It’s time for the captains to pick the teams, and the kids line up. Some hearts thrill with expectancy, thinking of how much they will love playing the game. These kids know they’re good on the field and can’t wait to get out there. Other kids feel slightly nervous about whose team they will join, and how well they will play. Some kids are petrified that they won’t get picked at all.
I think one of the most difficult parts of being single is the gut feeling that you were out on the field, waiting to get in the game, and nobody picked you.
It’s kind of an embarrassing, shameful feeling deep inside that creeps over you when you’re surrounded by others who are “picked,” while your unadorned left ring finger feebly announces that you are still, if you will, “on the market.” The funny thing about this secret shame of being passed over is that sometimes well-meaning married folk will refer to the fact of your “un-chosenness” as though it is something quite wonderful. “Oh, you are so free! Enjoy your freedom!” they say. Yes, that’s true, thank you. It’s true that I am free and at times that is a very nice thing. But please don’t act like this freedom doesn’t also serve as a hurtful reminder that I was not picked. And all the helpful advice about how I can get myself picked? “Just try this new app, that dating service…”
Please, let’s just talk about something else.
A few weeks ago, I was attending a Bible study where the teacher was using Lewis Sperry Chafer’s list of descriptions of what God has done for the believer in Christ. One description in particular jumped off the page and touched my heart in a sensitive place:
“Redeemed—purchased out of the marketplace of the world, the flesh, and the devil.”
Taken out of the marketplace.
Apparently, the Greek root word for the word “redeem” literally means just that: purchased out of the marketplace. Teknia online Greek dictionary gives further definitions such as: “to buy out, of the hands of a person; to set free, to secure for one’s self or one’s own use; to rescue from loss or misapplication.”
Our teacher emphasized, “Because you have been redeemed, you can’t go back into the marketplace anymore. You are out of that place. You are His.” Thoughts swirled in my head and I wrote down, “Not on the market anymore.”
This kind of comfort from God reminds me of how Jesus’ addressed the paralyzed man in Mark 2. Here was this man, carried by his friends to the place where Jesus was teaching, lowered through a hole in the roof so that he could be healed. Jesus looks at his paralyzed body and says, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” What?!? I am pretty sure that the paralytic and his friends were open-mouthed in surprise. “Jesus, that’s not what we came for! We want you to make him walk again!” The Pharisees were furious, and the people may have been confused, but Jesus went for the man’s deepest need first.
I think my deepest need is to embrace the meaning of redemption.
Yes, I still feel rather ashamed about not “getting picked.” Spiritual realities don’t vaporize earthly hurts. But if this intangible fact of redemption is real, then it changes something at the core of my soul.
I have been chosen.
And I was chosen by Him when I was at my least-attractive-downright-worst state. The troublemaker who can’t play ball gets picked? The broken slave in the marketplace is chosen? While I may still chafe at my single, “on the market” status, that doesn’t have to define me. Because in the bigger, eternal state of things, I’m out of the marketplace, and I belong to Someone.