“I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.” (1 Corinthians 7:26–28, AV)
It was a normal day in the neighborhood. Sally fell off her bicycle and knocked out two teeth. Bobby came home with a report from the teacher that he is failing third grade. Dad’s boss spoke of an impending layoff. The hot water heater just went out and its going to cost $1,000 to fix it, replace the plumbing and the electrical. One car is in the shop and they can’t get the part to fix it. Food prices are skyrocketing, gas prices also, and wages are going nowhere. Needless to say, mom and dad are stressed and at each other over everything. It is like the world is about to explode. What is the problem?
Often there are times of great distress in our lives. The previous family scenario was fictitious, but not far from the reality that people often experience. Yes, there are times when things go well, like vacations, well some vacations. Yet the pressures of life are there always.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians and told them that when they got saved, that they should stay in the situation they were with regards to marriage. Those who were single should remain single and those who were married should not seek divorce. This was his thought and not a command from the Lord. He also told them that if the single person could not control his or her sexual desires, that they should marry.
Why did he tell them to remain single if possible? It was because of the “present distress.” He was speaking of the stresses caused by the circumstances of life. He then tells them that those who are married will “have trouble in the flesh” and he wants to spare them from this trouble. The word “trouble,” thlipsin, means pressure, referring to afflictions, burdens, persecutions, tribulations, troubles (Strong G2347).
Now, we do not know exactly to what Paul referred when he wrote of “present distress.” It could have been the normal circumstances of life. It could also have been persecution. Perhaps Paul saw the persecution that was about to get severe against the church and Christians. What ever it was, Paul indicated that the struggles would be compounded for those believers who were married.
Raising a family is hard work. It brings with it its own set of difficulties. Yet, family is a foundational institution ordained by God. Without family, the world as we know it would cease. Thus, it behooves each and everyone of us who believe to sort through the struggles of life by God’s grace and His wisdom. This is especially so for the Christian family.
How do we do this? The first step is to have our lives built upon the solid foundation of Christ and the word of God. Remember, the wise man built his house upon the rock. This foundation will uphold the Christian and Christian families through all the storms of life. It is the walk of faith, a walk based upon the precepts of Scripture. It has to do with the vitality and intimacy of our walk with the Lord. Yes, it might be easier for those who are not married, but for most of us, we do not have this gift of being able to live as a single person. We need the support of a spouse. Yet, we must make sure that our homes are set apart for the presence of the Lord and that they have a firm foundation, whether we are single or married.