Right now God’s provision for me is going against my strongest human longings. I desire to be near family and friends and to live my life in fellowship with them. Get togethers. Lunch. Birthdays. Christmas dinner.
A couple of years ago my life assignment ended and I searched for what was next. After a short transition, God opened a way for me to come to this city—a job and place to live.
But I’m lonely.
In my head I know God led me here out of His unmatched wisdom and love. In my heart I long to be more with people I care about and who care about me.
So, I’m caught in between God’s will and mine.
Really, there’s no contest. Abandonment, betrayal, heartbreak, chaos, economic reversals, love shining down on me, miracles, intimate leading and teaching from God, and many other forces little and big, over a long period of time, have drawn me close to Jesus. It wasn’t me and some superior logic or spirituality. It was Him patiently leading me along inch by inch.
Now my heart is more in sync with His. I have a deep knowing about what He’s up to in me…what He wants. His will.
And I know in my soul that His will is for me to stay put.
So I remain.
Loneliness is a kind of suffering. I know I’m not alone in experiencing pain—the Syrian refugee families, the poor living in tenements only a stone’s throw from the rich, hungry children, the elderly who are homeless in my city because of the rising costs of housing, victims of violence…
In comparison my suffering seems light indeed.
Yet I know from past pain that to suffer is to be admitted into a higher realm of understanding—if I will open the door and step in.
The door opens for me when I get quiet and hold my agony up to God. Is He busy elsewhere and unconcerned about me? Is my loneliness the result of random circumstances and nothing can be done?
Worse, is this all my fault somehow?
Immediately, I sense the truth:
God is here with me and knows intimately every thought in my mind and longing in my soul. He loves me and cares deeply about me. I sit with that truth.
Thank you, Father, for your love and presence with me.
He will use every circumstance to grow me and reveal more of who He is. The clouds in my life allow the light of His presence to shine brighter. What I gain during this time will be worth it.
Thank you, Father. You are the best prize. No one compares to you.
Suffering loosens my ties to earth, to life here and now. Greater space opens up in my heart for me to imagine life—eternal life—with the Lover of my soul.
I love the glimpses you are giving me, Jesus. What’s coming will be so wonderful. Hope grows big inside of me.
There’s something else going on. Suffering is a knife cutting away falsity and shallowness. Compassion floats up. The real me and what I’m called to is revealed.
I see, Jesus, that you are using circumstances to bring about what I desire most—all of me as an instrument in your Hand. There’s nothing better. This is what I’m born for.
“Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” – Jesus (Mark 3:14 NIV)
photo credit: JSmith@flickr.com (creative commons)