Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Path of Loneliness

"To know God, or even to begin to know Him, is to know that we are not alone in the universe. Someone Else is Out There. There is a hint that there may be a refuge for our loneliness. To stop our frantic getting, spending, and searching, and simply to look at the things God has made is to move one step away from despair. For God cares. The most awesome seascape can reveal a care which is actually tender."

"We are not doomed to meaninglessness. A loving Purpose is behind it all, a great tenderness even in the fierceness."

"That is where faith begins - in the wilderness, when you are alone and afraid, when things don't make sense…"

"Suffering is a wilderness experience. We feel very much alone and helpless, cut off from others who cannot know how we suffer. We long for someone to come to our aid, be "company" for us, get us out of this.
     Someone will. Some one will certainly come to our aid. He will be company for us if we'll let Him. But get us out of? Not necessarily. It is one of the terms of being human (which means that although we cannot do anything about it, there is something very important that we can do with it.)"

"In the wilderness of loneliness we are terribly vulnerable. What we want is OUT, and sometimes there appear to be some easy ways to get there. Will we take Satan up on his offers, satisfy our desires in ways never designed by God, seek security outside of His holy will? If we do, we may find a measure of happiness, but not the lasting joy our heavenly Father wants us to have. We will "gain the world," but we'll lose our souls. Jesus knew that His joy lay in only one direction: the will of the Father. And so does ours."

"We may be earnestly desiring to be obedient and holy. But we may be missing the fact that it is here, where we happen to be at this moment and not in another place or another time, that we may learn to love Him - here where it seems He is not at work, where His will seems obscure or frightening, where He is not doing what we expected Him to do, where He is most absent. Here and nowhere else is the appointed place. If faith does not go to work here, it will not go to work at all."

'The power of the Cross is not exemption from suffering but the very transformation of suffering."

"With what misgivings we turn over our lives to God, imagining somehow that we are about to lose everything that matters. Our hesitancy is like that of a tiny shell on the seashore, afraid to give up the teaspoonful of water it holds lest there not be enough in the ocean to fill it again. Lose your life, said Jesus, and you will find it. Give up, and I will give you all. Can the shell imagine the depth and plenitude of the ocean? Can you and I fathom the riches, the fullness, of God's love?"

"One step at a time over the years, as I sought to plumb the mystery of suffering (which cannot be plumbed), I began to see that there is a sense in which everything is a gift."

"I had prayed as earnestly as a child and a teenager and a woman can pray, Thy will be done. The coming of this transcendent authority into one's life is bound to be an active thing, an immense disruption at times."

"He does not whisk us at once to Glory. We go on living in a fractured world, suffering in one way or another the effects of sin - sometimes our own, sometimes others'. Yet I have come to understand even suffering, through the transforming power of the Cross, as a gift, for in this broken world, in our sorrow, He gives us Himself; in our loneliness He comes to meet us, as in George Matheson's He came as the Love that would never let him go."

"The Love that calls us into being, woos us to Himself, makes us His bride, lays down His life for us, and daily crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercy, will not, no matter how it may appear in our loneliness, abandon us."

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