Reminder: We are fasting and praying through lunch on Monday for the Lord to bring men and women into relationship with Him, for men to become leaders in the church and in relationships, for us to see and change in those areas of our hearts that aren’t obedient to Christ, and for God-honoring marriages to be given to those who desire them.
Earlier this year, I had the chance to travel to Paris. Granted, I had 23 college students and a professor from the university where I work with me, but a trip to Paris is a trip to Paris.
After doing the tourist must-sees of the city – Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Notre Dame – I had a little time to explore the city without students in tow. It was a beautiful crisp, clear day, and I was in PARIS.
My enthusiasm began to wane as I passed café after café of croissant-eating people, laughing and talking together in a language from which I could pick out only a few words (high school French was a long time ago). Being in Paris made me ever-so-aware of my singleness.
I was alone. In a romantic city.
I didn’t speak the language. Which reminds me – how often do I feel this way when I am around my married friends? The outsider.
I was living the single girl’s dream of traveling the world and getting paid to do it! And yet…not feeling fulfilled, still searching for something.
After a day of half-heartedly wandering through the Île de la Cité and returning to my hotel near the Arch de Triomphe (yes, I realize how ridiculous it seems for me to be this way on my free trip to Paris), complaining in my heart about my lack of a husband, I equally half-heartedly began my devotions. The Lord used Hebrews 13:14-15 to teach Pity-Party-in-Paris me an important lesson:
“For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”
Through these verses, the Lord revealed to me that I could travel the whole world over, get married, buy a house, start a family, and still having a longing for something more in my heart – because He made me for more. Yes, for more than Paris. For more than a husband.
He made me in His image for relationship with Him (Genesis 1:26-27). He made me for the home He has prepared for me (John 14:2-3). He made me with the desire to seek the wonderful, unimaginable that He’s promised to come (Romans 8:18-20 and I Corinthians 2:9).
My sense of not always fitting in (either in my lack of French language skills or as a single), is a picture of how I am as a Christian in the unbelieving world. As the Apostle Peter puts it, an “exile.” Jesus said the world would hate His followers because we aren’t like them (John 15:19). People who don’t follow the norm are viewed as different – but different doesn’t have to equal “bad,” especially if it means I am walking in obedience to Christ as a Christian and as a single.
In the meantime, while I’m His child living here on this earth, waiting, I’m to be offering a sacrifice of praise because to praise at all times, in all circumstances, is a sacrifice. It’s the giving up of my desire to focus on me and to have someone praise me.
And as the Hebrews passage reveals, God knows I can’t do this on my own. My sacrifice of praise is only by Him enabling me to do so. By Him changing my God-given longings, corrupted by my complaints and bitterness, back into something pleasing to Him.
Seeking with you and praising the Lord for His all-the-time goodness,