Loneliness is Real

“I lie awake.
I am like a lonely bird on a housetop.” 

Psalm 102:7, NCV 

 “The first time I defended myself, no one helped me; everyone left me. May they be forgiven.”  

   2 Timothy 4:16, NCV

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

Many in its pages, must deal with the sense of being left alone. 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 also a place where the Lord orders us to be quarantined. In order to deal with certain sins, He will purposefully isolate us from others. Believe it or not, our sinful attitude can spread to others. I have seen this and have experienced it for myself.

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.  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 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 because of loneliness.  It seems Jesus had a deep need to be understood.

Loneliness can be redeemed. 

It very often can spur us into a deeper awareness of the Spirit.  As a point of bruised weakness, it can bring us to a sense of His deep love for us.  It will probably not change the situation, but it can change our hearts.

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 severe 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.  I do understand, I really do.  All I can tell you is that He is wildly and passionately in love with you.  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 Equation of Discipleship

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

John 3:30, NLT

Before our Lord appeared, John the Baptist had incredible popularity.  Thousands and thousands came to him as he preached in the wilderness of Judea.  However, when Jesus initiated His own ministry, people left in droves to follow Him.  Imagine having a wildly successful thing going, and the next day having it fizzle.

I have discovered that it is one thing to be the center of attention, and quite another to be a minor player.  John the Baptist was the MVP, but overnight he was sent to the farm team (baseball metaphor).  Men and women reach for center stage, to be in the limelight.  But very few can move in the other direction gracefully.

A conductor was asked what the hardest instrument to play.  The interviewer expected that it would be a saxophone or trombone or some other.  The conductor just smiled,  and said, “The hardest is the second violin”.

How great victory was that which Jonathan must have gained over himself, when he rejoiced to see David raised above him! He discerned the mind of God in David, and had so learned to delight in God, that he did not see in David one who was to outshine him, but another faithful man raised up for God and Israel.”   

 
–Robert C. Chapman
 
Jonathan understood who David really was.  He had a sense of who was to be the new king. He had a conviction that understood David’s destiny and giftings.  Jonathan turned his back decisively on being made king.  Ambition was not in his vocabulary.  He could rejoice with David. Knowing this, Jonathan became a free man.

We must not aspire to being a leader as much as learning to become a true follower.

The need at the moment isn’t so much better leaders, but stronger followers. Often we struggle with this, somehow we believe, we’ll become “second class” disciples if we submit to another’s vision or giftings. The way of true servanthood is difficult for many. But to be a real follower will often mean not to strive or assert, but to surrender. That’s the way of Jesus.
 
Thomas a Kempis counseled,

“Be desirous, my son, to do the will of another rather than thine own.”

  
That is an interesting place to find yourself.  But that is the need of the moment.  He must increase, become greater, and I must decrease, become lesser.  There can be no room for personal aggrandizement. 

We need people who know how to play second fiddle.

 
 

When Your Giant Mocks

 

Young David stood and looked at Goliath face-to-face. 

Physically there was hardly a comparison.  Goliath was almost 10 feet tall, a warrior since birth–we read of his armor–he was like a human tank. 

But David was just a pesky boy, nothing more.  Goliath preened and strutted into the field of battle, and simple David was stepping up for his first try at hand-to-hand combat.

And then Goliath begins to blaspheme. 

He boasts and mocks.  In his mind he believes is superior, his arrogance knows no bounds.  The center of the universe is the Philistine army, and he is their champion. He is contemptuous of everything else–physical or spiritual.

Goliath essentially is a ‘human’ wood chipper. 

Everyone who has faced him has been destroyed.  There have been no survivors to speak of. But I find David to be powerfully exceptional.  His reaction to the ‘human mountain’ of Goliath was to run directly at him.  This is an astonishing faith.

“As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.  Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground”.

1 Sam. 17:48

Many of us face a giant called guilt, pride, doubt or despair.

Satan (our enemy) has marched out on the field of battle, confident of his ultimate triumph over us.  We’ve been rightly tutored that there are enemies that can destroy us. I suppose that should terrify us. And we’ve also been indoctrinated to accept their control, and the inevitable slavery, with a spirit of timidity.

The ‘monster’ of despair is real and brutal.  Our destruction is inevitable in his mind.  Satan does expect to win over your soul, but Jesus stands as our advocate shielding us. We are saved because He wants us saved.

Yet so many believers, cowed and intimidated, surrender to the boastings of the giant Despair.  Hope, and faith are drained out of our being, and we become an empty spiritual shell.  The “warfare” dimension gets nullified, and soon irrelevant.  Despair reaches us and has the full intention of taking total control. It’s never satisfied with just a little bit.

David ran to the battle–to face his giant. 

He passed through the dark intimidation and influence to approach Goliath.  There was no passiveness or doubt to cloud his mind.  David took a spiritually aggressive position, he took on the fear, and then ran directly at the giant Goliath.  His spirit was untouchable.

As believers, we might struggle and David and Goliathpout.  We can turn our hearts over to despair.  We become available to the enemies workings.  And the confidence we might have through faith is dissipated into doubt and confusion.  But the victory we have in Christ allows us the liberty, through the Blood of Him who defeats our own Goliath of despair.

bry-signat (1)

 

Bringing Down Your Goliath

Many things seem to have risen up to block us. What we have to face is scary.  It shakes us right down to our sandals.  We see the ultimate intention of the enemies work.  If we pass on Goliath, he will remain, and the Father’s plan becomes vulnerable. Sooner or later, he must be faced.

Then Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet tall! He wore a bronze helmet, and his bronze coat of mail weighed 125 pounds. He also wore bronze leg armor, and he carried a bronze javelin on his shoulder. The shaft of his spear was as heavy and thick as a weaver’s beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds. His armor bearer walked ahead of him carrying a shield.”

“Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!”  When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.”

1 Samuel 17:4-11, NLT

Things are such in Israel, that an active faith has no real significance.  Men are going to die, many very quickly.  Then up steps David, he is untried in battle, but within him is an eager commitment to a faith in Jehovah.  Fear has consumed hearts and minds, which are now full of ‘scary goliath fears’ and confusion.  They’re pretty much inconpacitated at this point.  The Scripture says “they were terrified and deeply shaken.” This is an irrational fear.

David (the shepherd boy) steps out and into the confusion.  He is resistant to the fear that attacks his brothers.  He identifies the giant before him as evil, and stands in the way of the Father’s will.  David advances without fear.

The space once occupied by fear has been filled up by faith.

This story, is much more than a story.  It may entertain schoolchildren, but it is so much more for us as believers.  Most definitely you will be called upon to face a Goliath of your own.  He is waiting for you, and you must step forward in faith. If you want to negotiate this away. Don’t! You are already dead.

So much points to Goliath’s superiority.  He is a man-of-war; a dedicated and trained source of death.  Goliath equips himself to stand quite forcefully over you.  He presses forward, confident that he will destroy you.  But David steps out of the line.  He is trusting in God alone.  He steps forward with no armor (Saul’s didn’t fit).

Something is about to happen, something children will sing about, and people will always esteem. Some theologians call this a “power encounter” which is about to tumble down.

David is about to kill Goliath, with just a stone from his sling.  He swings, throws and embeds a rock into the giants forehead– right between his eyes!  The giant collapses, and David moves forward,  and he cuts off the giants head.  He uses Goliath’s own sword to do this. Brutal and bloody?  Terribly so.

Each of us face a tall evil. 

Things around us are not much different.   Something that is monstrous and destructive.  We cannot reason with it.  We can only face it with the weapons the Father provides for us.  When we advance to that source, we must do so with a faith that is real and undefeated.

Some reading this are pounded with depression and mental illness.  I truly understand. But you’re called to advance on any personal darkness.

We must stand and take an aggressive posture against it.  As mentally ill people, the battle (and the stigma) is more intense, but it is overwhelmingly defeated by our simple faith in God’s Son.

Simplicity is our key, and we will not advance with anything less.  At times, we think that we can strategize our way to victory.  We hope to rationalize our enemy away by thinking positively about him.  We think we can move against him by being clever.  That will not work.  Our simple hearts must be laced with faith.  

We need to step in to this, and then we will dance in the enemies jaws!

bry-signat (1)

 &

%d bloggers like this: