There are areas of parenthood that I did not expect. One of these is loneliness in my children. It breaks my heart as I see them struggle to "fit in" and make friends. Sometimes it is easy, others it is not. I have children who make friends fast, and other children who cannot seem to find a "bosom friend" as Anne of Green Gables would put it.
As I have thought about it over the last few weeks, I have had to confront my own struggles with loneliness as I seek to apply God's Word and to comfort my children. We adults are not that different than our children. We are only better at the charade. We mask our hurts, hide our emotions, and close them off from view.
What about you? Have you ever been in a room full of people and felt hopelessly lonely? Have you ever found yourself with fellow believers who completely do not understand you, or simply leave you out? Have you ever been let down by a friend who should have been there for you? Have you ever laid in bed at night, lonely for the comfort of a spouse who is physically or emotionally absent? If you can answer yes, than to one degree or another, you can say that you have tasted loneliness.
In the year after Matt's death, I wrestled with being lonely. My bed was empty, my home quieted from the loss of his voice, and my heart was broken. I closed off my sadness from many and put on a mask. In truth, I have not reached the point where I have removed the mask completely even now. As I think about my loneliness now, I must confess that it is due mostly to my own failure to "open up".
I would be remiss if I did not mention that self indulgent sorrow and pity is a sin. We should not wallow in it, but should seek to "put it off" and to "put on" (Eph. 4:22)thankfulness and contentment. It is hard to draw the line as to where one wanders from being lonely to being self consumed, but each of us who struggles, must ask the question and be willing to "take every thought captive unto obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ".
Yet, I digress. I write to encourage with the encouragement that I have been given and to "comfort" with the comfort that I have received. As we think of our loneliness, when our friends do not understand us, when we are ostracized for a conviction, and when earthly relationship fail to comfort we should think of our Savior. We have a great high priest, (as Hebrews 3:15 says, "...for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has in every respect been tempted as we are yet without sin.")who has walked the footsteps that we trod. Can you think of anyone who ever lived who was more misunderstood, mocked, and sorrowful knowing all the time that His end was to die the terrible death of the cross and pay the penalty for the sins of His chosen people. He was a lamb led to the slaughter willingly(Is. 53:7). Isaiah 53 continues to tell us that Jesus had, "no beauty that we should desire him" and that He was, "despised". Stop and think of the emotional pain and loneliness that our Savior as a man withstood. In Is. 53:4 it says, "Surely He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows...he was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities....the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all." How did Jesus not falter or quail? By the same power that He has purchased for us on His cross. You see the power that raised Christ from the dead is given to us by the Holy Spirit so that we can walk the lonely paths, put off sin, and find comfort for our souls. Dear reader, Come to Jesus. Find rest from your weariness in Him. Pray to Him asking Him to help you know the riches of His mercy and to be able to say with David, "Whom have I heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25
Jesus has purchased for us so much on the cross. Not only our salvation, but also a relationship with Him that rises above all earthly relations. His love for us in His sacrifice has secured assurance, peace, contentment, joy, and grace. We have to seek after it, we must be diligent, but he does reward. Let us not be lonely, let us be filled with the love of Christ and find our all in Him. Pray, and ask the Lord to be near. Attend the means of grace. Continue to, "seek the Lord while He may be found..."(Is. 55:6). We need not lean on any earthly crutch, let us cling to Jesus.
Nothin in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.
Naked come to Thee for dress, helpless look to Thee for grace,
Foul I to the fountain fly, wash me Savior or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shut close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown, see Thee on Thy judgement throne,
Rock of Ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.
Rock of Ages