“I’m just living out my life of quiet obscurity,” a friend joked recently.
This statement took me back to a quote sent to me a few years ago. Another friend wrote:
I read this in my devotions last week and thought of you in your ministry of obscurity…
"Must life be considered a failure for someone compelled to stand still, forced into inaction and required to watch the great, roaring tides of life from shore? No - victory is then to be won by standing still and quietly waiting, Yet this is a thousand times harder to do than in the past, when you rushed headlong into the busyness of life. It requires much more courage to stand and wait and still not lose heart or lose hope, to submit to the will of God, to give up opportunities for work and leave honors to others, and to be quiet, confident and rejoicing while the busy multitude goes happily along their way."
A while back I had the privilege of hearing the story of a woman who has been sidelined by health issues, removed from her normal patterns of activity, and placed in a long season of living life at a greatly reduced pace. She courageously sorted her way through the emotional upheaval attached to such losses and has seen God mend her broken heart. Her testimony moved me.
And that phrase surfaced again. She described the job she now does from home as her ministry of obscurity. It wasn’t something that began immediately, but over time God grew both the opportunity and her strength to undertake the task. The circumstances that once felt so bleak and daunting became the very substance of the meaningful impact she has today. She even claimed this work to be the best fit she’s ever had.
As God has led me into a more public life I reflect on those years of painful quiet as training ground for today. I would not wish my pain and suffering on anyone; I certainly hope to never experience it again; and, I wouldn’t trade that season for anything.
Are you in a time of solitude or hardship? Be encouraged. Pain is never wasted in God’s economy. John White, a psychiatrist and author says,
[God] may change the course of history through your pain, but you may never discover its wider meaning. Even though we may never observe the significance, it is exceedingly comforting and meaningful to think that our little pebble of suffering offered in sacrifice to God and thrown into the pool of history might create endless ripples of blessings for others…He leads us gently through suffering that he might enlarge our capacity for joy.
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst