“The pain of loneliness is one way in which He wants to get our attention. We may be earnestly desiring to be obedient and holy. But we may be missing the fact that it is here, where we happen to be at this moment and not in another place or another time, that we may learn to love Him – here where it seems He is not at work, where He seems obscure or frightening, where He is not doing what we expected Him to do, where He is most absent. Here and nowhere else is the appointed place. If faith does not go to work here, it will not work at all.” ~Elisabeth Elliot
Go back and read the quote again. Chew on it a bit. Better yet, go read “The Path of Loneliness”; it’s a good book that is well worth your time. But if you prefer highlights, here’s a collection of quotes that are loaded with truth: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/6264.Elisabeth_Elliot
I will not attempt to re-do her work, for her words are ones spoken out of tested faith and a walk with God that I crave but do not yet know the depths of. I am young and my words are woefully feeble compared to hers.
But I have invited you to walk with me through my journey a bit, asked you to wrestle with truth on the topic of Singleness, Ministry, and Obedience, shared with you how even in the What If . . . Then God is faithful and good. So perhaps it is only right to share a bit of how God has been working and what has been helping me.
I have spent copious amounts of time in God’s Word. More than I ever have before. I’ve pressed into it. Studied it, using the Give Me Jesus journal. Meditated on it. Prayed through it. Listened to it. Read it. Made it the soundtrack of my days with the Dwell app. My Bible is filling with notes and scribbles and underlining. I’ve refined my music selection to be only that which is rich in Biblical truth and points me to Christ.
Not because I’m “so holy”, but because, quite honestly, I’m not. I need Him desperately and I am a sinner dependent fully upon His grace. He has given me a hunger for His Word that is both fully satisfied and never satisfied all at once. And He has revealed Himself in those holy pages.
More than anything, He has showed Himself to be who He says He is. Not by changing my circumstances. Not by answering my questions. But by revealing Himself to me. By showing me more and more of Who He is.
The Bible is first and foremost a book about God, after all. So instead of reading it just to find out what I should do and how God will answer my questions . . . I have read it to find out Who He is, what it tells me about Him, to understand (though it is incomprehensible) how He works and what He is all about and what His grand story is.
Perhaps I don’t need an explanation to my circumstances or answers to my questions. Sure, God can answer specifically about specific things – and He has, at times. But I don’t need to know the “why’s” of everything.
I need to know Him. Christ and Him crucified.
And if I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection, I must also share in His sufferings. A servant is not above his master.
So, yes, it means pressing on. There are things to obey and He cares about my conduct and pursuit of godliness. I desire to be obedient and holy. And when I wrote that post about singleness, I was wanting to be obedient to the way He designed His world with marriage as normative.
But He hasn’t yet called me to marriage. He may guide my path to include it later, and He may even ask me to be intentional about seeking it, like doing online dating. I must be open to obey whatever He asks me to.
Today, though, I must walk through what He has actually asked me to walk through, not wish it different.
Sometimes that’s the path of loneliness. Sometimes it’s suffering of various sorts. I’m rather unfit to speak of that, for I have not known real suffering. But I have friends who have. And I have watched them allow Christ to refine them and make them like Himself and they are beautiful, beautiful women who have become more so because of the trials they have walked through.
“Here and nowhere else is the appointed place. If faith does not go to work here, it will not work at all.”
If I am walking in obedience and “here” is where God has called me to – then this is the appointed place. If I am walking in disobedience, that’s another matter entirely. But if, to the best of my ability, I have sought God’s will and obeyed what I know to do, then this is where I may best learn to love Him. This is where I am being called to have faith go to work.
This verse has taken on beautiful meaning to me: “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” – 1 Peter 4:19
First, I must ask if I am doing God’s will. If yes, and I am suffering (using that term to encompass whatever trial God is asking me to walk through, even if it something comparatively small like singleness or barrenness), this is what is being asked of me:
I must entrust myself to Him. I must know Who He is: my faithful Creator. And then I must do good. Whatever the next right thing to do is.
Friends, whatever God has asked you to walk through, no matter how difficult, no matter how menial, no matter how much you chose it or didn’t choose it, can you see it as an opportunity to let faith go to work?
Entrust yourself to Him. Know Who He is. Press into Christ, press into His Word, seek to know Him. Then do good. Leaving the results in His hands.
Our God is sovereign and good. A faithful Creator. We have a living hope in a living God.
Will faith go to work . . . here? May the answer be yes.