Notes from Norman

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Singleness & Marriage on the Mission Field

by Norman P. Grubb

The single woman who has gone through is the finest missionary on earth. Because she has suffered as we haven’t. You married men and women be careful of selfishness. I never like to see, in the company of two or three, husbands always sitting by wives. “Oh darling this and darling that.” I leave mine behind. It’s far the best thing to do. My wife and I have an understanding. I’m not first in her life—I’m about a bad number three. Jesus Christ is first, the children are second, and I’m forgotten. She is not first in my life, Jesus Christ is, and then the children have to fit in somewhere. And she has to fit in nowhere. Get out of this business of “lovey, dovey” stuff! Be soldiers. Every missionary ought to be a soldier, the husband as much as the wife and the wife as much as the husband. A lot of the illnesses of husbands come about by the dear wife saying, “Oh, you poor dear, you are so tired.” Of course that makes him tired. And, “Oh dear wife you must be looked after.” We can get noble single women to go anywhere for Jesus alone, but if it’s a wife! “Oh no I couldn’t leave my wife alone there. Oh dear no, no!” Somebody might come in and attack her or something. Well, let her be attacked for Jesus’ sake. It won’t hurt. Can’t we do a little soldiering for Jesus? Our soldiers fight and die; can’t we fight and die for a higher army?

So you husbands and wives watch this lovey-dovey business. At least keep it in secret. And not more than one minute a day! And when we are in a community, be in a community. Don’t make the single one feel that there is something special about you two, and that the other one has to fit in as best she can. That is why I always have a deep sympathy for single women. They have a battle that only eternity will reveal. I’ll never forget a fine missionary whom I met the last time I was in Africa. She was about 50. She stirred my heart when she said, “Brother, I never got through until God showed me that the sin (she called it a sin; I think she wrongly used the word there) I had deep down and unconquered was my desire for marriage.” But it wasn’t a sin. What she meant was that deep down in her heart there was resentment, a certain resentment that she hadn’t a partner in life. But she said, “When I realized that, I looked it in the face and saw that this was God’s purpose for me. I took it to the cleansing Blood and had real deliverance.” And that’s some deliverance! After all, I’ve had a wife for 4 and 30 years, so I can’t talk. That is why I say single missionaries are first line and all the rest of us are second line missionaries. Look up I Cor. 7 if you don’t know what I mean.

Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954
Topic: “Temptation”