Devotional January 4, 2019

I woke up this morning and just felt off. I was hyper aware of the “reality” that I don’t have many friends anymore. When I decided that the life I was living was leading me in a direction that I no longer wanted to go in, I watched my circle of close friends dwindle down one by one as I made choices to change my path with the help of Jesus. You could argue that if these people were my true friends they would have stuck by me through this transition in life and I’d agree, but nevertheless, the people that I’ve known the longest in my life and shared so much time with have disappeared.

It’s become easy for me to feel alone and without community lately. Just because I’m a Christian and I speak to quite a few people at church, I’m in a small group, and I attend other support ministries doesn’t exactly mean that I feel accepted or “in.” That doesn’t mean at all that I haven’t met amazing people along my faith walk, because I have. I guess I’m just used to having a core group that I’m connected with, that my family is connected to. A group that does life together that isn’t church sponsored. I’m talking holidays, celebrations, overall gatherings for no other reason than to be with one another. Sometimes church can feel like one giant in crowd that you’re on the outside of.

That’s how I woke up today. That’s what I was aware of. I felt this thick cloud of loneliness when I woke up and I began to feel despair. My soul yearns to be “in” something greater than myself. I wonder what John felt like as he sat in a cave, cast off, exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and sharing his testimony about Jesus. Before the angel spoke to him and he recorded the book of Revelation, I wonder if he felt alone, desperate for someone to engage with him. I wonder if he thought about his previous life? Did he miss his old friends?

I know, without a doubt that others feel the same way I do. Especially those who are walking out their faith in Christ. Everybody has a longing for belonging, because God made us for relationships. When we walk alongside other Christians in community, we will find that longing satisfied. But how do we get there?

I was reminded just now that Jesus made a habit of being alone during His time on earth. In Matthew 4:1-11, He was alone for 40 days in the wilderness. 

In Matthew 14:23, “He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.” 

In Mark 1:35, we will read that Jesus departed while it was still dark so he could go to a desolate place and commune with God. And in Luke 4:42, Jesus again went to a secluded place to be alone.  Remember, because of God’s presence in our lives, being “alone” is never truly alone. You are with God. Hebrews 13:5 reveals one of the most powerful truths in the Bible, seen clearly through its structure in the original Greek language. This short verse—“I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you”—contains four different negative Greek words. It is called emphatic negation, and it is the strongest form of Greek negation. In English, two negatives cancel each other out. But in Greek, they intensify the meaning. 

Thus, God will never, never, never, never, never leave you. You are not alone even when you are alone. 

I needed this reminder and maybe you do too. Jesus knows how you feel. He was abandoned by his closest friends and followers. He was also separated from God when enduring the punishment that he freely accepted in order to pay for our sins. Jesus Christ has experienced every human emotion including what it’s like to be lonely.

Seek Jesus in the moments when you feel alone. Trust that He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Gene Streeper

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