Trinity Bible Church Ottawa
LONELY BUT NOT ALONE
- by: Joey Killeen 25/04/2012
Two things are certain: God keeps testing you until you’ve mastered a lesson; and, as life would have it, something spoken often comes true. God had been dealing with me about not taking offence when my feelings get hurt or when upsetting things happen. It was a difficult lesson to learn for someone who took offence when her car began failing her. How sad is that—being offended by your car! I had much to learn.
A lesson came within months after losing my job and feeling devalued by the loss of it. When someone called and asked for my assistance, I responded eagerly. Doing something meaningful brought value to my life. However, as lessons go, when my services were no longer required, and I was ungraciously dismissed, I felt devalued again. Yet, as I struggled with hurt feelings, and sense of rejection, I asked God to help me not to take offence. When he healed the pain, I said, “Lord, if I lose all of my friends, that’s okay, because I know I will always have you.” I should have known that another lesson was looming on the horizon.
To some extent, it seemed my declaration was about to come true. Lessons would teach me that pain need not last, and offence need not be taken, and growth with God keeps you humble in his desire for change in you. So, when friends seemed to be vanishing as fast as glaciers, and there was nothing tenable to cling to but my assertion, I discovered, much to my surprise, that indeed I was growing, as I focused on God’s love instead of the loss. It wasn’t too long ago that I had asked God to send me a friend who was like me, one who would understand and appreciate my quirks and sense of humour, someone athletic but creative as well, a left and right brain thinker, an individual to inspire and stimulate me. No small order. Not a demanding request of the Creator of the Universe. But, with dependability added to the mix, and with availability and distance not an issue, perhaps it was no small order. However, to my shame, I had forgotten someone—someone whom I should not have overlooked. Didn’t God, my Creator, know and understand me? —He made me, after all. Didn’t Jesus, my Saviour, appreciate who I was and love me all the same? —He proved that when he sacrificed himself for me. And the Holy Spirit, with whom I am sealed—isn’t He always available when I call on him? Who else could fulfil all my needs? So, how could I possibly be lonely?
Still, sometimes, in a desire for companionship, I become inventive. I imagine Jesus sitting next to me, with his hair tied back, dressed in corduroys and fisherman’s sweater, and wearing desert boots, now again in fashion, as we drive to the grocery store. I realize that he’s quite a catch as he walks beside me. If pride were a laudable attribute, I would display it unabashedly as people see us together. Although Isaiah 53 says that he had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, his love and compassion make him the most attractive man in the world. I watch in admiration as he assists the elderly by retrieving out of reach items off the top shelves, and helps in selecting the best vegetables from the produce aisle, all while engaging them in conversation. Laughter and excitement fill the store as they realize something special is happening—that someone special is among them. After we bag up the groceries and leave, he takes the grocery cart back to the kiosk, straightening up the carts that too often are left in disarray. He teaches me many things. He’s my hero. When I am with him, I always feel safe, and special.
So you see, even if, at times, I feel lonely, I am not alone. I have come to learn that loneliness is not a state of being—but being in a state without. We are not without, and never alone when we have a personal relationship with our Lord. Scripture assures us of that in James 4:8 as it states, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Again, I’ll attest to the certainty of things. Jesus is no imaginary friend conjured up by lonely individuals who are trying to find meaning to life. He is real and present as you allow him to be.