Living alone has its advantages, freedom and peace being two major ones. But being single also comes with great challenges. Taming loneliness, nourishing our need for affection, monitoring our finances, and also worrying about our future.
When we’re young, we don’t think about it as much. But when we cross the threshold of forty, or when we have to take care of our elderly parents, we become more aware of our future old age, and we think about how our own needs will be met when we are old if we are alone. Some single people don’t have children they can count on. Worrying about our future can keep us awake at night.
So what to do? First, let’s talk about God’s position on the matter. Faced with our worries, our Heavenly Father wants to reassure us that He is there to take care of us. The passage from Matthew 6:25 to 34 reminds us that if He knows how to take care of the birds and the flowers, He will certainly not let us down. “Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?” Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows you need all of these” (v. 31-32 CEV).
For God, single people have a special place in His heart. He loves them and protects them like a mother bear with her cubs. He even becomes aggressive if someone doesn’t take good care of His Singles. “Do not mistreat widows or orphans. If you do, they will beg for my help, and I will come to their rescue. In fact, I will get so angry that I will kill your men” (Exodus 22:22-24a CEV). Yes, it says “widow and orphan” here, but the challenges of these two types of “single people” were the same as single people today. And God’s care for the people that are alone has remained the same.
So how can we combat the worry that arises within us? First, through prayer. “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 CEV). But be careful: to be effective, prayer must be two-way. That means that you bring your needs to God, but then you take the time to listen to Him give you His solutions and wisdom to solve your problems.
With God’s wisdom, we learn how to save for retirement. He will even guide us in good investments which will be useful in our old age to resort to private health services, if necessary. His wisdom will also guide us to the right places to plan our succession (will and protection mandate). God not only wants to “provide” for our needs, but He wants to teach us what to do to get our needs met. “She makes clothes to sell to the shop owners. She is strong and graceful, as well as cheerful about the future” (Proverbs 31:24-25 CEV).
We have to be intelligent with the resources that God gives us, without putting all our trust in them either. Our trust is in God. The stock markets can collapse, and we will remain in peace. But we still took concrete actions, under His direction, after praying.
Another way to overcome worry about our future is to invest in service. “Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them” (Matthew 6:19-20 CEV). Every little thing we do to serve others is a deposit we make into a heavenly bank account.
To explain this from a practical perspective: by serving others at our church (or even in a community organization), we not only please God, but we also make ourselves known. By giving time to people in our church, these people will also remember us when it is our turn to need them. We shouldn’t wait for someone to ask us for help: let’s take the lead and be present in the lives of others through phone calls or by always responding to their invitations.
Once again, we do not invest ourselves in service to be noticed, we want to grow the Kingdom of God. We do not place our trust in these people either, because only God deserves our trust. But the law of sowing and reaping still applies here, and we benefit from helping others around us.