Waiting for Prince Charming: Waking from the Slumber of Singlehood
“For the Israelites will live for many days without king or prince…Afterwards the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God…”Hosea 3:4-5
Sleeping Beauty lay seemingly lifeless upon her bed. Her curse driven slumber left her to miss out on years of life’s most thrilling moments. So many opportunities, so many memories; they all passed her by as she laid there, waiting to be set free from the wicked witch’s spell. It could only be broken by true love’s kiss; when her prince charming would make his way up the winding stairs that led to the lofty tower where the princess’s chamber was found. Only then could she finally be awakened to a wonderful life. She would open her eyes and see the endless possibilities that were before her, and she and her prince would be married and they would sit, side by side, on their royal thrown and live happily ever after!
Does this story sound familiar? That’s because it is one of the many fairytales that, for centuries, have captivated the hearts of young girls around the world. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella; these were all women who were either left in a deep sleep, or locked away in some other undesirable life circumstance as they waited for a strong and handsome prince to come and change their lives for the better.
As a young girl I was intensely drawn to these romantic tales and grew to be what we all know as a “hopeless romantic.” All my Barbie dolls had boyfriends (my brother’s action figures), I always had little crushes in school, and I dreamed of the day my prince charming would come and make me the queen of his kingdom. This idealism of love and romance carried over into my teenage years, finding myself involved in a new budding romance every other month, sometimes week. I endlessly wondered why I wasn’t finding “the one.” At the age of 17 I entered into a relationship with a boy I thought would make me happy, but instead he completely rejected me and was abusive and unfaithful. This went on for almost 3 years until I studied the Bible with a couple of girls in my neighborhood and decided to give up everything, including the unhealthy and immoral relationship, and live my life for God. I was baptized February 1, 2009. I’ve walked the narrow road of discipleship for almost 6 years now, and over time, my struggle with being a hopeless romantic has proven to be fierce. After having a few failed attempts at love, even within my years in Christ I came to realize how much those childhood fairytales had really gotten to me. Proverbs 22:19 says “What a person desires is unfailing love” and, Proverbs 13:12 tells us that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” And now, at the age of 25, single with no kids, I can start to scroll through my Facebook timeline and see all my friends getting married and starting families and I can begin to feel discouraged and heart sick. And that’s how many of us can feel; like sleeping beauty, lying in a deep slumber, waiting for the right man to come along so we can wake up and start living our lives. But like God says to the Israelites through the prophet Hosea, we continue to “live for many days without king or prince.”
Hosea was a man who knew a thing or two about unrequited love. God called him to go out and marry a prostitute named Gomer who would constantly prove to be adulterous and unfaithful to Him. Often times he had to go out and purchase her back from the lovers she left him for and no matter how much he loved her she kept pursuing other men for love. God did this so that Hosea could empathize with the hurt He felt when His people rejected Him. “How did the Israelites reject God?” you ask; by allowing Jeroboam to rule over them as king, even though he was not the true heir to the thrown of David. In turn Jeroboam led them to worshiping idols and false gods making them like an adulterous wife (see 1Kings 12:1-33). So God spoke through Hosea and said “She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’” Hosea 2:7.
Upon studying the book of Hosea, I realized something. The same hurt and rejection I had felt at the hands of my “lovers” was exactly how I had been making God to feel in my relationship with Him. I had been looking for unconditional love, stability, and protection from my “prince charming”, when all the while God had been offering all of that and more with His heroic outstretched hand. Instead of leaping into His arms I sought to be rescued by men that were not able to save me. My heart was intensely moved when I recalled the allegory of the adulterous wife in Ezekiel 16. God spoke to Israel who He had found like an abandoned child with no one to love and have compassion for her, and in verse 6 He says “‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!” And in that moment I felt like God was telling me, “Wake up Sleeping Beauty! Wake up to the beautiful life I have for you.”
If you are sleeping through your singlehood it’s time to wake up! There is nothing to wait for. You’ve already been set free with the true love kiss of God’s everlasting love, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3. Like you, I used to think my life couldn’t begin until my prince came along, but he already has come. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. Jesus has come, set me free and given me life to the full (John 10:10), and I can live this beautiful life, right now, without having to wait for marriage, kids, or anything else. I am free to go on adventures and travel the world, sharing my faith, teaching God’s word and changing the lives of women who were just like me back in 2009. I can enjoy the time I have to spend with my sisters in Christ, the many friendships I can build with my brothers in Christ, but most of all I can enjoy my full devotion to God.
So, wake up sleeping beauty, and experience the wonderful plan that King, Jesus, has for you by embracing this season of singlehood. And as you delight in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart.