"Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not be burned?"
- Proverbs 6:27 NLT
I recently heard from a lady who asked for prayer for a mate. She said that she had been waiting many years for someone to love her, and that she had been "burned" twice. She told me, "God gave to me, and then took away, and left me with unbearable pain." While I sympathized with this woman, I knew she needed more than pity--she needed some words of wisdom. So after I earnestly prayed for her, I did my best to offer her some godly counsel.
I told this lady that if she had been "burned twice," then she had undoubtedly been involved with relationships that were not from God. The Bible says, "Can a man hold fire against his chest and not be burned?" (Proverbs 6:27 TLB) When we play with wrong relationships, we are playing with fire, and we WILL get burned. And though we shouldn't blame God when we don't like the results we get from our disobedience, we often do this very thing. As Proverbs says, "People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord." (Proverbs 19:3 NLT) Blaming God for failed relationships that were not His will to begin with will get us nowhere. God is not our problem. He doesn't send us friends or mates that will abuse us, lie to us, or torment us. Or who will discourage our wholehearted devotion to Him. If we will let Him, the Lord will send us companions who will love us with the God-kind of love, who will bring out the best in us, and who will help us become all that God created us to be. As the Bible assures us, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17 NIV)
A biblical principle that will keep us out of a lot of trouble is Proverbs 28:26 (NIV): "He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe." When we allow ourselves to get involved in relationships that are outside of God's will, we step out from under His "safety umbrella." And we expose ourselves to misery and heartache that the Lord never meant us to suffer. Proverbs warns: "Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life." (Proverbs 4:23 TLB) Our relationships will determine the course of our lives. Satan is keenly aware of this fact, and that is exactly why he works overtime trying to tempt us with wrong relationships. If this is a weakness of ours, he will continually torment us in this area.
One of the main things I discerned from this troubled lady's letter was that she had a tendency to be what Scripture calls "double-minded." (James 1:7 NIV) The Bible addresses this problem when it encourages us to seek the Lord for His wisdom in matters that concern us. "But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do." (James 1:6-8 NLT) Clearly, this woman's loyalty was divided. Or as one translation says, she was "keeping all of [her] options open." (James 1:8 MSG) Rather than waiting for the Lord to send her "Mr. Right," she was settling for "Mr. Right Now." She was saying to the Lord, "Instead of trusting and leaning on You, I'm just going to lean on 'Mr. Wrong' for a while, till you decide to send me 'Mr. Right.'" But as God's Word says, "Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way!" (James 1:8 MSG)
When we are suffering loneliness or heartache because we lack a godly mate or friends, we must be very careful not to focus on our needs and desires in this area, but to keep our focus on the Lord. Jesus commanded us to seek first God's kingdom and righteousness, and He meant it. (Matthew 6:33) If He is not given first place in our lives to begin with, He is not likely to provide us with companions who will distract us even more from loving Him with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. (Luke 10:27) Once we make up our minds that Jesus is all we will ever need--and we prove it by our actions for a season--He will send us all the companionships we need to live the rich, full lives He's called us to!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I settled for wrong relationships because I wasn't willing to wait on You for Your best. Give me the grace I need to endure seasons of loneliness, if necessary, in order to do Your will in this area. Thank You that as I determine to walk in wisdom, and to give You first place in my life, You will send me the perfect companions at the perfect time!
- J. M. Farro