If you haven’t read the previous parts of this series, I urge you to do so before reading this part. We’re taking the long way around to answering the question that made itself the title of this series, and to fully understand the context and where I’m coming from, I encourage you to start from the beginning.
As for those who have read up ’til now, thank you! I hope you enjoyed them, and I hope you’ll stick with me as we ponder my next point:
Am I the Only One Left?
We all may know that title is an exaggeration, but sometimes it is difficult not to feel discouraged and down from the bad news bombarding you from all sides as you go about your day. From viruses to elections to loneliness, it’s been a hard year these past twelve months, and it can be difficult to actively remember we’re not alone in our walk with God.
I have found myself feeling as if I’m one of very few who wants His will and His plan above my own, and it’s important to recognize that those feelings are selfish and a bit self-righteous. If it is indeed our Father who we are following, then we need to trust that He has the world in His hands and He is not letting us go. We need to remember that His eye is on the sparrow and He won’t leave us to fend for ourselves. We need to let our King do His work and not allow the World’s desires seep into our thoughts.
I myself use Elijah’s situation as encouragement, as he too felt utterly alone through his trials.
And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for YHVH, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And YHVH said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
— 1 Kings 19:12-18
YHVH did not forget Elijah, despite that Elijah felt as if he was truly the last obedient man alive. What did YHVH do, though? He gave Elijah a task to do, reminding him that He has a plan and a place for all this in the tapestry of time, and that it’s not going to unravel.
To forget that God has a plan can easily become our downfall, as we will begin to panic and drift off the path toward anything that promises peace or safety.
Trust in YHVH with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear YHVH, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
— Proverbs 3:5-8
He also may choose not to protect us, such as with Job, who “was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1), yet lost everything; his children, his possessions, and his health. A man who was blameless before God, fearing Him, can also be tested by Him. Trials are not always a bad thing, as it can refine and mold you into a stronger, more righteous version of yourself. And in the end, Job was given more than twice as much as he lost.
And YHVH restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And YHVH gave Job twice as much as he had before… And YHVH blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters… And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days.
— Job 42:10, 12-13, 15-17
The storms of life will hit us no matter what. How we react to them says something about our own character, regardless of how good or bad the storm is.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
— Matthew 7:24-27
In the words of blogger and author Christine Miller of A Little Perspective,
A test is not necessarily a set of bad circumstances. It is merely a situation where one must choose to believe or speak or do what is right. What we choose is what we love. And likewise, we love what we choose, regardless of what we or others tell ourselves about it. That is inescapable human nature.
— Christine Miller, Psalm 11 Chiastic Structure blog post
No matter if we lose, or what we lose, or who we lose, or how much we lose, we must remember to stay on the path of righteousness, following the commands of our Father and King and looking to Yeshua our Messiah as our perfect example before us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Yeshua, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
— Hebrews 12:1-3
We must encourage one another, reaching out and checking up on each other and building a strong community of believers. It should be our goal to support and help each other, humbly loving and caring for one another for the good of Him who put us in this situation, whether it truly is or is not the end times. I pray we can all grow from these experiences, using them to learn and assist, rather than to pass by selfishly minding our own business or ignoring others in the calamity. Keep each other on the road to salvation, discipling one another and focusing on the goal.
“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
— Matthew 18:19-20