Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. - 1 Corinthians 7:17
Do you trust God at his word? Do you willingly obey him?
In 2 Kings chapter five we read about a man named Naaman. Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Syria. He was a great man who was highly favored “because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor,” (5:1). But Naaman had a major problem, he was a leper.
Naaman’s wife had a servant girl captured from Israel. This bold young girl told her mistress about the great prophet, Elisha, in Samaria. She thought this prophet would be able to cure the master of his leprosy. From the servant girl, to her mistress, to her husband, to the king of Syria the message went. Permission was given and Naaman, along with his entourage, traveled to see the powerful prophet of God. Naaman’s party came with their horses and chariots and arrived at Elisha's door, loaded with fine gifts to give.
However, Elisha did not come to the door, he didn’t even show himself. Instead, he sent a message via a servant telling Naaman to,”Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” (5:10). Naaman was not happy with this. In fact, he was furious and went away in anger saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” (5:11-13). Naaman then “turned and went away in a rage.” (5:12).
Do you rage against what God’s Word says to you in the areas of singleness or marriage? Our calling from God is NOT optional. When God tells us in his word that things are to be done a certain way, that is a direct command upon our lives, not a suggestion. The frameworks of singleness and marriage were designed by God’s own holy hands.
For singles, understand that being single is not less than ideal. Strike it from your thinking and don’t insult God that way. Read 1 Corinthians 7. In it Paul says that singleness is a gift (v. 7) and even preferable over marriage since marriage comes with “worldly troubles” (v.28) and “anxieties” (v. 32). As a single person, you can “secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” (v. 35). Very little can hinder you from a life dedicated to the Lord and good works. It is as if God is reserving you for himself! There will be struggles against loneliness but in this area God will also show himself faithful as your husband.
For those married, it is God’s will that you stay married despite the worldly troubles and anxieties mentioned above. If you have been married for any length of time, you know Paul was not wrong. Yet marriage is also a divine assignment from God. It is a gift, but not a gift to be spent upon yourself. God wants marriage to display his godly attributes of relationship and grace. “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” (Eph. 5:24-25). This is a huge and difficult calling, requiring much humility. Yet when done “as to the Lord” it is a beautiful reflection of Christ. In this we can excel where Eve failed, we can honor God by respecting and helping our husbands.
“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” (1 Cor. 7:17). In our callings from the Lord, let us not be like Naaman and rage against the command given for our own good. Let us not think that surely God should order our lives differently and more in line with our preferences. Never forget that he is God and you are not. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is. 55:9).
What happened to angry, leprous Naaman? Swayed by yet other bold servants he did go and wash in the dirty Jordan. “He went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” (5:14). After this he served the One True God of Israel.
Ladies, God speaks, will we not listen and obey? His message to us in singleness and marriage is loud and clear in the Bible. Is our assignment fantastic or beautiful? We may not think so now, but there will come a time when it is no longer just a message in front of us, but our Creator himself. Then we will long with everything within us that we had been obedient to the fullest. Feel that longing now. Yearn to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matt. 25:23). Then the door will be opened wide to us and the words “fantastic” and “beautiful” will not even come close to what we feel. Women, serve God in your divinely assigned role. It is good.