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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Loneliness A Place of Blessing

“But Jesus often withdrew

to lonely places and prayed.”

Luke 5:16 NIV

I don’t think anyone has escaped loneliness. Today while walking in the garden I was stunned by the beauty of one simple Gerber Daisy, standing tall, all alone among the depth of the dark greenery of the garden. This daisy was not wilted or broken. This beautiful red orange Gerber stood tall and open so that it could receive sunshine and rain from the hand of the Master Gardener. This lonely flower reminded me of a few times in my past when loneliness engulfed me.

Loneliness is the result of a personal loss of something we value or a separation from someone we love. We can become lonely because we are in a new stage of life, or we fear we will not find someone to share our life. Sometimes people are lonely because they are different from others, insecure, ignored by the majority, or looked over for many ungodly reasons. Others are lonely because they are ill and cannot leave their home.

Each person’s loss or loneliness is not to be measured by another person in terms of great or small. The fact is, every loss is personal and more likely than not, it is a loss that has left the one experiencing the loss with a knot in their stomach, an ache in their heart, and an overwhelming amount of emotional sadness. Loss is very personal and causes us to have thoughts that make us feel alone, afraid, angry, rejected, forgotten, set aside, mistreated, and often the victim. Sometimes we experience loss so great that we do not feel we can bare it without the help of God. Each person’s loss is painful and they alone must grieve in their own way.

Likewise, we should not measure our own loss in terms of great or small. Sometimes we feel guilty that we are even feeling sad and lonely. It doesn’t take much for us to look around and see someone else who has a greater need. Still we need to bring Jesus our loss and not feel guilty. Another time we may feel that the cross we have been given is far greater than anyone else’s and slip into a depressing pity-party. That too is dangerous. Jesus says come to me because I know how you feel, what you need, and how to help you. Trust me. We must remember that nothing is too great or small to bring to Jesus. I doubt that Jesus has a scale to measure our loss but without a doubt he sees our pain. Jesus is compassionate and weeps and grieves with us in our times of loss and loneliness.

God wants us to give our loneliness to him. Our Father’s heart beats in comforting love for us during our time of need. He wants to gather us to his breast and wrap his wings of love around us as he holds us so tightly that we can feel the thump of his heartbeat. Jesus longs to comfort us in our times of loneliness. “…as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” Luke 13:34b NIV We must not let our bitterness and fear push God away or shut him out.

I wonder if Jesus sometimes felt alone. I imagine he missed his mother and his family. He was a traveling man on the road constantly. Jesus was single. Did Jesus miss the Father and his previous home in heaven? Even though surrounded by thousands of people, did he still feel alone? Those twelve men that were closest to him were with him most of the time yet even in this circle of close friends I wonder if perhaps he felt alone because at times they didn’t understand what he was teaching, or who he was? Sometimes he lost friends. The rejection of so many people was yet another place of loneliness. So much loneliness, more than any man should bare.

Jesus had a remedy for his loneliness, it was more aloneness. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV I wonder if aloneness could be my remedy as well? Perhaps when I am lonely I need to be alone with the Father. After Jesus spent time alone with the Father, he returned to the routine of life. He was still alone, but he had been refreshed, loved and comforted by his Father.

On a positive note our lonely state is often the stage on which God will do some of his best work in our life. When we experience loss, we often experience less responsibility. Our life changes drastically. What was there before has left a huge whole and now Jesus wants to fill that whole with himself. It is the place where we learn to experience God’s love and comfort. Loneliness, a place where we are forced to be alone and it is often the very place we need to be to experience personal spiritual growth. It is the “alone with God” place where our character is being shaped for eternity. When we are going through a time of loneliness, we may discover it is the perfect time to pour out our concerns, our greatest fears, our “what ifs,” and our anger. It is a place where we surrender our will to the will of the Father and when we do our trust is developed and strengthened. When we give God a chance, it is during loneliness that we get a beautiful picture of how faithful our Father really is.

Our demanding lifestyles, the crowds of people that surround us, our work, our family responsibilities, too many church meetings, the couch of the psychiatrist, the mall, the noise of our music, the blare of the television, our hand held electronic devices, and the chair of self pity are all places that can shut Jesus out of our life. But Jesus says come away with me to a lonely place. Leave all of your “stuff” behind. Bring only yourself and your loneliness. Come to me and I will give you rest. If you will come to me, you will find that I will gather you under my wings and you will feel my heart beat in love for you my precious child. Come to me and be comforted. You are NOT alone. Trust me with all that you do not understand or know. Remember, I know things you do not know. I can be trusted. I know what I have planned for you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Simply trust me with the days ahead.

I doubt that we will ever be thankful for the times of sadness in our life. However, I have experienced being thankful for the outcome that followed my loneliness. All things do work together for good. I have experienced that when I have trusted God through my loss and loneliness; God changed me and made me a stronger person. The person I became was changed for the better. In addition, I have often been surprised by the wonderful plan that God orchestrated for my future, even before one day of my life came into existence. So then, if during our loneliness we can spend quality time with our Lord, our loneliness can be a place of renewed strength, grounded faith, elevated trust, and yes, wonderful blessing!


Have you ever experienced loneliness?

Did God change you during that time of loneliness? If so, what happened?

Do you believe that God can use loneliness as a time to build you up and bring about positive change in your life?

Have you ever found that your loneliness proved to be a place of blessing?

Have you used that experience to help others?


Dear Jesus,

Today I am feeling so alone. Please take this pain, this loneliness away if it be your will. If it is still not my time to leave the desert of loneliness please comfort me today. Refresh me as only you can. Jesus, I know that you too have experienced loneliness and I want to follow your example of going to a lonely place and seek the Father. Jesus, today I humbly ask you to use this place of loneliness in my life to shape my character so that I will become more and more like you. I thank you Father that you love me so much that you would allow me to go into the desert of loneliness. Father, I want to give my fears to you and trust you to be with me through this time of loneliness. Thank you that you never leave me or forsake me and that you always meet me at the point of my greatest need. I pray that someday I will be able to look back and see this time as a place of blessing.

In your name I pray. Amen