"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lonely, yet not alone

I'm rarely alone and yet, I struggle with being lonely. Sounds kind of funny when I have three boys with me at all times. How can I be lonely if it's hard to even go to the bathroom alone without locking the door? :) I wouldn't say I experience loneliness every day or even every week, but it rears its head enough for me to be aware. Even though we have a homeschool circle of friends, I often feel lonely on this path that God is taking us on. I quite often feel as though the choices we make for our family ostracize us from those around us. Sometimes it feels easier to isolate ourselves rather then feel the pressure to explain or defend our choices. In the midst of all that, I struggle with wanting to be understood as a person and still liked once all the layers are peeled back. Doesn't everyone?

When I experience these feelings of loneliness and longing for a place to belong, I am tempted with sadness.  (Oh how the enemy loves for us to believe lies and wallow in despair!) And yet, I have a Savior who can sympathize with my weakness. A Savior who longs to comfort me and give me joy and hope. I recently read this blog and the words I copied below capture my thoughts and completely encouraged me. I hope it encourages you too.

So here I am in a moment of profound loneliness even though I'm surrounded by people. There are many lesser reasons for that loneliness. Maybe others with me seem to be enjoying something together, and I feel left out of the group. Maybe something is going on in my head that I want to share with someone, but no one around me seems interested.

The gospel meets me here. I am not alone. And I do not mean that in a trite or superficial way. I. AM. NOT. ALONE. God's community with me through Christ's death on the cross is real. It means something very practical for me in those moments of profound loneliness. I feel lonely in a crowd because those around me don't seem to understand me or care about me the way I long to be understood and loved. Yet, I have access to the One who does understand me perfectly and who does love me unconditionally.

I have found only one source for relief of such loneliness—and it is simply Bible study and prayer. I read the Word, and God speaks to me. I pray and speak to Him. Then maybe I'll read some more, and He speaks more. Sometimes His Word to me reflects His eternal purposes for His glory. Sometimes it reminds me that He's doing something big and transcendent. But sometimes, He speaks a special word to me that pinpoints an exact issue with which I am struggling. It's a word He spoke and preserved thousands of years ago in Scripture, yet for me in that moment, the Holy Spirit applies it in a profound way.

In Christ, we are not alone. We are known and understood and heard and loved by the most Holy of all. The One who created us for community with Him has made a way to bring us back. Make use of this truth. Appropriate it. Nothing will sustain us emotionally like living daily in this truth. I quoted Hebrews 4:15 above. It's noteworthy that it is immediately followed by this. 
Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

~ Wendy Horger Alsup

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