You Are Never Alone
Have you ever felt deep loneliness? The kind of loneliness that envelopes your life with a sadness too deep for words? Have you ever felt like you couldn't turn to anyone because they wouldn't understand the depth of your pain? They wouldn't be able to fill that void. Yes, they could provide some temporary relief, but the emptiness would spread back into your heart once you find yourself alone again with your thoughts. If you ever felt this way, then you are being set up to have an encounter with God.
I believe God places us in situations that deprive us of human intimacy to produce a special intimacy with him. It comes through pain. It comes through being humbled. It comes through fire.
I experienced this several months back when I was teaching at a local high school. I unwisely took on a position teaching Sociology, English, and History without any time to prepare or get acquainted with the subject matter or school. I received a call on Saturday and found myself teaching on the following Tuesday. Call it hubris or stupidity, but I decided to take on this challenge. "Boy, did I make a huge mistake!"
Two months into my teaching stint, I realized I was in over my head. Yet, this adventure into arrogance only played a minor role in causing me to finally break down and say, "God, help me. I am so lonely."
A year earlier, I was part of a dynamic pastoral team. I finally felt part of a family, I finally felt I could contribute, but I made a foolish mistake and broke trust with them. I lied. It then caused me to resign from my position and I soon found myself alone and not part of a team anymore. There was no communication, no follow up, and no meetings. I was left to process what happened on my own.
This became the fuel to ignite a deep feeling of abandonment, rejection, and then it grew into deep loneliness. It only took teaching in an impossible situation to push me over the edge. It became the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
In the midst of a throng of students, I silently cried out to God and said from my heart, "Help me God, I am so so lonely!" I then felt the dark spectre of loneliness leave and I experienced a powerful sense of God's presence envelope my life. It felt like a father's arms wrapping around me in a warm embrace. It was profound. It was real. It was instantaneous. It was God. I was blown away.
I knew that I knew from that point on that God loved me and would never leave me. The Bible states in James 4:8, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you....."; Matthew 28:20, "....I am with you always, even to the end of the age." He became Emmanuel at that moment to me, "God with us! God with me"
I thank God now for throwing me into the wilderness of solitude. Why? My voluntary exile became my opportunity to draw near to God. I believe everyone is lonely until they fill that void with God. Yes, everyone is building their security on superficiality, rather than a deep and profound rest in God. Augustine was right when he stated, "Our hearts our restless until they find their rest in thee."
Yet we fill that void with entertainment, people, food, alcohol, and other distractions. We fill it with things other than God. Psalm 62:1 states, "My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation." Isaiah 41:10 states, "So do not fear for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Take some time to try God. I do not mean to be cynical to imply that you don't turn to God first, but if we are honest with ourselves, it's usually something else like entertainment or some other earthly distraction that captures our heart first. Therefore, just start talking to God and watch how your loneliness or anxiousness starts to dissipate. Watch how your joy increases. Watch how you become a friend of God.