I’ve often considered myself to be a stranger in a strange land. No matter where I turned, I remained a lone square figure trying to fit into the circle of life, particularly when it comes to trying to find fellow Christians who believe as I do, where we have enough of a common bond on which to build true fellowship.
But today’s churches are so completely given over to apostasy, tossed to and fro from every wind of doctrine, that there appears to be no respite left. You must believe a certain way and conform to a religious system, or else. Any attempt to reform and fix what’s broken results in you either being shown the door or being shunned. If a corrupt system that continues to “crucify Christ to an open shame” will not change, what is left for the remnant of believers to do?
I decided I had enough of Christians, and one occasion declared them to be idiots with a diminished mental capacity and an absolute inability to discern good from evil. I was angry and admitedly painting with a broad brush, but it was instructive to see how professing Christians reacted to my rant. Rather than express sorrow that I felt the way I did, they declared my frustration to be the result of wrongfully judging Christianity based on a handful of bad micro-experiences that I had with churches. You see, they are just so awesome and wonderful, and these incidences I experienced so incredibly rare that the problem MUST be on my end. It simply couldn’t be possible that we were in the midst of an epidemic that polluted the well of Christianity to such a toxic extent that it’s hardly recognizable today. Christians today continue to eat, wipe their mouths, and insist that they have done no wickedness.
Churches have become unclean systems of cliques, corruption and heresy. The Bible makes it clear that rather than continue to participate therein, we’re to come out from among them and be separate, “and touch not the unclean thing.”
Or in essence, the religious version of going “Galt.”
Because we live in a generation that refuses to listen to reason, refuses to change, refuses to look within and viciously attacks those who dare to shine a spotlight on their evil deeds, there seems to be little recourse other than to fade into the shadows. After all, why continue to dwell where you’re not wanted?
I wondered if there was a biblical precedence for this. Are true believers operating outside of God’s will by removing themselves so completely from the picture that few even know of their existence? That certainly seems to be the life I live now. I only experience peace and closeness to God when I stay away from other Christians, as much as I can, as often as I can, living as a contemporary hermit in a cave of my own making. And while the loneliness can be wearisome at times, there is safety and tranquility within these walls. But was living this kind of life a sin?
Then I remembered Elijah’s story, who at one point had become so exasperated with the futility of his ministry that he bluntly declared that he was the Only True Believer left. That is, until the Lord told him He had preserved over 7,000 people who equally did not bow down to Baal, evidently so deeply hidden in the shadows that Elijah was completely unaware of their existence.
It makes me wonder, as quick as I am to believe I am also the Only True Believer left, how many others like me are living in their own caves as well, and if the time we spend here will also be only for a season. It is telling that while God admonished Elijah for hiding out in the mountains, He also showed kindness, gave him hope and then clear direction on what to do next. As ideal as it might have been for Elijah to have never left to begin with, it was understandable to see even an anointed prophet like him become burdened by despair and so bewildered by what he experienced that he sought respite in the mountains away from everyone and everything. It was a process he had to go through, before his faith would finally be renewed and he could move forward confidently again. I saw his experience as an example that we may not always be where God wants us to be, but He will still meet us where we are. More importantly, it underscored the wisdom of waiting for clear direction so we’re not thrusting ourselves back out into the world flailing aimlessly.
So while I appreciate my cave of solititude and respite, I hope it will give me the space I need to draw closer to God, until the time comes when I receive clear direction myself, so I can become a more profitable servant for His kingdom.