Kelly-Jayne McGlynnCrosswalk.com Family Editor
Editor’s Note: Crosswalk’s Singles Advice is an advice column for singles featuring an anonymous question from a Crosswalk.com reader with a thoughtful, biblical reply from one of our single editors.
I’m 37 and single, and I have had a strong desire to meet and one day marry a Christian lady for 16 or so years. About 16 years ago, at the end of my backsliding stage, I knew the Lord was calling me to himself, so I thought it wise to break up with my unsaved girlfriend. There were multiple ways that the Lord humbled me, and then started to replace those sacrifices I made……however, never a relationship. What is your advice in coping with being single, especially in the light that I sacrificed a great relationship?
Hello! What an encouragement to hear about the tough decisions you made to be right with God. Following Jesus certainly does take sacrifice—just ask the Rich Young Ruler! I’m sure that time was difficult for you, and even though I’m sure you know it was worth it, it is still hard to lose important things in our lives. Thanks for writing in!
Believe in the 100-Fold
Your question reminds me of an interaction between Jesus and his disciples, right after the Rich Young Ruler walked away from Jesus:
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man, this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
It’s so easy to imagine what Peter sounded like, because we can relate so much. “…But Jesus! Hello! We left everything to follow you. Don’t you see our sacrifice for you?? Don’t you care what we had to do to get here? Why isn’t that enough for you?”
But I love Jesus’ response so much. He shares:
“No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30).
I love that he affirms their sacrifices instead of scoffing at them. He could have said “Ha! What you’ve left behind to follow me—that’s cute. Do you know what I left behind to pursue you? A cushy throne in heaven with my Dad/closest friend and 10,000 angels attending to me. And do you know what sacrifice I’m about the go make for you? The pain and betrayal I’m about to experience for you is beyond what any human as ever experienced, and makes your puny sacrifices look like nothing.” But, being the loving Shepherd that he is, he instead promises them 100 times whatever they left behind for his sake and the sake of the Gospel. What Return-on-Investment!
Now, I’m sure Jesus was not talking literally here. I’m fairly certain that Andrew and John* didn’t literally get 100 new fishing businesses or 100 new fathers (Mark 1). I’m sure his disciples didn’t literally receive 100 new fields. But Jesus was more-so meaning whatever these fields and family members meant to his disciples, whatever love and goodness they brought them, whatever provision—living a life for God would supply 100 times that: life to the full. And on top of that, as if that weren’t enough, Jesus also promises (along with persecutions) eternal life.
This scripture for me is personally near and dear to my heart. I also broke up with my significant other in order to become a Christian, and this scripture during that hard season was my mantra and battle cry. And although I certainly do hope that God will literally replace that relationship with a boyfriend/husband that is 100 times as great—I’ve already seen this scripture come true for me.