[This blog post is part of a series called 'Hard' truth]
This series has turned out a little longer than I anticipated. This is it though. I’m drawing the line. These are the last couple of ‘hard’ truths I’m going to share:
Christians should be a hungry people. In June I was thinking about fasting for my dad’s salvation but I was about to go on a mission trip for two weeks, and there were a ton of reasons it wasn’t convenient timing. Thankfully a friend encouraged me to follow the leading of Scripture and the Spirit and let fasting be the exclamation point to my prayers. If I would have waited I would have missed the opportunity to intercede for my dad in that way.
Piper describes fasting as a demonstration of our desperate need for God. He points out that we don’t see a ton of fasting in the American church because we aren’t really desperate for much.
There aren’t a lot of things I want enough that I’d be willing to skip a meal. That makes me sad. Mainly because there’s one thing I want to want desperately – and that’s the return of Christ. One thing I learned this summer is that fasting increases my desire as much as it demonstrates my desires. Even when my heart can’t catch up, my soul’s desires can be demonstrated through my physical hunger, and the hunger teaches my heart holy dissatisfaction.
Singleness is good. When I was a kid I used to get anxiety thinking about losing a parent. I was a strategy gal from a young age so I came up with two options: a) die first b) be married and have a family of my own before my mom or dad died.
But that’s not how God is writing my life. Once again – He and I are on different pages. Once again – I have the choice before me to submit in trust to His wisdom over mine or to be dragged kicking and screaming through life.
I thought I knew that singleness was ‘good’ going into this. I’ve written my fair share of blogs on the subject, after all. But I don’t want to lie to you. It’s been rocky. I feel alone in a new way. I feel entitled to a person – just one – in my life who is required to walk through this with me. And there are a lot of days when I want to grab onto anyone who walks past me, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone there at all.
Still, in His great sovereign design He prepared me well for this with circumstance and His word. He set me up to be single for this and He’s teaching me a new kind of ‘good’ in singleness.
I’m someone who leans quite heavily on my friends. I have a hard time even knowing what I’m thinking until I have processed it verbally with someone. In France, spending time with my dad, I literally had no access to the usual forms of communication; no access to my community.
I had no one to lean on but Him. No one to force my gaze upwards but Him. No one to pray with but Him. No expectation for anyone to be in this with me but Him. I was forced to learn firsthand about the ‘goodness’ of singleness.
There is nothing so tragically lonely as being in a struggle and feeling like no one around you is in it with you. But the nature of life is that no one can save us from our loneliness but God. No one can save us from our struggles but Him.
Married people know that. Single people know that; but knowing that doesn’t stop us from grabbing to anyone around at any moment.
I can only imagine how hard that is when you have someone who has literally taken a vow to be there for you. Then suddenly something comes that they can’t fix and they can’t make better, and I can only imagine how that could make you feel uniquely alone and burdened.
The only thing lonelier than being alone is being around people who you expect to make you feel less alone, and they just can’t, and somehow that makes everything feel weirder and worse.
I’m spared that.
I have no one who has made a vow to be there for me in all this. Except God. And boy, do I expect Him to be who He is, now more than ever. I tell Him that a lot. And sometimes I see Him being who He is and sometimes I don’t, but I trust that my perception isn’t changing the reality. God is there for me. He is being who He is no matter what I perceive.
There is no one I’d rather walk through ‘hard’ with than Him. And that’s the truth.