Don’t Give Up In the Middle of the Story!

What a difference a few weeks can make. Here’s a bit of an exchange I had with a brother from back east. God had been doing a work in his heart that was drawing him closer to his Father, but at the same time he found himself increasingly isolated from the friends he used to share congregational life with. He was feeling lonely and desperate for fellowship.

In April he wrote me sharing how lonely he felt:

Your response to my statements regarding loneliness and intensity are no surprise. I admit that I have always struggled with insecurity. I probably over compensate resulting in the intensity thing. I was an only child and adopted and have always battled feelings of rejection. A lot of all of this is probably just plain old self pity. I always have to come back to the promises of my Father. I must admit a certain amount of envy of those who seem to have close relationships.

I hope that I can come to a place of balance in this security thing. On the one hand I am so afraid of developing relationships because I don’t want to get hurt and on the other hand I often push way too hard trying to achieve them. I seem to go from one extreme to the other. I have many weaknesses and behave very foolishly at times. I glad He doesn’t reject weak and foolish people.

At the time I wrote him back:

God wants to be your first relationship, the one that meets all other needs for it. You may be focusing so much on a godly man in your area that you are missing the other points of relationship he is giving you just now. I love what he is doing in your family and would encourage you just to enjoy that for now. When you least expect it (and I also think when we stop looking for it on our terms), you’ll find the relationships you’re looking for. We really can work too hard and unintentionally subvert the thing we desire. God knows what you need and more importantly how he is going to provide for it. But first, I think he wants to be enough for you. If you never met another believer with your hunger for as long as you lived, his presence would be enough for you.

I’m praying that God will sort this out in you. You’ve not been outside that long, Bro, though I’m sure you’ve felt like an ‘outsider’ for a long time. But God will bring about the relationship he desires when he is ready. Don’t think connecting to someone thousands of miles away, or getting linked to a ‘network’ is going to resolve all of that. I meet scores of lonely people in ‘networks’, because man’s kind of networking doesn’t work either.

It’s amazing what has happened sense. Over the last few days I’ve watched with joy as more of the story has unfolded. God has connected him with some wonderful people in his region of the country and is now bringing those connections closer:

Remember how I said a few weeks ago that Father might connect me with someone right across the street. We’ll, the connections are getting closer. Today, by e-mail, I met another dear brother. He lives ten miles away in the city where my old (traditional fellowship) is.

It only demonstrates how great Father is at taking care of His own. His faithfulness is so awesome and so much greater than ours. I am seeing that it is His faithfulness that is the basis of the new covenant, not ours. We wouldn’t have even a mustard seed of faith if not for His marvelous gift. So why struggle to try to work up faith or anything for that matter…. I am somewhat overwhelmed by His goodness to me of late. I can’t think of anything or anyone that I would rather be overwhelmed by. His presence is slowly consuming me, a Fire that burns but does not destroy. I just sit in awe at His feet and see how awesome He really is. Who could not love, with all of their being, a God like Him. I struggle trying to find Him for so many years and He was there all the time. It is so awesome that He permits us to be part of the process of revealing Himself to others, to use us as His loving arms and as His feet to go into all the world. As they see our devoted love to Him and to one another more and more will come and eat at His table.

Four months later and so much has changed. From the despair of loneliness to overwhelming gratefulness at that which God has provided. Sometimes it can really help for us to remember that on any given day we’re in the middle of a story. The last chapter has yet been written. The story will still unfold and God will have incredible things ahead that we can’t quite see today. In this process you’ll find yourself dying to your own agenda so that you can embrace God’s way of doing things. That’s where the life and joy of this kingdom reside, not in getting our wants fulfilled our way.

So, keep leaning into Jesus. Let him be enough for you and watch what he will unfold in his time.

In unrelated developments, we were able to bring my dad, home from the hospital today. He is continuing to heal in textbook fashion and for that we are grateful to God and those who have held him in your prayers. His story is still unfolding as well.

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10 Comments
  1. Jason August 6, 2004 at 11:44 pm

    Wow! Awesome! Praise the Lord! Just like the Apostle Paul, keep persuing. What an encouragement. I have also had to, and still am, learning how much God loves me. I guess for some, the realization comes naturally, but for most, it is a process. No matter how you feel, keep turning to God at all costs. I beleive that is how a lot of growth in love for God occurs, as well as personal growth. Even when you don’t feel like a relationship, CHOOSE to have the relationship anyway. Just be honest and ask God to increase your desire to seek and love His Son!

  2. Jason August 7, 2004 at 2:44 am

    Wow! Awesome! Praise the Lord! Just like the Apostle Paul, keep persuing. What an encouragement. I have also had to, and still am, learning how much God loves me. I guess for some, the realization comes naturally, but for most, it is a process. No matter how you feel, keep turning to God at all costs. I beleive that is how a lot of growth in love for God occurs, as well as personal growth. Even when you don’t feel like a relationship, CHOOSE to have the relationship anyway. Just be honest and ask God to increase your desire to seek and love His Son!

  3. george August 8, 2004 at 6:15 am

    Wayne,

    Thank you for being faithful to our Daddy!

    We are thankful that you allowed Father to use you to connect us to the person you mentioned in this post.

    When we searched for fellowship we had none.

    But when Jesus became enough then we began to find fellowship all over the place.

    Thanks for being a vessel of Daddy’s Love.

    Peace

  4. george August 8, 2004 at 9:15 am

    Wayne,

    Thank you for being faithful to our Daddy!

    We are thankful that you allowed Father to use you to connect us to the person you mentioned in this post.

    When we searched for fellowship we had none.

    But when Jesus became enough then we began to find fellowship all over the place.

    Thanks for being a vessel of Daddy’s Love.

    Peace

  5. Matt August 9, 2004 at 7:01 am

    "Sometimes it can really help for us to remember that on any given day we’re in the middle of a story."

    That is wonderfully simple and profound. This is so easy to forget; thanks for this encouraging story!

  6. Matt August 9, 2004 at 10:01 am

    "Sometimes it can really help for us to remember that on any given day we’re in the middle of a story."

    That is wonderfully simple and profound. This is so easy to forget; thanks for this encouraging story!

  7. Miss O'Hara August 9, 2004 at 6:37 pm

    Gosh. I needed this today – I’ve been battling loneliness myself, as it’s very difficult to find like-minded Christians of my own age (late 20s) where I live who aren’t totally preoccupied with career. Thanks for the encouragement. I sure am trying to lean on God!

  8. Miss O'Hara August 9, 2004 at 9:37 pm

    Gosh. I needed this today – I’ve been battling loneliness myself, as it’s very difficult to find like-minded Christians of my own age (late 20s) where I live who aren’t totally preoccupied with career. Thanks for the encouragement. I sure am trying to lean on God!

  9. Dale January 22, 2011 at 10:06 am

    I typed loneliness into your search engine and read this tonight. This is right where I am, smack bang in the middle of loneliness, all of my own making. I have been quite sad, but I have renewed hope that God is enough, he wants to fill this place, it will be ok. Will try to relax a little about my situation.

  10. Dale January 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I typed loneliness into your search engine and read this tonight. This is right where I am, smack bang in the middle of loneliness, all of my own making. I have been quite sad, but I have renewed hope that God is enough, he wants to fill this place, it will be ok. Will try to relax a little about my situation.

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