I am exploring this thing called loneliness. Care to join me?
Here is what I am learning: Loneliness is an opportunity to invite more of His presence into our lives. It is an invitation, a dare even, to draw nearer to the only One who can fill those deep chasms…. depths that only He can see; He is not scared to go there with us. I had a revelation this morning that while loneliness is something that is part of the human condition and every person experiences it at various times…. it is not meant to be something we run from but rather something that causes us to run straight into the arms of of our Father.
“The climate in which monastic prayer flowers is that of the desert, where the comfort of man is absent, where the secure routines of man’s city offer no support, and where prayer must be sustained by God in the purity of faith.” – Thomas Merton
In the desert. Check. Comfort of man absent. Check. Secure routines that offer no support. Check. I guess all that is left is prayer — having a conversation with my Father — out of a raw, honest, heart of faith.
It is tempting for me to distract myself, find other things to do, go online, cook, clean, exercise, and find any and all means not to enter into the depths of the feelings of loneliness. In a culture where everyone is go go go, it’s easy to disguise our running as just doing what everyone else is doing: staying busy. Our culture applauds productiveness and busy schedules; It’s supposedly a sign of success.
But what if there is One out there who is using loneliness to beckon us to come and spend time with Him? If we never knew what it was to feel alone, would we even bother seeking after the One who never leaves us and wants to assure us of His love and presence?
I am seeing loneliness through a new lens. It is a sweet and tender invitation from my bridegroom to come away with Him and fearlessly plunge into the depths of my heart and His heart to discover the truths He has hidden there that are more valuable than any gold or precious jewels. It’s like I’ve known this for so many years but I feel like I’m learning it for the first time.
Most of the world’s great souls have been lonely. Loneliness seems to be one price the saint must pay for his saintliness. – A. W. Tozer
This is evidenced in many Bible stories, and there were renowned people in the scriptures who were married, had children, and still experienced this loneliness. That is to say, I do not think loneliness will ever completely leave us. It’s not meant to. Whether I am forever single, or one day a wife and mother, those moments will still arise where I feel there is not a single soul in the world who fully understands me. That’s because there isn’t. Only our Creator knows us at that level and only He can fill those places, whether you be a monk, saint, prophet hiding in a cave, or a busy community member with a buzzing family life.
The pain of loneliness arises from the constitution of our nature. God made us for each other. The desire for human companionship is completely natural and right. The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His Godgiven instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone. The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way. – A. W. Tozer
So, my friends, the invitation is to throw ourselves on the Lord and cry out to Him. To know that the deeper we are experiencing the depths of loneliness, the deeper we are relating to our Lord Jesus Christ.