“God I am lonely!” My heart cries out for the umpteenth time. My mind tells me I’ve got no reason to be lonely. After all, I’ve got a great family and God has miraculously provided support for us in our times of need. Still, my heart is dissatisfied much to my dismay.
The tears are reluctant to stop as though they are cleansing both my body and my soul. The voice of the punisher thunders menacingly “Its the consequence of your choices.” Part of me believes it; the other part begs for kindness and understanding. Yip, there it goes again, the black and white, all-or-nothing mindset. Aaaaggg!
Maybe you’re like me and all you want is that one person who just gets you. Truthfully, that person is one in a kazillion. So, that kind of friend is really a miracle and a gift all wrapped up in one awesome ribbon. Have you had such a friend? I have but briefly.
The truth that you and I already have such a friend who never ever leaves us. Jesus! I hear ya. It is the cliche Christian response. And yet. It really is the truth.
The issue with loneliness is:
We get lonely when we look to people to meet a need in ourselves that they can’t meet for whatever the reason is. In other words, we often want people to stop what they are doing to immediately listen to us, affirm and validate us, or come to our rescue. People don’t always know our needs and even if they do, they have the choice to reach out or focus on their priorities.
Yip. You and I aren’t always at the top of other people’s priority list. Bummer huh? It’s reality though.
Yes, we all need compassion and kindness. Sometimes our pain can be catastrophic and overwhelming. Or, life can just be too much and our past unforgiveable. In those moments, we cry out:
God, I am lonely!
He replies: “Beloved. I’ve never left you. I’ve been here the whole time.”
This is when we realize feeling and faith are not always compatible. Sometimes our faith needs to rise above our feelings in order to pull us out of the slumpy puddle we find ourselves in. Its ok to have feelings. Our feelings can’t hold us down. We need to acknowledge them and move forward; or, risk our feelings opening our minds to a battlefield of faith vs doubt.
This is where we have the power. We can choose to dig deep and cling to God as He reminds us:
Isaiah 43: 1-5
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
1 Samuel 12:22
For the sake of his great name, the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 27: 10
Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing;
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Or we can choose to continue listening to our very real feelings of loneliness. The choice is ours alone to make. One leads to despair while the other leads to freedom.
You see, the Christian walk is a journey of surrender to God. Each moment we face is an opportunity to give more of our heart and life to God for His redeeming love to overshadow us. Does this mean life will be all sunshine and rose petals? Of course not. It does mean that when we are weak, He is strong. We get to ride on God’s strength, courage, grace, and comfort all the days of our lives. Life carries on and we get to live in victory with every choice we make that aligns our hearts with God’s.
When I was gravely ill in the hospital waiting for doctors to find out what had made me ill and temporarily unable to walk, I faced loneliness. Each day, I had to choose to look into Jesus’ eyes for comfort and friendship. Yes, I had family and the beginnings of a beautiful support system. But, my family and support could not hold my hand every moment or confidently reassure me 150% that I was going to be ok. That was God’s job.
Today, I invite you to join me in doing two things:
- acknowledge the moments of loneliness and what it is you need
- turn to God as the only one who can really and truly meet our needs