I’ve discovered that when I feel like God is taking things away from me, He is taking me away from things. He is drawing me to Himself.
Jesus said, “The gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it,” (Matthew 7:14, NASB). In our Christian walk, sometimes God puts us on a path that feels lonely. To follow the call in our hearts means to leave the familiar. When the call comes, sometimes we have only His voice to lead us. There is no visible path. We feel alone because we don’t know anyone who has gone down this particular path or see anyone joining us.
In such times we learn to recognize our Shepherd’s voice. We learn to be content without the people and stuff we thought we must have.
At times on my journey, God narrowed the path even more until there was only room for Jesus. The loss of the predictable and of companions was painful. Now I see He must take all His disciples on such a track. We, like the New Testament disciples, must come to a place where He says to us, “Will you also leave me?” and we, like Peter, must respond “Where will we go? You have the words of eternal life,” (Jn. 6:68). At that point we know that having only Jesus is better than having everything else without Him.
In love God pushes us through the eye of the needle, a birth canal. When we think we can’t take any more, we find we have arrived on the other side. Going through the narrow canal forces us to shed the backpacks of comforts and trinkets we thought we couldn’t live without. When we break through, we discover a place of incredible liberty, peace, and space. Some of our former acquaintances return, others no longer fit in with who we are and where we are headed. But it doesn’t matter any more. We’ve learned that Jesus is enough.
Hiking paths in Yosemite National Park provided a great visual of this. Some paths were so narrow we had to go single file, but Larry and I were still together. In life, some parts of our journey we must walk alone, and yet we are not by ourselves. We have the company of those who go before us and follow after us, and the company of the One who lives within us calling us forward. But there are times we feel alone. We doubt ourselves and wonder if we are lost or will always be alone.
In those moments remember His words, I will never leave you or abandon you (Heb. 13:5).“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,” (Jn. 15:19, NIV).