The selected passages and verses from today owe themselves to a comment left at this post by Scott over at the Courtship Pledge. The full comment, left by someone going by “Dave,” can be found here. This will be a more pointed post than is normal, because I take some exception to the comment. If you read the comment, you will have seen that the gist of Dave’s comment is twofold: 1) men should have faith that they will marry, and 2) there are plenty of marriageable women there. I’m going to address both points, and in that order.
Dave cites the Book of Proverbs to make the point that a good wife is a gift from the Lord. I don’t dispute this. However, I do disagree with his assertion that men cannot be cynical and have faith at the same time. Speaking only for myself here, I am highly cynical when it comes to human beings but still have a strong faith in God. I don’t believe this view is is in any way contrary to Christian teaching and doctrine. I mean, how can it be when you have Scripture like this:
The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
there is none that does good.
2 God looks down from heaven
upon the sons of men
to see if there are any that are wise,
that seek after God.
3 They have all fallen away;
they are all alike depraved;
there is none that does good,
no, not one.
4 Have those who work evil no understanding,
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon God?
That is a pretty dark and dismal view of mankind. Yet David (that great and flawed man that he was) also said this:
5 There they are, in great terror,
in terror such as has not been!
For God will scatter the bones of the ungodly;
they will be put to shame, for God has rejected them.
6 O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice and Israel be glad.
It seems pretty clear to me that David still had faith in the Lord. He still believed that God could and would fulfill his promises. But that didn’t prevent him from having a healthy dose of cynicism.
This brings me to this part of his comment:
You see, when we walk with God, our faith/expectations/beliefs dictate our experiences. If we believe that nothing good is in store for us, nothing good will be in store for us. If we believe that there are no more good women that we can marry, there will be no good women available for us, though that does not mean there are no good women left, but only that none of them will be for us.
He cites a Psalm in support, and let me offer another one:
Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who greatly delights in his commandments!
2 His descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house;
and his righteousness endures for ever.
There is just one problem with all of this: as Christians we understand that the good we receive for God might not come in this world.
28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 But many that are first will be last, and the last first.
The danger with Dave’s approach is he is leading men towards an expectation that good will come to them in this life. This can easily morph into a sense of entitlement, with all the danger that goes with it. But even with that aside, that expectation may not be fulfilled. There is no guarantee of it. As others have pointed out, God always answers our prayers, and sometimes the answer is “NO.” Unfortunately, a man who goes through life expecting to find a worthy woman, and who doesn’t will find his faith severely tested. More than a few men in the ‘sphere can attest to this, and a fair few have lost their faith as a result.
A better approach for a man, in my opinion, is to go through life expecting not to marry. Expect to suffer and go without, and not simply when it comes to marriage. We are called to deny ourselves and take up our cross. That may well entail suffering, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. “For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.” (1 Peter 3:17) If something good does happen, don’t treat it like you expected it all along. Treat it as the gift that it rightfully is. Something undeserved that merits appreciation and thanks directed to God.
Finally, there is his blanket claim here (which he states in different ways elsewhere):
I wish the men remembered this, that even as we speak, there are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of women in the US who are chaste, who are beautiful, and who long to establish God-honoring families with God-fearing men. To find them, you have to look for them. If you believe that there is none left, then you won’t find any, because you do not seek it “in faith” (Romans 9:32 ).
Of course, there is no evidence provided to back up this assertion. Furthermore, his argument that you won’t find any if you don’t believe they exist because you lack (or don’t seek in) faith is based on a twist interpretation of Romans that would impress a Pretzel maker. Let me offer a competing, and far more on point, bit of Scripture:
25 I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness which is madness. 26 And I found more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters; he who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. 27 Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, adding one thing to another to find the sum, 28 which my mind has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. 29 Behold, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many devices.
Now, does that mean there are no righteous women out there? Of course not. But it surely does a better job of refuting Dave’s point than any of the Scripture he has cited has done to support it.
Here is the thing- I don’t think there are hundreds of thousands of women out there who fit the bill that Dave provides. Nor do I think they are necessarily hundreds of thousands of men who possess the opposite set of valuable traits. The truth is that things are really, really bad right now. And it isn’t an act of Hope to pretend that they aren’t as bad as they are- it is a delusion. Our faith doesn’t require that we set aside reason or realism. 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) Being wise as a serpent is enough to warn us that these are dark times, and that suitable mates are few and far between.
So, my counter-advice to men that Dave was addressing is this:
Be as wise as a serpent, and don’t expect to find a worthy woman to be your wife. Yet at the same time don’t give up; keep on knocking and searching. God will give us what is good, only He does it on His timeline.