Falling in love
Dear Mrs. Stedman,
Thank you for your faithfulness and your stewardship with your
gifts that God has given you. You and your late husband
have been such an influence on my young Christian life.
I want to tell you something. Four years ago I met a
girl like none I have ever met before or since. I was 20 years
old and working at a camp in Massachusetts, and I was having a
lot of fun.
Then a couple of new counselors showed up and one of them was
a girl from California, and I was immediately floored. For
the next three months I was half in a state of delirious joy,
because I got to see her almost every day, but also half miserable,
because I couldn't function the right way because all my energy
was spent thinking about her.
Looking back now I realize I was focusing on her and not God,
and that hurt our relationship to each other. She was the
most beautiful person I have ever met, inside and out, and I was
astounded at how she was totally devoted to God.
It was like God opened a window of heaven for a bit of time
to experience what His pleasures actually are. At the time
I was very immature and selfish, I had partied a lot at college
and thought I was pretty cool, but she made me feel very small
in a certain way. She was not impressed at how I was, just
who I was.
We spent some time together at camp, but I always felt like
she had the upper hand in a way and was leading me. We talked
a lot together, and she would come crying about some things that
happened and I would hold her while she wept. Anyway, when
camp was over she went back to California and I to Texas, and
it felt like I was going to miss her a lot more that she would
me. I can say my life has not been the same since.
I am writing this to you just to say that I have tried everything
possible to quit thinking about her. I haven't talked to
her, except for a couple of emails, since that time. I thought
it was a sign of weakness to keep thinking about her, and for
awhile I was pretty successful at not doing it, but those times
were always my darkest spiritually. I got back into my party
habits and started seeing many girls.
But God quickly showed me the futility of it and as I got closer
to Him, the more thoughts about her would come to me. I
noticed that as I started giving myself to God, I became increasingly
lonely as I did not enjoy the company I was with, and my friends
felt the same way. But I started to be an example to them
and many have told me that I was influential, though I never knew
I was doing anything.
I have recently graduated from college, and after a short time
of rest, I am becoming increasingly restless but relying on God.
I have been spending hours reading His word, praying and
fasting, and your husbands website has truly been a blessing.
The more time I spend with God, the more I think of her, and I
am very confused.
I have had many thoughts about moving to California lately,
though I have never been there and have no idea what I would do.
I am committed to do God's will no matter where it takes
me, for in His presence in fullness of joy. Anyway, I could
write a long time, but I just wanted to tell you, its like God
showed me your email address so I could share this with His servant.
I just want some insight from someone who has seen much
of what God can do. I thank you for your time, and praise
God for examples of His wholeness like you and Ray.
Thank you Mrs. Stedman.
I consider it a great privilege to have contributed in any
way to what God is doing in your life, Andrew. We are so amazed
that our Father would give us this opportunity to perpetuate our
Ray's teaching ministry worldwide, and delighted for any help
it is to you in your pilgrimage.
Andrew, I guess most of us mortals can identify with the passion
you describe. The "falling in love" phenomenon is "such
as is common to man"--woman too! As with any passion, it
can become obsessive and become dominant and controlling. It is
that aspect of it that makes it sinful. Ironically, its focus
shifts from one person to another, as you have described, so that
gives us a clue that it is not necessarily the person but more
the very passion itself, or what is sometimes referred to as being
"in love with love". In that sense it is similar to
being controlled by drugs or alcohol, etc., in that it creates
a sensation one might want to repeat just for the sake of the
The peril for one who is a disciple of Jesus is that it displaces
Him, refocuses our attention on our own appetites or desires,
and in the end keeps us in bondage to the obsession. I believe
that is a prime example of what Jesus is addressing when he tells
us "Seek *first* the kingdom of God and His righteousness",
then promises that when we get our priorities straight "all
these things will be added". The same thought is expressed
in Psa. 37:3-7. Note there the focus is: (1) Trust in the Lord,
and do good, (2) Take delight in the Lord, (3) Commit your way
to the Lord; trust in Him, (4) Be still before the Lord and wait
patiently for Him (fret not yourself). Again, when our focus and
expectations are on our relationship with the Lord Jesus, the
results are security, fulfillment and God will be then free to
act according to His good and perfect will in our lives.
You may have heard the old gospel song, "Turn your eyes
upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of
earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."
That is not simply wishful thinking, Andrew. It is your heritage
as Christ's disciple. Spend time in the Word, not just reading
it as any other book, but as God himself speaking directly to
your mind and heart. The Word of God is living, active, sharp,
piercing, discerning and exposing (Heb. 5:12,13). It is also healing,
redemptive, and deeply satisfying as it reveals the Living Word,
the Person of the Lord Jesus.
Turn your expectations upon the indwelling Person of Christ.
"May God himself, the God of peace, make you holy in every
part, and keep you sound in spirit, soul and body, without fault
when our Lord Jesus Christ comes. He who calls you is faithful
and *He will do it*" I Thes. 5:23,24
I am one of a small team consisting of persons far more gifted
than I, and if you wish I will be happy to send along your inquiry
to them. Let me know if we can help you in any way. It is a privilege
to join you in your journey with Him.
Amazed by grace, Elaine