My Challenges Do Not Define Me

By Pastor Odukoya
As I was preparing for this message I came across a book and I think this
would be a good starting point for today’s message. Well, let me start by reading some stories to you
from here… …“I never want to live through another winter like this one. It’s all right for these
women with husbands to handle things like frozen cars, but I am alone in the world. When I go, I have to get there myself… Second story… …‘Dear Jenny, my testing time seems to be increasing in intensity. I had just
found a nice small apartment for my little boy and myself upstairs in the house of a lovely family………. One other story – the last one, a bit different though. “Dear Jinnee Price, at 19, I married a fine Christian man, we were going to serve God together, but it didn’t work out that way. What kind of a Christian life can you have if you don’t read the Bible and pray together? We haven’t And now I am more miserable than I can put into words… I read these stories to let you know that whether single or married, we all have problems. It is not peculiar to you, don’t make yourself pitiable. Jesus has delivered us from all the labels. One thing I have learnt from my years and experience as a marriage counselor is the fact that those who are married are wishing they were not married, when I ask them why the answers have always been the same; “Those who are not married are free, their time is theirs and unfortunately they don’t appreciate what they have.”

On the other hand, those who are not married are always complaining of been single and just want to get married. For example at the last meeting a man walked up to me and said “Pastor Look at me, I am over forty and not married. It’s becoming ridiculous and embarrassing.” He wants to get married while others want to get out of theirs, so you see the challenges of life are not there because of your status. There will always be
challenges and whatever our status we should appreciate God, then the pressure will be eased off and we will be rightly positioned for God’s continuous blessings. Paul taught explicitly on this issue of marriage and singlehood in 1Cor 7. In 1 Cor 7:8-9, Paul advised the single to remain unmarried except where they cannot withstand the pressure of sexual passion, so we can see clearly that not all will be married, there will always be single people amongst us. In 1 Cor 7:10-11, he addressed the married believers; here he stated clearly that in such a setting, divorce is not an option and where it happens the parties must remain unmarried.

While in 1 Cor 7:12-13 he addressed the case of marriage between a believer and unbeliever, he states here that as much as possible you must make the marriage work. The onus here is much more on the believer; as long as the unbeliever is willing to remain in the marriage then the brother/sister must do everything to help the marriage, but where in spite of their best efforts (bringing Christian virtues to bear), the unbeliever chooses
to leave the marriage then the brother/ sister is free; in which case they can remarry. Going back to our original scripture, 2 Cor 4:7-8 says “We have this treasure….. not in despair” now we understand that pressures of life will come whether married or not, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Whatever your status know that there is a reason for it and in line with the scripture that says in all things give thanks, start to cultivate the habit of thanking God wherever you are. There is a reason why I am where I am today, God does not make mistakes.