Thursday, November 4, 2010


Two lovers who are separated geographically can dwell mentally in the past and the future, reliving the happiness of having been together and anticipating the joy of reunion. It is quite possible to waste the present altogether but also possible to learn from the experience of separation and loneliness whether in a relationship or not. Here’s how:

Be still and know that He is God. When you are lonely, too much stillness is exactly the thing that seems to be laying waste your soul. Use that stillness to quiet your heart before God. Get to know Him. If He is God, He is still in charge.

Remember that you are not alone. “The Lord, He it is that doth go with thee. He will hot fail thee nor forsake thee. Be strong and of good courage.” (Deut. 31:8) Jesus promised His disciples, “Lo, I am with you always.” (Matt. 28:20). Never mind if you cannot feel His presence. He is there, never for one moment forgetting you.

Give thanks. In times of the greatest loneliness be lifted up by the promise of 2 Corinthians 4:17,18, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” This is something to thank God for. This loneliness itself, which seems a weight, will be far outweighed by glory.

Refuse self pity. Refuse it absolutely. It is a deadly thing with power to destroy you. Turn your thoughts to Christ who has asks us to cast our burdens upon Him.

Accept your loneliness. It is one stage, and only one stage, on a journey that brings you to God. It will not always last.

Offer up your loneliness to God, as the little boy offered to Jesus his five loaves and two fishes. God can transform it for the good of others.

Do something for somebody else. No matter who or where you are, there is something you can do, somebody who needs you. Pray that you may be an instrument of God’s peace, that where there is loneliness you may bring joy.

The important thing is to receive this moments experience with both hands. Don’t waste it. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be God’s will.
A lovely moonlit night, but I am alone. Shall I resent the very moonlight itself because my lover is somewhere else?
A cozy candlelit supper with friends – couples, except for me. Shall I be miserable all evening because they are together and I am single? Have I been “cheated”? Who cheated me?
The phone rings. Oh! Maybe it will be he! It’s a wrong number or some annoying acquaintance. Shall I be rude because he ought to have been somebody else?
When Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians about the happy certainty of heaven, he went on to say, “This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys – we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles.
Even when I’m feeling alone – on that moonlit night, in the middle of the candlelit supper, when the phone call doesn’t come – can I be “full of joy here and now”? Yes. Scripture supports it.
“Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us.”
Taken in the right spirit. These are operative words. The empty house, the wrong voice on the phone have no particular magic in themselves that will make a mature character out of a lonely man or woman.
They will never produce a steady hope. Not at all. The effect of our troubles depends not on the nature of the troubles themselves but on how we receive them. I can receive them with both hands in faith and acceptance, or I can rebel and reject. What they produce if I rebel and reject will be something nobody is going to like. Look at the choices:

Rebellion – if this is the will of God for me now, He doesn’t love me.
Rejection – if this is what God is giving me, I won’t have any part of it.
Faith – God knows exactly what He’s doing.
Acceptance – He loves me; He plans good things for me; I’ll take it.

The words “full of joy here and now” depend on the words “taken in the right spirit.” You can’t have one without the other. Taken in a spirit of trust, even loneliness contributes to the maturing of character, even the endurance of separation and silence and that hardest thing of all uncertainty, can build in us a steady hope.

By Elisabeth Elliot

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