God is a keeper of promises. He has made us a lot of promises, all of them good, but none of them said that this would be easy. After the fall in Eden, life went from being something simple and beautiful and became about survival. We were promised forever, and we threw it away. Ever since then, we don’t get to have it easy, but what we do get is assurance that we won’t be alone.
Life can be a hard and painful experience. It can be harsh, and cruel. And though it can sometimes feel lonely, we aren’t ever really alone. God promised that He would never leave nor forsake Israel (Duet 31:6), or in today’s case, His people, those who love Him and live as He has called us.
I struggle with this, because if I’m honest, I’ve spent most of my life feeling alone. My childhood was etched out with feelings of total isolation. My teen years were years of feeling older than my peers, but not quiet an adult. I never felt like I fit anywhere. I moved out when I was 15. While the rest of my friends were worried about dating and homework, I was trying to make sure I could afford groceries after rent. I was older than everyone my age, and yet not old enough to really befriend those who were sharing in similar life experiences as me.
It was, however, that time of my life, when I had a lot of alone time in my new (tiny) apartment, I was able to feel God’s presence with me for the first time. It was in my loneliness, and in the first quiet I had ever experienced, that I could hear his gentle whisper assuring me that He was there, and that I was not alone.
And guess what! Life didn’t get easier!!!!
In fact, in many ways, my life has only gotten more difficult, more isolated, and more lonely.
Fast forward fourteen years and I am one of the last of my friends who isn’t married, and who doesn’t have kids yet. I often feel like the last person on earth who still hasn’t had an actual “boyfriend”. I’m, now, 29 and have never managed to make it farther than the “talking” stage. It’s easy for me to consider myself the common denominator, and think it must be me and not the guys, right?
Add to that the all-too-common story of getting whatever job I could after graduating from college and not using my degree, and being asked to move back home after my grandfather had a stroke, to help out the family, and I’m your typical success story. Adulting at it’s finest!
See the Bible never said that once you become a christian life is going to get easier. In fact, if you look a little closer, it almost seems to argue the opposite.
It shows a group of guys go from being fisherman, with their biggest concern being not catching any fish, to a group of men who were martyred. It shows a man leaving behind a respectable reputation to be flogged, and stoned, beaten with rods, shipwrecked, and later killed. He worked hard, and did what he had to, to survive. It shows an entire people group roaming the desert for 40 years.
It shows fisherman who were taught to pursue what really matters. It showed a respectable man humble himself and grow in passion for God. It showed an entire people group led out to the quiet of the desert and taught to trust.
The Bible doesn’t say follow Jesus and life will be easy.
The Bible says follow Jesus, fall in love with him, and life will be worth it.
See, when I chose to follow Jesus, He never promised me a fairy tale romance, or my own place, or my dream job. When I chose Jesus, I chose to stop pursuing those things, and to start pursuing Him.
When I chose God, I chose him in my loneliness, or my relationships. I chose him in my house, or in my family home. I chose him in my career, or in my job. Because when I chose God, I chose less of me, and to focus more on Him. And when I remember to actually live that way, I’m not lonely, I am not discontent. He works all things for my good.
Though life may not look how I hoped it would, it has purpose, it has meaning, and it has substance… and that is not a life you regret. That is a life worth living.