Friday, November 23, 2007

Living in exile...

There have been 3 distinct times (this time being one of them) that I've been in this place of exile, this place of complete singleness. During the first time, I was at a complete loss as to what I should do and I didn't understand why I was going through it. It felt like it would go on forever and I was overwhelmed with the loneliness of my situation. Therefore, I connected with a friend that I had known for most of my life. When I connected with him, I felt that God told me that I could be friends with him, but I wasn't to date him as he wasn't for me (he had a lot of personal baggage and issues that he hadn't dealt with and still hasn't dealt with). I ended up going against what I felt God had told me and chose to get involved with him for the next 6-7 years.

The second time I was in this place of exile or complete singleness, was 3-1/2 years ago, just before my Dad died. This time, I felt that God had told me I needed to be patient and wait for who He had planned for me. This was fine until I was emotionally drained from watching my Dad die, something unexpected happened (one of my nephews was killed in a motorcycle accident), and something I should have expected, but wasn't emotionally ready to deal with happened (my brother temporarily returned to a life of constant drinking). The combination seemed too much for me and I reverted back to old behaviors and familiar people, my ex from the first time mentioned above.

Coming back to this place of exile again has been difficult, but a couple of weeks ago, I asked God if it was because I was so unlovable that I was back in this position or if it was Him Who had brought me back here. The next day, the Sabbath School lesson was on "Our Father's Plan for Us." The setting was Jeremiah 29:1-10. It talked about why God's people should not give up hope even though they had just been taken captive into exile. The three important sources of hope were: 1) Their situation was not the result of chance or unpredictable evil. For God Himself said, "I carried [Judah] into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon" (vs. 4, NIV); 2) He [God] can work even within their present difficulties. "Also seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper" (vs. 7, NIV); and 3) He [God] is going to bring an end to their exile at a specific time. "This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place' " (vs. 10, NIV).

After reading this, I felt strongly that God was answering my question. I wasn't back in exile because I was unlovable, but because He brought me here. He needs me to go through this without running away from it or rebelling against it. Additionally, I felt that God was telling me that I needed to pray for the prosperity of the city of exile (singleness) that He has brought me to and that it isn't forever. Thankfully, I also believe it isn't for 70 years as I wouldn't even be alive anymore, nor do I think it will be 7 years as I feel that God has told me it would be in a "reasonable amount of time." I don't know if "reasonable amount of time" means 4 months (unlikely), 7 months (probably), or longer (hope not), but I know that I can trust God with the timing and fulfillment of His promise to not leave me here. Knowing this hasn't made the adjustment much easier, I still struggled with self-pity and sulking for the first week or so, but I am pretty much at the point of acceptance now. I just pray that this time I can past the "test," persevere through the trial, and come out on the other side a "winner."