Fill me up, Lord

"You will seek me, & find me when you seek me w/ all your heart," God says. But that is not the whole story. I'm not just a searcher. I'm also a hider. You too. We have to come face-to-face w/ our tendency to hide, to get lost. ~John Ortberg, Love Beyond Reason

Saturday, January 13, 2007

This post had me weeping.

Thoughts from Carolyn McCulley:

The finish line is not the marriage altar, as good and right as marriage can be. The finish line is seeing your Lord and Savior face to face, in glory. Don't forget that when temptation comes around. You must remember that you are keeping yourself pure because it's your spiritual act of worship and praise (Romans 12:1-3)--not just because of the hope of a future husband. If you get married, your husband will no doubt praise you for your self-control and the gift of your purity to him. But your primary motivation must be to please your Savior, marriage or not.

Don't believe the lie that you are unimportant in God's eyes. You are an object of mercy, a trophy of God's grace, and a woman Jesus died for. Study Paul's letters. Read all that he wrote about God's work in drawing us to Himself. Immerse yourself in those rich, biblical truths until you no longer think the way the world thinks about winners and losers. That said, though, I need to remind you that you are, in fact, a loser. I'm a loser. Every single human being is a loser. Why? Because we all fall short of God's standard (Romans 3:23). BUT--and this is the wonderful fact--BUT, we have been chosen in Him to be redeemed, restored, and glorified (Romans 8:28-30). Unmerited favor, but we are recipients of it nonetheless, and equally so. No one is more redeemed in the Kingdom than the next person. Thus, you can be assured God is not ignoring you because He thinks someone else is more important. God is not like us in this way.

thoughts from her readers:

I love what CJ Mahaney said (when Josh quoted him in his book, Boy Meets Girl), Your greatest need is not a spouse. Your greatest need is to be saved from the wrath of God. It may be difficult but yes, God's grace is sufficient for us to overcome any trial!

"This week God has given me 2 Cor 12:9, "And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness, that the power of Christ may dwell in me". There are specific desires that I have and I am weak when it comes to submitting them to Jesus, but how much more will I one day see Jesus' power because I am fully aware that I CAN NOT submit these desires on my own. So I therefore boast in my weakness by saying, "Jesus, I'm so weak that I'm falling on my knees right where I'm at, PLEASE, meet me here and take these desires and lay them at Your feet where they belong!"

We have to ask God for deliverance from those feelings and to recognize that it is Satan trying to influence us in our weakness.

It's hard to believe this is the plan God has for me, unloved all my life. I'm glad this is not all there is. Don't give in, eternity awaits.

I will never give up hope and as I live I will still be praying and trusting God for a Christian husband, but as I look at the words on the placard just beneath my mantelpiece - Jeremiah 29 vs 11. 'For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future...' The main thread or essence that runs through this great passage from His Word is that GOD HAS GREAT PLANS FOR ALL OUR LIVES AND HE HAS ONLY OUR BEST INTEREST AT HEART.
Jill- sometimes it's very hard to believe that quote above in bold.

Marriage is a great blessing, but it's not a prize for the spiritually mature. And singlehood is not Plan B for the Christian life, however much we struggle with our natural human desires.

Unwanted singleness, however, does seem to me to be part of the larger problem of suffering. I believe that God is good and loving, and that in all things He works for our good and His glory. Even in our suffering. I have no idea how. But He does, and He will.

Of course we all want to be loved, deeply. We were made for companionship.

May God fulfill the desires of our hearts, brothers and sisters ... However, He chooses.

Where has the Church gone wrong? Instead of an Acts 2-like community that truly cares for one another's physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, we have become a building that houses a bunch of impersonal programs. VBS, youth groups, care meals for new parents, missions trips, Christmas shoe boxes for Third World children, singles groups... All of these are good things. But we are losing out on the better thing, the true knowing of God and of one another.

The enemy of our souls laughs and rejoices at this state of affairs.

When I feel overwhelmed with that piercing emptiness, that loneliness, is to ask the question with the Psalmist, "How long, O God?" The key is to go to the One who holds the key to our loneliness, to our future. He's the only One who knows what lies ahead, who knows what we are made of, and who can take us through it.

Remember that our Bridegroom has chosen us, called us, and given us an eternal, unbreakable commitment, more solid and sure than any promise any earthly man could make to us. He _chose_ us to be His representatives on earth for a brief handspan of time, but IS NOW and WILL for ETERNITY be cherishing us more deeply and completely than anyone else ever could.

"How long, O God?" Just for this brief life. That's how long married folks have to mirror Christ's relationship with His bride in their marriage relationship. That's how long any of us have to suffer sorrow, pain, and loss. That's how long we have to enjoy the gifts, the blessings, the freedoms, the other ways of looking at life, and the unique ways of serving the rest of Christ's bride that He has given us. Just one life is how long we have as singles to reflect Christ's redemptive power and incredible love and provision. We won't always FEEL or SEE His provision. But those God has providentially put alongside us on earth may only see Him as we honor or dishonor Him with our attitudes this side of eternity.

When I went through a very difficult season of discontent and anger towards the Lord, a wonderful friend compassionately pointed me to the following verses in Psalm 34. It has since become an anthem for me. Read the whole chapter as I have only included a few of the incredible truths:

"This poor man cried, and the Lord HEARD him and SAVED him out of ALL his troubles. Oh, TASTE and see that the Lord is GOOD! BLESSED is the man who takes refuge in him!... Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have NO LACK! Those who seek the Lord LACK NO GOOD THING. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and HIS EARS TOWARD THEIR CRYING. The Lord is NEAR TO THE BROKENHEARTED and saves the crushed in spirit. MANY are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord DELIVERS him out of them ALL."

Friends, God hears our cries - each and every one of them. Press on and pursue holiness. No, not to receive desires as rewards but because of WHO He is and WHAT He has done for you.

I understand those feelings of loneliness and pain, wondering where God is, what's wrong with me, feeling like second best in a church that prizes marriage and children, arching my eyebrows at the assumption that just because we're single, we want to mind other peoples' children (huh!?)and the list goes on. I think it's important that we reject the idea that we are second class citizens. It may just be the other way around. When I see some marriages, even Christian onerealizealise the compromises that have led to some of them - I don't mean the give and take of relationships, I mean that some of these marriages probably aren't ideal. (Jill: so very true!) Sometimes, it's just a matter of the music stopping and marrying the person next to you. Yes, there are some godly marriages around, but there are also a lot of marriages I wouldn't want to be a part of.

Why are there so many singles in church and not more of us lovely people married? It's a fallen world. Maybe this is my part of it to bear.

I will put my trust in you, O God, I will say you are my God, my times are in your haPsalmss (Ps 42).

There are so very many things to be discontent about, and I found myself mentally adding to the list (players, slim pickins, someone who likes you but not 'that way'...). Not to oversimplify, but I wonder if much of our suffering comes from a lack of understanding of what we have?

The fact is that even "the most cross-centered soul" (as an earlier post described us) can always find something it needs but doesn't have. The question I believe God asks consistently through Scripture is: What is it? The obvious and ultimate answer, which has been discussed, is God himself. But don't let's stop there.

What do I lack? Do I need a husband? Do I need food? Do I need a vacuum cleaner? Do I need a better car? Do I need a more fulfilling job? Do I need joy? Slapping a "Jesus died for me" band-aid on it is not going to heal the gaping wound. (James 2:15-16 - If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?) Needs are meant to be filled in a way that glorifies God as provider and the only completely trustworthy one.Has God deprived me of the one thing most needful? No. Like Mary, I have the One most needful, and nothing can take Him away from me.

(J: provocative thoughts below:)

As for marrying a non-Christian, Paul said it was better to marry than to burn. Author Henri Nouwen wondered if resentment or lust was the worse sin. Variation on a theme?

Jesus said to test him and to question him. I take this to mean you are supposed to think. I think it is much more useful to examine WHY God says don't do something. If you marry a non-Christian who remains a non-Christian even if you never have children or the other problems listed above, what about your husband? I don't know you, but I wouldn't be able to live my life happy and content while knowing my spouse was destined for Hell. I’d obsess about it day and night, trying to convert him. Then when he, rightly, insisted that I stop trying to force Jesus on him, I'd be even worse off. As for marrying a non-Christian, there are many things that are permissible for me but not everything is beneficial, and this is choice seems to have the potential to be devastating. You may wind up feeling like you didn’t REALLY know what loneliness was.

Proverbs says hope deferred makes the heart sick, so we all better start rowing.

I don't think I can hang on any longer either, but I know GOD IS GOOD. You and I will make it. We have come so far, please, don't give up. God is cheering for us and I am cheering for you. We are at war. God's enemy is prowling and seeking to take out those who belong to God. Satan is most afraid of what you are capable of doing for God's glory. If he can disable a child of God that's one less person he has to worry. Don't fall for his trap of lies. Hang in there. I know you are tired of people telling you to hang on and wondering how - when you don't feel like you have the strength, but you can - just take one step at a time. Each step you take will add up to many, and soon you'll see how far you have traveled with each step. The future is full of promises, embrace them. Learn to see beyond what you can see. You are created for a greater purpose. Actually, come to think of it, it takes courage and honesty for you to reach out with the article. I am encouraged by your story. Who know how many others you have comforted by sharing your struggles.

Original Post

http://solofemininity.blogs.com/posts/2006/08/i_cant_go_on_an.html

Website: Godward encouragement for Christian single women:

http://solofemininity.blogs.com

May God pour out abundant, sustaining grace on you.

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