Today’s blog is a guest post by Rachel, a single girl teaching English in inner-city Memphis. You can find her at Why I…, her blog where she writes about anything that pops into her head, from television to theology to why back roads are better than the interstate.
This is somewhat of a continuation of my post “Living Life Where You Are Right Now.” What can I say, it’s a topic that has been on my heart and mind frequently over the past few months and something I am still learning to do.
I recently discovered a fabulous new bible study tool called #SheReadsTruth. If you are a fan of social media, reading the Bible, and discussing what you’re learning with other women, you will love #SheReadsTruth. I won’t go into how it all works here, but if you struggle to read the Word daily or have limited time to do so, you should definitely check it out. You can find all the information on their website.
Anyway, it’s been fantastic. We recently started a new study looking at different examples of prayer in the Bible. This one is different in that it doesn’t actually have devotional material along with it; rather, it just has a passage of scripture to read and challenges you to really listen to what God is trying to tell you (which is really really hard for me…I always just want to go find a commentary so that someone else can tell me what to think). The passage the other day came from Jeremiah, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite books in the Bible.
In chapter 42, a group of Israelites come to Jeremiah and ask him to petition the Lord for them. They are considering leaving Israel to go to Egypt because they are afraid of the king of Babylon, but promise that whatever God says, they will obey. Jeremiah goes and returns with this response:
“If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I relent of the disaster that I did to you. Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the LORD, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand.”
-Jeremiah 42:10-11 (ESV)
God tells the Israelites to remain in the land. Even though they are in danger and fear for their lives, God tells them to stay. He has work He wants to accomplish, and asks His people to trust that He is faithful and just and will deliver them as He promised. They have promised to obey (v. 6), and He commands them to remain, while promising that if they don’t, horrible things will happen (v. 15-17).
Immediately after reading this, a question popped into my mind: where is God asking me to remain? This is not a comfortable question to answer because it requires that I acknowledge that God knows more than I do. It requires me to trust that even though He may ask me to stay in a situation I do not want to be in, that He is with me and doing what is best for me and His kingdom. It requires obedience.
One way I believe God is asking me to remain is in my living situation. For the past two years I have rented a house that I love in a great location. We’ve had a bit of a revolving door when it comes to roommates, so I am now the person who has lived there the longest. Neither of my two current roommates is a believer and we are very very different. They are nice girls and they pay their bills on time, so it is not a hostile environment, but our personality differences do make it a pretty uncomfortable situation.
A number of very wise people whose opinions I trust have suggested that I just move out and find somewhere else to live. They have told me that I don’t need the extra stress and that I could find better roommates that would make my living situation much better. And they may be right, but I have no plans to move out right now.
Partly, I don’t want to move because I love my house. Also, I don’t actually know of anyone looking for roommates right now, and living alone is not a healthy option for me (that’s a topic for another time). Also, I really really hate packing and moving. Those are all valid reasons to stay (some more valid than others), but the biggest reason I am not leaving is that when I consider it, I have absolutely no peace about the idea. I don’t know what purpose He has in store, but I feel very strongly that God is asking me to stay, to remain in this place that is often uncomfortable and inconvenient and be the best possible roommate I can be.
Obviously, this is not easy. I still complain and vent to my friends, who thankfully are very gracious with me. But I have learned so much about humility and respect in the past few months and I know that as long as God has me in this situation, He will use it for His glory and my benefit.
So where is God asking you to remain? In a living situation? In a job? In singleness? Do not fear; God is with you. He has saved us from sin and death, will He not also provide for us in difficult situations? How will you obey His command to remain in the land in your life?