In another post I recounted my experience with Shenanigan, an irresistible cocker spaniel puppy which crawled its way out of the tall grass and immense trees in the Rockies as I spent nine days all by myself in a beautiful setting of mountains and fragrant pines.
One windy afternoon as I gazed down a mountainside, I noticed a curious thing. As the wind roared its way down the slope the trees were thrown fro and to in total disarray. Many of them bent nearly to the ground under the powerful gusts and I was amazed that they didn’t break off and take flight. Indeed, I felt much like those gnarled trees. I was struggling with crushed dreams and shattered hopes, and felt battered and bruised by life events. The effect of the wind was relentless.
Then, my eyes fell on one very large, very tall pine tree which simply stood straight as the wind beat against it. Its branches barely moved while the trees around it were doing backflips and jumping jacks. The wind kept aiming its ferocious strength at this tree from every angle, but it simply stood strong and unshaken.
As in times past, God softly spoke to my heart. “Let Me help you become like that tall tree with deep roots which sink deeply into the ground giving strength and refreshment to your soul.” Ahhhhh, yes. I wanted that!
It has taken a long time for me to realize that God is far more interested in the condition of my heart and my relationship with Him than He is in my present comfort.
(You might want to read that sentence again. . .)
- .* He does cause His good to work in every circumstance of our lives. (Romans 8:28)
- * He has good plans for us, regardless of how things look and feel. (Jeremiah 29:11)
- * He honors faithfulness to Him like a fruitful tree planted by a water source. (Psalm 1:1-3)
- * He rescues those who feel totally alone in their desire to follow Him. (Psalm 73)
- * He lifts our eyes above the shame society tries to heap on us for remaining faithful to Him. (Romans 5:5)
And, just as it took years of slow growing for that tall pine tree to become strong and unflappable in the wind, it takes time to develop deep character. Paul speaks of the progression from suffering to Godly hope in Romans 5:1-5. This sort of suffering is not confined just to pain, but is a state of patient waiting for God to do His work in us. This patient waiting leads to steady persistence, which leads to unique strength of character, which leads to Godly hope which does not put us to shame!
Society heaps its derision and scorn on those who choose to remain celibate in singleness because it would seem to be foolish to follow this Scriptural mandate. Instant gratification continues to be the rule of the day. BUT, fidelity in body, soul, and spirit continue to be God’s rule of the day from now into infinity!
While I was writing this post, I ran across a phrase which unfortunately describes too many singles who profess belief in Jesus Christ but who do not practice celibacy: “sexual atheists.”
(Well, guess what the subject of the next post will be.)
Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8 – NIV)
Stand firm, my friends.