Sometimes Loneliness is God's Invitation
Have you ever felt like you’re completely alone in your walk with God? Maybe you have a church or a Bible study (or both) that you attend regularly. Maybe you even have a close friend or two who are followers of Christ and help hold you accountable. Sometimes, however, the hardships and trials get really difficult. The days are too long and the nights are too short for any real rest. Maybe you’re like me and, in those times, you wrestle and wonder: can I do this?
Sanctus Real came out with a new song recently called "Confidence" and one of the lines in it says, "I'm not a warrior, I'm too afraid to lose. I feel unqualified for what you're calling me to do. But Lord with your strength, I've got no excuse, because broken people are exactly who you use."
I never feel more unqualified for my calling than when I feel like I'm completely on my own.
Maybe you’re a new Christian, or one who recently came back to Jesus, and in your circumstances you really are on your own. You haven’t found a church. Or maybe you’ve been going to one for a while and you still feel like a visitor. Maybe you just lost or left the church. Perhaps the one person you looked up to in your Christian walk just walked away from God, or passed away. The loneliness can feel oppressive. What do you do in those moments?
The advice to “trust your heart” is never a good one to follow. Scripture says your heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9), which means that anything emotion-based can never be trusted as wise.
It’s not that the heart isn’t important; it’s simply unreliable. Its state is always circumstantial, and when we react to our circumstances rather than respond based on truth, things always go sideways.
Every day I’m thankful for God’s Word, but on the days my feelings are like a cesspool I’m particularly grateful. We’re all familiar with that pool. It’s churning with the muck of despair, depression, hopelessness, fear, dread, exhaustion, irritability and irrationality.
According to the scriptures, Jesus gives life and life to the full (John 10:10), which means that none of those emotions line up with what Jesus came to give, so they must not be from Him. For those who have the Holy Spirit, scripture also says He gave us a Spirit of power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).
When our heart and mind is a mess, we go to the Word and the Spirit for our hand out.
When those emotions overwhelm us, and they’re trailed (or led) by thoughts like, “This is impossible,” “I can’t do it,” “I’m not going to make it,” “I’m not strong/smart/faithful/etc. enough,” “I’m alone in this,” “It’s pointless,” etc. you can know it’s not God whispering those lies. It’s the enemy. Now it’s up to you who you’re going to believe and what you’re going to do.
Jesus' words are full of promises about what He will do and has done. He’s always inviting and promising. He says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). “So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6). And, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns” (Psalm 46:5).
What if you can’t see the help coming? What if you aren’t able to visually or physically experience the help of God just yet? How do you hold on? How do you convince yourself that though you’re alone, you’re not really alone? We go to the truth.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).
“Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).
“Keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Just because you can’t see Him, doesn’t mean He isn’t there.
My friend, believe that Jesus is interceding for you. He stands before the Father defending you against the accuser. No amount of aloneness in this world can prevent or stop what He’s already doing and promises He will always do.
He died on the cross so nothing you have ever done, will do, or has been done against you, can have any power over you. Rest. Press your face in a pillow as though it’s the shoulder of the One who died for you. Cling to the covers as if it’s His very robe. Thank Him, and trust that He is getting everything ready for what’s to come.
In the meantime, there is something very special happening in the sensation of aloneness. Jesus draws you near to Him. Whether you really are as alone as you feel (according to your circumstances) or you just feel particularly lonely today, Jesus is inviting you to spend time with Him.
He wants you to Himself, and I’ve learned there is no better place to be than surrounded by the One who wants to consume you with His love, free from any distractions – no matter how good those distractions might be. Let Him. And watch Him bring peace that surpasses understanding.