Contentment: No Lack in God’s Provision
There will always be something that makes you unhappy. There will always be that feeling of wanting more. If you don’t learn to be content in your present circumstances, you will never be content.
Psalm 84:11 says, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” No good thing does He withhold. Really? But what about the fact that I am lonely, Lord? What about the fact that I am still single while my friends all have their special someone? What about the fact that I have to make important life decisions on my own? No good thing does He withhold.
One of my greatest seasons of discontentment came when I had to go through the process of finding and purchasing my own home. Up until this point, my dad had pretty much filled the role that a husband would have in my life. He helped me with maintenance work, money issues, and important decisions. But in the process of buying my condo, it felt like I was alone.
I cannot tell you how many times I cried in anger as I struggled with decisions. If I had a husband, he would help me make these decisions. I prayed to the Lord with accusations: Why haven’t you provided a husband for me? Why do I have to do this alone? My heart was bitter when I shared some of the difficulties in the house-buying process with married friends, who admitted that their husbands had made “those decisions” and they knew nothing about that part of the process. I wish I didn’t know. I don’t want this responsibility. I want a husband.
You don’t really need a husband in order to buy a house. But ever since I was young, I understood that the “normal” way of life was to graduate college, get married, and buy a house – together. My life was not turning out the way it was “supposed to.” But God knew what He was doing. Though my heart was hardened, He was caring for me. Though I was angry and bitter, He was working for my good.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” are the opening words of Psalm 23. Who is this Lord? Can I really trust Him to be my Caregiver, my Comforter, my Provider? How can it be true that “I shall not want” when I see emptiness in my life because I am lacking a husband? These questions reveal, first of all, that I do not have a good understanding of God’s character. My view of Him is too small, which causes me to doubt His control of my life. And secondly, they expose my selfishness in wanting what I think I need in life.
This God—my God—has loved me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). While I was still deep in my sins, He demonstrated His unconditional love toward me by sacrificing His Son on the cross in order to deliver me (Romans 5:8). Because of Christ, God is for me, and nothing can be against me (Romans 8:31). If God did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for me—how will He not also graciously give me all things? (Romans 8:32)
In light of who God is and what He has done for me already, my selfish desires become small and insignificant. The greatest problem that could ever exist is separation from the Almighty God because of sin. And that problem has already been solved in the work of Christ on the cross! If God will do that for me, how will He not also graciously give me all things that I need?
In his book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Phillip Keller describes the joy that overflows out of a heart that does not doubt but instead confidently declares, “The Lord is my Shepherd!”
To think that God in Christ is deeply concerned about me as a particular person immediately gives great purpose and enormous meaning to my short sojourn upon this planet. And the greater, the wider, the more majestic my concept is of the Christ—the more vital will be my relationship to Him. Obviously, David, in this Psalm, is speaking not as the shepherd, though he was one, but as a sheep; one of the flock. He spoke with a strong sense of pride and devotion and admiration. It was as though he literally boasted aloud, “Look at who my shepherd is—my owner—my manager!” The Lord is! …Who better could care for me?
When there is discontentment in being single, the root cause is a heart issue of distrust in the Lord’s provision. Who is your Lord, your Shepherd, your Provider? Do you not trust Him completely to provide what is best for you? The promises of Scripture are clear that our Father cares deeply about His children and that He is faithful to provide.
While struggling through the house-buying process, I came to depend on the truths of Psalm 62. “Only in God is my soul at rest.” Only in God – not in a husband. Even though I struggled constantly, I began to see God’s hand clearly guiding me. And I began to trust Him. As it turned out, I didn’t make the decision on my own. God was right there with me, showing me where to go and what to do. I made my house offers in faith, trusting that God would only allow me to have the home that was best. And He provided in a miraculous way.
I ended up getting my condo for $100 less than what I offered because of the timing of communication between the realtors (which I know was actually God’s sovereign hand). And after the inspection, the inspector was dumbfounded as he told me that there was nothing at all in the condo that needed to be fixed. I was proven wrong in thinking that I needed a husband. I had forgotten that it is actually the Lord who is my Provider.
My pastor recently encouraged me by saying, “Sometimes God doesn’t give us what we most want because He knows best what we most need.” So it is not a matter of whether the object of my desires is good (because a husband and family are not bad things to desire); but the heart issue is a matter of relationship and faith: Do I trust the Lord, in His surpassing wisdom and goodness, to give me what I truly need? Because “my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
So here’s the truth: There is no lack in being single.
In comparison to someone who is married, a single person does not receive any less mercy, grace, love, care, provision, blessings…the list could go on. And, yes, God did create marriage as a good thing for His people. And He created us as humans to desire, want, and even need a spouse. So there is a sense in which there is “emptiness” without a husband. But the All-Sufficient One fills the places of my life that are insufficient. He is the One who “fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23) Therefore, whatever areas of life God has “left empty,” He will fill with Himself.