I am writing this to you.
You may be a preacher or a minister in some role in a remote area. Or, you may be in an urban area but you feel alone and isolated. There are days when you ache with loneliness. To make matters worse, some of your minister friends talk about getting together regularly with others with a kindred spirit. You are certain they have no idea what this kind of isolation is like.
Perhaps you are an elder. You had hopes and dreams of making a impact. You thought you might have the opportunity to address matters that might make such a kingdom difference. However, the group continues to gravitate toward the trivial. You come home from meetings tired and worn out. You didn’t agree to endless discussions of things that are small and inconsequential.
I don’t have an answer for everyone. There is no “one size fits all” solution. I do know that either we will use such times to help shape us into the image of Jesus or we might do something destructive.
Some of those destructive options include:
- Escaping to pornography, drugs, or alcohol.
- Finding a relationship with someone other than your spouse that will offer an escape.
- Becoming absorbed in yourself. Consequently, you are so focused on you and how you feel that you are not really yielding yourself to God to use this discomfort to shape and form you.
This painful loneliness can actually be a furnace that will shape you into the image of Jesus. Yes, the furnace is hot and uncomfortable. However, God can use these moments to refine us into someone He can use for His kingdom purposes.
Does any of this sound familiar? Am I allowing God to use my pain and loneliness to stretch and grow me?