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:
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:
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:
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.