Yes, I know that doesn’t sound like the most uplifting title. It doesn’t sound very positive or life-giving, does it?
The truth is, I’ve been lonely at different times many times in my life. I think we all have.
Sometimes I’ve chosen to be lonely because I didn’t go out of my way to find people.
Other times I’ve been left out and rejected. Most of the time I don’t think that the left out and rejected was intentional. But at the time, it felt that way.
Loneliness can make us feel less than. Not good enough. Like we don’t belong.
Personally, I don’t fit the status quo for many different reasons.
For one, I was homeschooled. Until I became an adult, I didn’t realize how differently I think because of it. I’ve never experienced classrooms full of students my exact age. In fact, I’ve only had a handful of friends that were or are my age, in my entire life.
For two, I probably have different beliefs and values than most people, sometimes even Christians.
Of course, there are times I really want to fit in. But I’m realizing that isn’t what I was called to be.
1 Peter 2:9 (KJV) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
Deut. 7:6 (NLT) For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.
When we are in the midst of loneliness, it can feel like the end of the world.
We want to run from it. We want to hide from it. We want for anything to make it go away.
Sadly, I often numb that pain instead of going to the life-giving source of the most high God.
I find myself some chocolate even if it means robbing the chocolate chip bag, just to feel better.
I refresh my Facebook feed yet again just so I can think about something-anything-else.
I watch a mindless t.v. show just to “zone out” for a moment.
Yet none of those things truly satisfy.
When we are lonely, we should be running to Jesus first.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (MSG) Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
He’s encouraging us never to quit. Never to give up. And most of all, Jesus is encouraging us to keep our eyes on him.
Keeping our eyes on him doesn’t mean doing everything perfectly.
It doesn’t mean that we’ll never feel down.
But know that he will always be with us.
Deut 31:6 (ESV) Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
He goes with us. We don’t have to fear or dread the next moment, day, week, or year. He will not leave us nor forsake us.
You might be saying, what does this have to do with loneliness?
I’m getting to it, I promise.
I’m learning (though very slowly it seems) that being lonely isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Why? Because, if we’ll let it, it will drive us right into the arms of Jesus.
Loneliness can remind us that we need him. That without him, we aren’t able to go it alone.
And if you’re anything like me, you desire more than anything else, to know Jesus-the author and perfecter of our faith.
So next time you’re lonely, take a moment to think. It may take a little bit of wrestling with your flesh. Of talking yourself out of that chocolate.
How about if, instead of chocolate, you and I got down on our knees and began to cry out to Jesus.
How about if you and I got into the Word and really began studying it?
What would change in your heart? What would change in mine?
I dare you to run to Jesus.