Loneliness is Real

“I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.

Psalm 102:7, ESV 

 “At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!”

   2 Timothy 4:1

The Bible is very sensitive and its aware of the difficulties of loneliness.

We discover that the sense of being all alone is quite common. We’ll encounter this awful thing before our day is done.  To be alone, isolated, and separated brings us a ‘solitary confinement‘ of our hearts.  That difficult confinement will never be easy.

There’s a place where the Lord orders us to be quarantined.

Sometimes, in order to deal with certain sins, our Father will purposefully isolate us from others. Believe it or not, your sinful attitudes can spread to others. Sin is often compared to spiritual leprosy. I have seen this and have experienced it for myself.

But loneliness doesn’t have to be a sin issue. (Although it often is.) Being lonely can be a season in your life; like winter is waiting for spring. This is a hard time to be sure. The field seems dead, fallow, and waits for planting seed. Ministry is not really easy during this season. It seems like a time of preparation.

Both David and Paul were often lonely. 

King David looked around and found nobody that he could be with.  He felt like a solitary bird when all had flown away, and the apostle Paul knew true abandonment.  Everyone had left him by himself in this difficult spot. The reality is, we need others.  And often, too often, this is when this is withheld from us, and we’re somewhat vulnerable.

Jesus knew what it was like to be terribly lonely. 

“You will leave me alone, but I am never really alone because the Father is with me”  (read John 16).  I often think He spent all that time in prayer, to somehow connect with His Father was because of loneliness.  It seems Jesus had a deep need to be understood.

Your loneliness can be redeemed and used by God.

It very often can spur us into a deeper awareness of the Spirit’s work.  The only way I can describe it as a point of abandonment or isolation, but it also brings us to a sense of His deep love for us. 

Loneliness is one of our Lord’s favorite tools in restoring our hard hearts.  It has a wonderful capacity to do things in us, that none of His other ways would work.  It can be the perfect mechanism for Him to deeply touch us.  And He will not hesitate to use it.

Often there can be a definite loneliness as we move toward Him. 

This is acquired loneliness that comes when we start separating ourselves from the world.  Few or any will understand you, or why you are doing this.  To follow Jesus, is to become like Him.  If He struggled at times with loneliness, so will you.

I have nothing at all to say to those who want to escape this bitter misery. 

I can say no ‘magic words’ that will lift you out of this pain. Sometimes you just might have to plow it through it on your own.  But I can tell you that He is wildly and passionately in love with you. You are never alone. Never.

If everyone forsakes you and leaves you standing alone in a tight spot, He will be there.

“For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  

Hebrews 13:5

The Valley of Tears

He Sees Every Tear

“As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.”

Psalm 84:6 (NIV).

In Hebrew, the word “baka” means tears.

In Psalm 84, the sons of Korah write their praises of God and note that those whose strength is in the Lord will travel through the Valley of Baka and find His peace there. For some of us that Valley of Tears seems never-ending, but we must remember we are not alone in it. I wrote this poem to remind myself of that truth. I hope it blesses you as you pass through the valley of tears, too.

The Valley of Tears

My Savior will dry all my tears
The Lord God knows all my fears
As I trudge onward many years
I pass through the Valley of Baka

Great pain and agony oppress
I feel heavy weights of duress
Praying for dear Jesus to bless
I pass through the Valley of Baka

I see that this valley is long
I need You to make my faith strong
That Lord I might sing a praise song
As I pass through the Valley of Baka

 

 

D

I Came to Love You Late [Regrets]

regret

Regrets are a funny thing.

You really start to gather them when you’re middle-aged. I’m 62 now and am surprised (and somewhat disturbed) by my memories of things gone by. I guess this is one of the job hazards of getting old. But that’s the deal.

I guess what really bothers me the most are all the missed opportunities.

I wonder what life could have been like if I had accepted Christ at a younger age. A lot of pain would’ve been averted and perhaps I might have loved Jesus deeper than I do now. Some of us come to love Jesus late in life. There is so much time frittered away.

I regret the years spent in rebellion and disobedience. I remember the words of a 70-year-old man who had just received Christ, “Why did I wait so long for this to happen?”

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,”

Philippians 3:13

Paul learned to adjust his vision to his calling. He no longer lets his past sin and regret define him, choosing rather forget the past and press into the future. He did understand his sin and guilt. He also knew that his sin was atoned for by Jesus’ blood. 

The solution to our regret is to focus on God’s total forgiveness. Past, Present, Future.

Paul clearly saw what lay ahead of him. Heaven was his destination, and, it’s our calling as well; it’s where we truly belong, made righteous in the loving presence of Jesus.

Peter tells us that our past sin was enough. We have wasted enough time doing evil. I don’t know about you, but I had a bellyful of sin, and it’s time for me to lay aside all my foolishness and rebellion and instead live for God. Enough is enough.

You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.”

1 Peter 4:3

Thinking about my past keeps me humble and broken (which is no small thing)! But it also cements me into the joy of His marvelous amazing grace. I now know Jesus’ love.

Oh the joy I have of being forgiven!

David, that great sinner-king, understood the joy of forgiveness. He wanted us to believe in it as well:

Oh, what joy for those
    whose disobedience is forgiven,
    whose sin is put out of sight!

Yes, what joy for those
    whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
    whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

Psalm 32:1-2

“We are to be re-made. All the rabbit in us is to disappear-and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy.”

     C.S. Lewis

 

Tears Have a Purpose

her-tears-grey-puddle

I’ve been thinking a lot about tears lately—in part because Pastor Bryan pointed out to me how many hits my post titled God Keeps Your Tears in a Bottle has had, in part because I’ve cried more than a few tears this year, and in part because I’ve been listening to Johnny Cash’s Cry, Cry, Cry in my car all week—and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all here.

People cry for a lot of reasons.

Earlier this year my sister died of breast cancer at only 61 years old. I cried, a lot. It’s normal and even helpful to shed tears over the death of a loved one even if we know where they are going when they die, because it allows us to express the grief we feel over not having them in our lives any more here on earth.

I remember a time I had a previous boss say some very cruel things to me in front of other people. She accused me of having done things I had not based on motives I did not have. I was very angry, hurt, and frustrated. And I cried, a lot. I didn’t cry in front of her, mind you, but afterwards I did. And it was good to express that anger to others.

Just yesterday I experienced unexpected tears.

I was reciting the prayers of the people in church, which I’ve done many times. Our church has many prayer concerns for members, family, and friends with health concerns and more. Towards the end of the prayer I began to lift up prayers for a church member’s brother-in-law who is a pastor back in New York because he is faced with conducting the funerals of two teens who had been killed in an accident last week, and with comforting the families of three other teens who are in critical condition.

I unexpectedly had tears in my eyes and my voice cracked praying for these teens and families that I don’t even know. But they were good tears because they touched those who heard my prayer and I know they touched our Lord, too.

I have cried tears of loss, anger, indignation over an injustice, frustration, compassion, and even of joy. I sometimes cry tears of regret when I hear a beautiful song about the sacrifice of Jesus, knowing it is my sin that required him to suffer.

Tears often serve a purpose, as expressed in this poem that I wrote recently:

Tears

Tears of sorrow, anger
drench my soul
course without end
eroding pain, anguish

Where once only aching
occupied my heart
now is a deep empty ravine
carved by a river of tears

Tears of forgiveness
water my soul’s riverbed
allowing flowers of love
to flourish and grow

Peace arises in my heart
held aloft by God’s promises
the fragrance of sweet alyssum
blossoms of my soul

I think the saddest tears of all, though, are the tears of major clinical depression. These tears are so sad because the one who cries them doesn’t know what purpose they serve.

I remember when I was suffering from depression sitting in a chair and just crying. When someone asked me why I was crying all I could say was, “I don’t know.” And I truly didn’t. The tears didn’t wash away pain; they only seemed to make it all the worse.

In the midst of such tears, there is One who knows their purpose.

Romans 8:26 says: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Through prayer God can sometimes lead us to an understanding of the purpose of the tears of depression, and ultimately to healing. Often the wounds are so deep it takes years and a great many groaning prayers to heal. But we must accept our weakness and our need for God’s Holy Spirit to intercede for us.

For me, after much prayer of my own, the blessed prayers of others, and the intercession of the Holy Spirit, God led me to an understanding of the purpose of my tears. They were tears of anger and unforgiveness; they were tears of lament that I had allowed myself to remain in bondage to the sins of another for so long.

With God’s help, the tears did lead to healing once I truly understood why I was crying.

May You Know His Peace,

Linda K

Linda has a good blog that touches hearts worldwide. 

 

 

 

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