Have you ever felt lonely? Well that is probably a dumb introductory sentence. It is like asking if you’re human as opposed to some kind of robot. I know that I have certainly experienced loneliness before, and the loneliness that I am referring to is not so much simply being alone and not having company. I am talking about loneliness of the soul. Feeling like, at any given time, you don’t have someone to rely on. You don’t have someone that you feel can relate to you and empathize with whatever predicament you are currently in. This kind of loneliness can be understood and acceptable under certain circumstances, but it can also very quickly become an idol that we allow to be planted in our hearts…. one that brings forth all kinds of bitter fruit.
Let’s try, however, to put this issue in its proper context. I think it is helpful to compare our experiences to those of others so we can have a better perspective of our own circumstances, so let’s look at one of, if not the, most extreme example of loneliness that anyone has ever experienced.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” -Matthew 27:46
This moment is like no other moment. The only one who didn’t deserve to be rejected by God was experiencing the most potent and stabbing abandonment possible. Wayne Grudem describes it like this:
But far worse than desertion by even the closest friends (the disciples) was the fact that Jesus was deprived of the closeness to the Father that had been the deepest source of joy in his heart for all his earthly life. When Jesus cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he showed that he was finally cut off from the sweet fellowship with his heavenly Father that had been an unfailing source of his inward strength and the element of greatest joy in a life filled with sorrow. As Jesus bore our sins on the cross, he was abandoned by his heavenly Father, who is, “Of purer eyes than to behold evil” (Habakkuk 1:13). He faced the weight of the guilt of millions of sins alone. -Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 574
That quote impacted me in two specific ways. The first is that my loneliness is nothing like this. There is never a sense of total, dread filled abandonment. There always seems to be some glimmer of hope that I can hold onto (unfortunately this can be a from of idolatry in and of itself). The sense of total rejection and feeling of being absolutely ignored is something quite foreign to me.
The second thing that impacted me is that I will never ever have to experience that type of rejection and abandonment. Why? Because Christ did it for me! That is the whole point. The very reason why he had to go to such extreme measures of physical and emotional pain and suffering: so I wouldn’t have to. So millions could be redeemed and freed from their much- deserved penalty.
So when you feel lonely, take comfort that you have a great high priest who can sympathize with that weakness. Who in every way was tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:14-16). Let your loneliness remind you of Jesus and the great sacrifice he made for you at the cross.