“When He has tested me I shall come forth as gold.”
Job 23 v 10
When I look through my box of stones, I am sad at how quickly I have forgotten the circumstances in which they came to me. How thankful I am too though that I wrote down on small cards a reminder of those times. A particular card was entitled Loneliness. You don’t have to be alone to feel lonely.
We may have busy lives filled with family, friends and a full diary. We may have finances, a nice home; brilliant job with great future prospects – ‘I wish!’ I hear you say (chuckle). We may be very involved in various aspects of church life. We might know the scriptures inside-out, yet something is missing and no matter what we do, nothing fills that void within us. We fear talking to anyone in case we’re judged as unbelievers. Maybe you, my dear reader, have never really known Father intimately. God seems a million miles away!
Maybe we had a vibrant spirit-filled walk, yet as time passed we find the flame of faith has become a flicker, the roaring fire in our heart now a dying ember. Rather than longing to sit expectantly at the Saviour’s banquet table, we have let ourselves scramble like dogs for the ‘crumbs from their master’s table’, because we don’t feel worthy. (Matt. 15v23)
We’ve done what we feel has been expected of us; said what we think people want to hear. If in fact we ever knew Jesus at all, what has happened is that we have replaced a ‘relationship with Father’, with plain old religion. When we finally realise our need we feel helpless. Father will always want to fill us with His love and presence, no matter how we feel. But at times like these we find it hard to trust, or step out in faith to open up to Him.
Be encouraged dear reader. He doesn’t lead us blind-folded into any difficult place to stop, remove our blind-fold and say: “Right here you are – get on with it – I’m off!” No, He promises: “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear…, for the Lord your God (If you’ve made Him your Father that is), He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deut. 31:6. This means we will NEVER be alone – ever!
We need to lay down our needy life at the foot of the cross, repent of a hardened heart and receive His love, forgiveness and passion. This is NOT a one-time surrender my friend! It is a daily sacrifice! When this happens, our lives are transformed, our faith and trust in His Word becomes more than our closest friend, for His Word (Scripture) is the Bread of Life. Feed on it (read and meditate on it) and live.
Dear reader, I speak here from experience. I’ve known loneliness and may do again. The times when I’ve not been recognised for something; when I don’t ‘fit’ into a particular group; when I’ve messed up big time or feel of little use anymore.
I can look back and see where the enemy’s army waited. His spirits of resentment, bitterness and self-pity ready to jump on my back. Little did I realise at the time that the good Shepherd was leading me through those places to a more intimate knowing and trusting Him is called ‘dying to self – more of Him, less of me’.
I cannot remember now how I came to have this stone, only that the card states it was at a time when I felt particularly lonely, bereft even after a close friend moved hundreds of miles away. I missed her dreadfully.
This stone is Pyrite (Fool’s gold) which contains Sulphar and Iron.
I am not foolish to desire more of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. Ps.14v1 says: “The fool in his heart says there is no God”. It would certainly be foolish to ignore what Father is doing because when He is finished testing and refining me, I will be just like the real stuff – real gold, precious, refined and pure!
So start trusting Father today, it takes time for the Holy Spirit to change us, because He does not invade us – He must come invited.
God bless you.
Our Father, thank you for leading me to the place of loneliness and forgive me for my cold hardened heart, melt it and break the chain around it, put Your seed of love there. Behold me, here I am, an empty vessel for you to use as you will. Come Holy Spirit and fill me to overflowing with the flood-tide of Your Love. In Jesus name, Amen.