When we are going through a particularly trying time, we can’t always see God’s hand in our situation. Yet when we look back, we can realize that God makes everything appropriate in His time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). My wedding is this month (May 1), but I know that the years of my singleness were perfectly “appropriate.”
When my mother passed away three years ago, I called my father every few days to see how he was doing. Each time we spoke, he told me how difficult it was for him to come home to an empty house. After 47 years of marriage, he still expected to see my mother come walking down the stairs or around a corner. I could hear the loneliness in his voice as he often broke down and cried.
He told me once that it was especially difficult for him to go out to a restaurant alone. “How do you do it?” he asked me. “I feel like everyone is staring at me because I’m by myself. How do you go out alone? Don’t you feel lonely?”
At that moment, I realized that I was the only one in his life who could truly understand what he was going through. I had never been married or lost a spouse, but I did know what it was like to walk through a museum with no one to keep me company. My heart rejoiced that I could share with my father my own experience of singleness.
I told my dad that he needed to spend time with friends and try to have some fun. I also told him that I never feel totally alone, because I know that God is always with me. I told him that God wanted to have those times with him too, if he would just open that door to Him.
In the last few years my father dated, then married, a childhood friend of my mother’s. His new wife seems to show no interest in seeking after God, but from occasional conversations with my father, I know that he desires a personal relationship with the God we’ve spoken about.
Even now, in the flurry of wedding preparations, I look back at the ways in which my father and I grew closer because of the pain in his life and my attempts to help him. I think of that time and I’m able to smile. Perhaps God kept me single for so long because He loves my father so much. And if something said during those many phone conversations with my father caused his heart to consider Messiah, I will praise God all the more for making my singleness fruitful and “appropriate in His time.”