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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Loneliness of the Straight and Narrow

Jesus said,
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matthew 10:35-36)
I have had many seasons where God placed someone in my life upon whom I felt I could lean. These people were true supports at a time when I needed it. I rejoiced to have a second set of shoulders to relieve the burdens that I carried. With time, in every case, these people let me down--almost always when I needed them the most. Once when praying about this, the Lord said "Every person in your life will fail you so that you learn that I am the only one on whom you can rely." It is easy for us to have an earthly crutch, but God intends for us to lean into him, not a man or a woman or a job or a hobby. Everything in this life is fleeting, even the interpersonal relationships some erroneously teach are eternal. The degree to which you rely on a person, you will be let down.

This is not to say that we should not seek or appreciate positive relationships with others. Those relationships are not only the proving ground of our devotion to God (shown through our service to our fellowmen), but can be a welcome and refreshing break from the grind of the telestial world at times. However, we ought not sustain ourselves on these relationships, because not only are they not guaranteed, they are guaranteed to fail at one time or another. If we need a helping hand and find it in another, we should rejoice. However, we ought not proceed as if that helping hand will always help us.

God gives us trials in life to turn us to him to motivate us to seek him and teach us to trust him. These cannot be achieved if men and women form a safety net that protects us from the descent necessary to come to know him. Abraham Lincoln once said, "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go."

Some of the most godly people in scripture were also the most lonely. Every single person in Jesus' life let him down, as far as I am aware. Jeremiah had no friends. Job was left alone. Elijah had Elisha, but the latter was in no way his peer, meaning he could never really be himself. Joseph's closest associates frequently betrayed him to the extent that no one could really be trusted. The list goes on and on. In the end, each of these people enjoyed communion with God to an extent we only dream of. Yet, some part of that was the absence of even one earthly companion in their walk back to God.

"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." (D&C 6:36)