Single & Lonely
In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband. – (Ruth 1:1-5)
Naomi knows very well what it is like to watch people she loved so much die. She watched her husband die and then later her sons die. Ruth 1:1-5, we learn there was a famine in the land when this took place. It’s like one thing after another. Nothing seems to be going right for Naomi. Life seems hopeless, first the famine, then her husband dies, and then her kids. Insult to injury, over and over. “In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land …But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. …and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.”
Do you feel life is just pushing you down and making it even harder for you to get up? You’ve been looking for a spouse for 2 years, 2 years turns into 5 years and soon you look back and 10 years have passed away, you’re still single, no kids. You are tempted to go do it your way. Naomi knows those same feelings and experiences this same heartbreak. That’s why I think we can learn a lot from Naomi’s life as we search for our wife or husband.
Or maybe you aren’t interested in finding a spouse, but you are content with being single for a season or for a lifetime. Maybe you just find yourself in situations time and time again where it seems you can never find any hope or any level ground. I think Naomi’s story is so much more than a love story, but a story of a God who is redeeming the brokenness that this world and our lives seem to display so perfectly.
Because of the Famine, there was no food or work in Bethlehem during this time. We see that it was the time of the judges also, so God was sending people, called judges, these are like warriors, that would deliver God’s people from oppression. So we see this as a time of oppression and famine. It was a really nasty time to be living in if you were God’s chosen people. So because of these two factors, Naomi’s family leaves Bethlehem and goes to the Land of Moab. Ruth 1:2 says that they settled in the Land of Moab.
Our Singleness can feel like famine and sometimes oppression. We feel like God has forgotten us. The good thing is that God has not and will never forget about us. It is very possible that we are currently looking for a relationship in the wrong place. Just like looking for a job or food in Bethlehem was the wrong place for Noami and her family to be looking. It’s very possible it’s time for you to find new land to settle on.
What that may look like is finding a new church, looking on a different dating website, looking for Christian Believers on Plenty of Fish is going to be pretty hard to do, trying a Christian website might be better. Searching on Plenty of Fish or Tender as a Christian is like Naomi searching in Bethlehem for food and work in a time of famine. Christians will have a very hard time finding what is good on a site that the world uses for what they think is good.
It’s also possible that we are not Christians. Many people like to wear the Christian name tag, but when challenged to follow Christ, they come up with reasons why they can’t do it right now. Maybe it is time for you to settle on a new battleground, a Christian battleground, with a bible and prayer, on your knees. This seems to be a big reason why people in the USA can’t find anyone to marry. A lot of Christians here just are not Christian. Think of it this way, you’re looking for someone to walk with God with, not to go to church with. The two are hugely different. One is a lifelong commitment to building your relationship with a believer on the principles of God’s Word and the other is just to go to church together on Sunday and have simple lives and not bring God involved into it.
Maybe your battle isn’t finding a spouse, maybe it’s finding a job, finding a new career, fixing your finances, overcoming drug or alcohol abuse. Find new ground to overcome those things, don’t just expect that not changing the way you manage your money will do anything, or that returning to the same bar or drug dealer will ever fix your situation. You must change those people around you and get a new group of friends, just limit your friends. Jesus said it best, “cut it off”. You want to change a bad habit or situation in your life, cut it out of your life. Change your playground.
Your Not Really AloneRuth 1:5 “and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.”. This verse almost makes it feel like Noami was all alone, but she wasn’t. Noami’s sons married two Moabite women. One was Orpah and the other Ruth. Noami had a community around her. The “Single Christians Community” group on Facebook is your community around you. Your Church may have a singles group that you’re part of too and that is awesome, community is important to have in times of loneliness. Maybe you have a few single friends, form a community with them. Just look around and see the people you have around you, you’re not alone. There are others that are with you in this and just maybe they are experiencing the same pain that you are experiencing. In those painful and lonely seasons draw closer to those God has put around you. Don’t just stay in your own little corner. Join a Community Group like the “Single Christians Community” on Facebook or one in your local church. Having other believers around you is an important key to getting through those painful and lonely seasons. We are made for one another. We are made for Community. Made in God’s very image and likeness, God himself is in community, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.