthians 7 gives a very different perspective of being single. Much like the unexpected blessing I’ve found when running in the rain. There’s a certain unexpected blessing that goes along with being single as well. At least as God describes it. Not that that’s necessarily where you’re at just yet. Accepting your singleness as a blessing. But that’s God’s intent.
In the movie “500 Days of Summer” the main character played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt is described as believing he would never be happy in life until he met his soul mate (in this case his love interest is named “Summer”). Which is an interesting viewpoint. Because at heart it means that all the time spent waiting. Is an extended season of unhappiness.
I wonder how many single adults feel that way. Instead of enjoying the season that God has them in. Even if it is being single. Alone. Out in the rain.
1 Corinthians 7 teaches, among other things, that a season of singleness is an unbridled opportunity to enjoy being solely devoted to the Lord instead of having interests that are divided (vv. 34-35, NIV).
In other words, there’s a huge blessing to be found in the rain when you’re caught running in it. And there’s an even bigger blessing to be found in a season of singleness that allows you to focus your attention decidedly, unreservedly on God. Which is odd. Because for many singles, God’s not who they’re thinking about. Instead of being uplifted. With their eyes turned toward the Lord. They live downcast. Thinking about what they don’t have, who they don’t have. Instead of what they do have, who they do have.
So even if meeting your “soul mate” is somewhere down the road. It doesn’t mean your life is on hold now. Nor should your happiness be on hold either.
It’s amazing how that changing one’s perspective changes everything else. For me running in the rain turned out to be much more fun than I realized. Not that it’s my preference. But I’ve learned to enjoy it.
And when your perspective of singleness changes. Becomes more God-ward than self-focused. It’s amazing how your bigger world can change as well. No longer do you have to live in “wait mode.” Unhappy “wait mode.” Despondent “wait mode.” Desperate “wait mode.” But instead you can begin to enjoy the blessing of singleness that God desires for us. All of us who are single.
And if it does turn out to be just a season. Then good for you! It wasn’t time wasted. It was time growing. It wasn’t time feeling self pity. But was a time of intense personal metamorphosis. It wasn’t a time of blaming God for what you didn’t have. But became a time of thanking God for what you do have.
So the next time you’re outside and it starts raining. Unexpectedly. Take a moment. Or two. And just let it rain. All over you! Sort of let it be your rainbow. After the storm. A reminder that your singleness can be a shower of blessings. Even if it does turn out to be just for a season.
— Dr. Greg Belcher. A never married single who has pastored churches in North Carolina and Georgia, most recently serving as the Pastor of Single Adults (and Young Professionals) at the rapidly growing Hope Community Church located in Raleigh, NC.