The single woman who has gone through is the finest missionary on earth. Because she has suffered as we haven’t. You married men and women be careful of selfishness. I never like to see, in the company of two or three, husbands always sitting by wives. “Oh darling this and darling that.” I leave mine behind. It’s far the best thing to do. My wife and I have an understanding. I’m not first in her life—I’m about a bad number three. Jesus Christ is first, the children are second, and I’m forgotten. She is not first in my life, Jesus Christ is, and then the children have to fit in somewhere. And she has to fit in nowhere. Get out of this business of “lovey, dovey” stuff! Be soldiers. Every missionary ought to be a soldier, the husband as much as the wife and the wife as much as the husband. A lot of the illnesses of husbands come about by the dear wife saying, “Oh, you poor dear, you are so tired.” Of course that makes him tired. And, “Oh dear wife you must be looked after.” We can get noble single women to go anywhere for Jesus alone, but if it’s a wife! “Oh no I couldn’t leave my wife alone there. Oh dear no, no!” Somebody might come in and attack her or something. Well, let her be attacked for Jesus’ sake. It won’t hurt. Can’t we do a little soldiering for Jesus? Our soldiers fight and die; can’t we fight and die for a higher army?
So you husbands and wives watch this lovey-dovey business. At least keep it in secret. And not more than one minute a day! And when we are in a community, be in a community. Don’t make the single one feel that there is something special about you two, and that the other one has to fit in as best she can. That is why I always have a deep sympathy for single women. They have a battle that only eternity will reveal. I’ll never forget a fine missionary whom I met the last time I was in Africa. She was about 50. She stirred my heart when she said, “Brother, I never got through until God showed me that the sin (she called it a sin; I think she wrongly used the word there) I had deep down and unconquered was my desire for marriage.” But it wasn’t a sin. What she meant was that deep down in her heart there was resentment, a certain resentment that she hadn’t a partner in life. But she said, “When I realized that, I looked it in the face and saw that this was God’s purpose for me. I took it to the cleansing Blood and had real deliverance.” And that’s some deliverance! After all, I’ve had a wife for 4 and 30 years, so I can’t talk. That is why I say single missionaries are first line and all the rest of us are second line missionaries. Look up 1 Cor. 7 if you don’t know what I mean.
I’ve included this post today because in this season I am in the process of being divorced by my marriage partner of 20 years. Even though I said Jesus was first, the lovey-dovey that Norman’ mentions was how I was with my partner. I never imagined for one minute that I would be a single person, I always imagined I would be with someone who shared the similar values and faith. She said we became too different.
In this season I have no choice but transfer my love for my partner, which in reality is His love in me as me, back to the source. Not only in words saying “I love you Lord”, but somehow by his mysterious methods, give him the pain I feel in my heart too. Pain that comes out in the form of spontaneous crying, and numbness.
I sense I am feeling so much more vulnerable and raw at the moment because the legal divorce process is still being worked out, and because I was a homemaker, I at present do not have a full time job to redirect my attention towards serving people in the workplace, nor a place locally to call home. Thus I am 100% dependent on God’s grace every moment of every to see me through.
If, as I had done back in 2012, and subsequently reading Job’s story, believe and continue to that everything comes to us, comes from God, and I see no evil, only seeing single, then I have to accept this event came from God too and say, like Job:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (1:21)
But, and it the Holy but, as Norman in the Old Testament Journeys of Faith – Their lives, AND Our lives, Chapter 1 Job, Satan is God’s convenient agent!
I am grateful a few brothers and sisters have not deserted me and are checking in regularly by phone, by encouraging me to participate in volunteer work, and given me a place to stay so I am not homeless. Those whom I hoped could help me in my time of need have said nice words, like James said, faith without works is dead. So I have hope and can only assume God is lining up new mission fields, friendships, career and volunteer opportunities.
I am glad I have faith, hope and love in God alone to see me through, because who is me? No longer am I “little olde me” but born again Me, the I AM in Tony Maden form!
Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954