Sunday, August 12, 2012

Oh hush! Not all of us can afford to be romantic

Oh hush! Not all of us can afford to be romantic. I've been offered a comfortable home and protection. There's alot to be thankful for. -Charlotte Lucas, Pride and Prejudice by: Jane Austen

Normally I would not be quick to quote something from a more secular writer, certainly a writer concerned about the improvement of society, yet also seems to share some biblical truths underlying in a more socially formidable word. Despite my hesitancy to quote a secular writer, I have found a most important subject to write about after watching Pride and Prejudice again.

This quote, was stated to Elizabeth Bennet when Charlotte Lucas was telling her she had decided to marry the man with whom Elizabeth had just denied his hand in marriage, for his lack of decency. But I feel it has more truth today in the Christian circle then most like to claim. And so I pray that on behalf of my sisters gathered around me, this will not be said either by me, or by any of you who choose to marry a man out of comfort and protection.

It was my fear in walking out of a previous relationship by the grace of God that I may not ever be invited into another man's life for the rest of my life. After walking away from this previous relationship and seeing it from the outside I realized my most ardent fears were wrapped up in what I thought to be comfort and protection. He would provide a home, an income, a comfortable way of living what most consider the "american dream." And yet, all my life since I was 15 years old and stepped foot in a hospital in Kenya I had known the "american dream" was not at all what I desired. In fact it became my biggest fear to settle in what people call a comfortable home, and to become ignorant to the need of those outside of this 'first world country'. I had been awakened to a life worth living for in Christ, and yet with him I was picturing myself settling for a life outside the will of God. 

And then it came to me by the spirit inside of me: I shall not fear that which has not yet overcome me nor should I fear that which does not have the power to overcome me.

Once alive in Christ always alive in Christ, always able to walk away from that which is hindering you from His presence. And faithfully by the power of the Living Spirit inside of me, strength given by a Holy Righteous perfect Father, I walked away from a relationship with somebody who I knew one thing about, he could offer me a comfortable home and protection, and he was "sort of" a Christ-following man. (a great guy, not to take away from who he has become now in Christ, he was not for me)

And on the other side of the freedom in grace in being relieved of that burden, I walked a little further away from the Lord, and then heard His voice behind me saying as I looked to the left and to the right "this is the way. Walk in it." (Isaiah 30:21) and as I began walking closer to the Lord I felt Him painting a better picture for me of what He desired to do with me. And I continued in singleness for a year and a half only going on a couple of friendly dates with men who I felt were madly in love with the Lord. After all, it is their hearts for the Lord which I saw myself being led by, and only if I could see myself being led spiritually by them would I even agree to a friendly coffee date. And alas, many great incredible godly men, but none who would so far as "catch my eye," or resemble the man the Lord had given me a clear biblical vision of. (not to say that they weren't all great guys, they were, just not the one the Lord was calling me to< that was clear)

And then the infamous questions that come to your mind when being pursued by all the wrong guys:

Am I being too romantic? 
- Song of Solomon - definitely not
Are my standards too high? 
- for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure Philippians 2:14
Should I reevaluate my thoughts on singleness?
- I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 1 Corinthians 7:6-8
- only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. 1 Corinthians 7:17
I'm pretty sure the Lord is going to make it clear.
- The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard: "Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it-the Lord is His name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:1-3
What if I missed out on who the Lord had planned for me?
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:5-7
What if it is one of these guys?
Have I made a mistake? 
Have I gotten caught up in this idea that the Lord will draw me to him? 
Have I been misled?
Am I being ignorant?
Am I being selfish?
(you get the picture)

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

So, with that picture of scriptures answers to all of my selfish questions, I came back to one thing. Jesus Christ is Lord, His ultimate desire for my life is to live it fulfilling the Gospel, fulfilling the Word and Truth of a Savior worth dying for. If He desires my ultimate good for His ultimate glory, then what have I to trust but His sufficient grace and sovereign will? I am a sinner saved by grace alone through faith alone, and that is not by my own doing, but it is a gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

He knows where I come from and He knows where I am going, therefore I will trust in Him. My gift of singleness went on and on (or so it seemed), and I was absolutely blessed beyond comparison, moving to Uganda alone, moving to the Middle East alone, and moving to Haiti alone, alone with Christ. And in the moments when I wished that I could cry out to my brother, my best friend, and my beloved, I cried out to my One True and most Faithful Beloved, Brother, and Best friend, Jesus Christ. And in this season of singleness I grew more abundantly in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, that I could not have even thought of being with someone. It was what I wanted, to be completely and utterly devoted to my Savior in a way that could not be shaken even if He called me to run this race with somebody else.

And it was only when I had decided Christ was all I wanted and needed that our Father would decide to give me what He desired for me to bring Him more glory. 

So yes this quote remains true, many sisters are trading what the Lord has intended for them for a comfortable home and protection. But I beg you sisters, do not give up on God's will for your life. It is better then you can even imagine. It is more then you can dream for, and it will satisfy our Father in faith, instead of attempting to make what you desire what God desires. Religiousity is a dangerous place to be in. A place where you will not see the face of God for your attempts to be seen by the outside world. 

I only say this because I have been there. I have been in 3 relationships where I would attempt to remain "faithful" or to bring our relationship into the center of God's will, but it was all in vain because it was not what the Lord desired for His glory. I can sit here and pretend and lie to you and say those 3 relationships were 'good' because we went to church together, would talk about the bible every once in a while, and would even pray together when it was most convenient for us (and very rarely) <<"I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth...Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent." Revelation 3:15-16, 19

God our Father, our Maker, our Creator, the One who made us to bring Him more glory and to live a full life, He has also made another creation for us. He has made and called a man to be all that He has desired for him to be. He has created a man, full of the Holy Spirit, loving as Christ loved us, and willing to sacrifice his own pleasures for the sake of the Gospel, for you, for me, for all of His precious daughters and princesses. 

I pray with all of my heart my sisters, that you will see how beautiful the love story of Song of Solomon is. That you may see that it is not a story that has just come and pass, but our Father desires this same story to be revealed in it's own unique nature in our lives. No it won't be perfect, it won't be all that you dreamed it to be, it will be better, because you will be standing in the center of God's will not questioning whether to turn to the left or to the right but knowing that He has called you to that place, and knowing there is no other place in the world you would rather be. It will be obvious whom the Lord is calling you to, and you will never for a moment question whether it is "good," because if the Lord has ordained it, then you know it can be nothing but good.

As I seek the Father's heart more and more I realize who the Lord has called me to, and I realize it is good despite both of our temptations to abide by our sinful flesh. He is redeeming us, making us clean, convicting us, and continually leading us by His good and perfect will. 

And I pray against Satan's temptations to create jealous hearts in any of us, brothers and sisters. Yes, Chase is an incredible man of God, called by His grace to learn to love and care for me, and allow me to serve him in the same way. But I want you to know sisters that the man God has planned for each of you is worth waiting for. It may seem like ages, and it may feel like you will never be invited into a man's life again, but that is one thing you don't have to worry about because you were already invited into the Man's life, the One True Beloved's life, into the bosom of Jesus Christ. And there your soul eternally rests. Whether you will be called to marry or not, you are completely, one hundred percent satisfied by the blood and redeeming love of Jesus Christ.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4