OLSON MICROGRAVITY FLAME
The world was not worthy of them.... Hebrews 11:38
They will be a shining star in the story of God's light and glory on earth.
Is it possible God has called you to be a hero in your own story, in your family, in the life of your choices? The world is longing for leadership--to find those who are following hard after wisdom, the right ways--God's ways. Those who are willing to endure many challenging seasons and still stay faithful. Those who are willing to lay down their lives that others might have life, hope, beauty, faith. Maybe right when you despair, you are living the most holy season of your life with the possibility of changing the world for eternity. Who would want you to give in or give up, Satan or God?
This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice, be glad in it, plant a flag of faith that says, I will not give up today.
Maybe today, you are writing your place into the hall of faith in Hebrews and your children will call you blessed. Most of the heroes throughout history did not know they were living lives that would be heralded as great. They just lived lives of integrity and made courageous choices that others were not brave enough to make.
Just remember, faith is profoundly more important than fitting in, or being conformed to this world.
"I have felt alone for so many years, I am not sure I can keep going with my ideals. I need someone who understands, I need to know I am making the right decisions."
This letter verbalized the feelings I had many times--often in the dark of night when despair or fear threatened to smother me.
On this day,..., tears spilling over from my eyes wetting my face, my throat becoming so thick I could barely swallow, deep sobs welling up from some place deep inside, found me sitting alone in the darkness of a late afternoon home alone, wondering if my life had mattered, again.
This happened often through the years. "God, do you see me? Do my choices of faith mean anything? Does my effort matter? God, I just wish I did not always feel so alone, with no one who cares about me personally."
Often, I would find myself amidst a fire burning in my heart when I read scripture and wanted to live boldly for my precious Jesus. I would feel convictions deeply inside me, swelling my heart. Yet, even amidst feeling so strongly that I wanted to follow God and do what He wanted in my life, my family, with my children, I would feel the pain of doubt swell over me.
"Why don't others feel the way I do? What do they not come to the same conclusions? Are they reading the same Bible? If I am believing the right things, shouldn't I be able to find others with my ideals?"
"Why has our world, our people gone mad? What am I to do?"
So often, and even in the past couple of days, I get notes from sweet women who doubt their decisions. for years they have worked to exhaustion and wonder if their labors of love and serving others have made one whit of difference. There is a feeling that they can't keep going. Often doubt and insecurity comes because other Christians question their idealistic lifestyle or their decisions that separates them from popular culture.
How often I have doubted my own decisions in the midst of exhaustion or discouragement. We all have our critics if we are trying to live a life committed to God and committed to His holy values.
Often, the very discouraging circumstances or the difficulty of a high calling can seem wrong when we forget that it was God who called us to our Biblical ideals.
Culture will always give us permission to compromise our lives, as the cultural voices have always done through out the centuries.
As fallen people, many do not like to be called to a "very high calling" because it means we have to sacrifice, be the odd one out in our cultural circles.
These are common amongst the heroes of faith in scripture. You are not alone in your feelings, you are in good company. But the decisions you make in darkness will become the reflection of your faith in a God who promises to be faithful. It may take longer than you think to see His goodness lived out--but faith says you believe you will see His goodness come like the rising of the sun.
Loneliness is another common feeling in Biblical history, and seems to be a part of the journey for many in scripture when they were living for God and His kingdom.
Even now, I have begun to realize in my 60's, that I may always feel that hollow hurting in my heart, the longing for others who seek after Jesus and want to live passionately for Him, and for a close by friend to walk side by side with me.
Godly friends feel sometimes few and far between--those kindred spirits walking the same path, in sync with our feelings and convictions.
I am understanding that often, loneliness is the companion of those whom God has called to live an idealistic or holy life--but not a sign of living life wrong.
I do not feel better than others who disagree with my decisions, as I know my weaknesses. But when I read His word and pray, I have this desire, this fire that wells up and I want to do more, be more, write more, be a redeeming part of His spirit--it drives me toward His Holy ideals. The Holy Spirit plays the role in our lives to remind us of what was on the heart of Christ, to convict us, to encourage us to righteousness.
The drive to seek God and to be hungry for a more righteous place comes directly from the Holy Spirit--Christ living through us.
The word holy means to live a life set apart for God--for His purposes, for His kingdom and for His glory.
As I have pondered the whole idea of being alone amidst ideals, I have found plenty of Biblical models to give me encouragement.
My desire in writing this article and doing this podcast is to say,
stay the course, be faithful, find a way to rest, to become encouraged.
If God has driven you to a course of high ideals, then you might just be called to play a great role in the heavenly hall of faith with others who felt alone while they were living stories of faith.
Elijah was called to be a prophet in very godless times when Jezebel and her husband, Ahab, were leading all of Israel astray--even the so-called prophets of the gods. He gave and ministered and performed miracles and engaged in spiritual battle, finally defeating the prophets of Baal. But at the end of his great faith accomplishments, Elijah, exhausted, ran away. He said it would have been better if he had not been born.
He ran away--and God gave him rest, touched him, fed him, because God knew he was totally drained living amidst such strong spiritual warfare. (I Kings 19:4)
Job was chosen by God to be tested by Satan because he was the most righteous man who lived on the earth and he was pleasing to God. As a matter of fact, when Satan found Job, he was seeking God, offering sacrifices and praying for his children--he was also a great parent. (Job 1:5) Yet, Job was allowed by God to be caught right in the middle of spiritual battle because God trusted that Job would be faithful to him even amidst trials.
Jeremiah, the great prophet, was depressed, discouraged, felt alone, and wondered if God was listening to him, when he was proclaiming the truth of God to the Jewish people in His generation. (Lam. 3: 1, 5, 8, 14, 15, and more.)
Mary, the model of faith as she excepted what the angel told her about becoming the mother of the son of God, responded to Him, "I am your bond-slave. Be it done according to your will." Her faith was willing to allow God to work to his fullest. Yet her life was filled with difficulties, the loneliness that comes from being a refugee in a foreign country, and then the heartbreak of seeing her own son crucified on the cross by the Jewish leaders. (Luke 1:38)
John the Baptist, passionate, calling for holiness and repentance in a world that was more concerned about man-imposed rules and wisdom than a heart for God. Died a lonely death in prison--yet Jesus said there was not a more righteous man on the face of the earth.
Jesus, the son of God, the very representation of God as we are told in Hebrews 1:3, was ostracized by the very leaders of His own people. He was questioned, called a fraud and killed by a violent death. Yet, he was perfectly righteous. Even Jesus, in his prayers before death said, "If it is your will, take this cup from me. But not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42)
So, what about you? Do you doubt yourself? You are in good company, because many heroes of the faith spent days in doubt, fear, loneliness, insecurity. Yet they were the ones who were making the story of Jesus real. Jesus did not pick perfect people, but those willing to live by faith.
May an angel of God, the Holy Spirit and the love of precious Jesus touch you today, encourage you, give you rest, show you His love. You are a delight to Him and your story is going to be told through all of eternity, that when you had the chance to compromise, you chose to love Him, dance to His song, wait on His timing, stay fast in righteousness--even while alone.
And because of your faithfulness, all of those who come into your life and into your home, will learn the ways of faithfulness by watching His life spill through all the days of your faith lived and love given.
May your home, today, this year, be a picture of His faithfulness lived through all the days, in a fallen world, of those who had faith enough to believe in what they hoped for, standing on convictions of what they could not see. You are God's heroes and today is your glory--even if the world does not see or understand, angels rejoice in your choices of faith.
Today, you can also find me writing at TheBetterMom.com about freedom from legalistic standards.