My mother used to tell me I didn't understand how lonely she was after my father passed away. I tried to help her, telling her to call me whenever that feeling set in and I would come. Then she would tell me that sometimes her loneliness came when she was with people she loved. No matter what I did I failed to help her completely. Recently through my own experience I realized she was right that I didn't truly understand the sea of loneliness she sometimes faced.
This revelation came at the arrival of the holiday season. Suddenly, without warning, like a tsunami coming from an unknown direction, I was stunned to find myself struggling with a deep loneliness. Like being dropped in the middle of a deep steep-walled ravine with no one to hear my cry. The feeling of abandonment I fought through back in the spring returned to reek havoc once again. The tears flowed and I found myself in a battle for stability. Yet, when I focused on Jesus and His presence I found a peace that relaxed my nerves. It was as though the wave of loneliness got kicked out of the stadium.
As I struggled to keep my attention on God, King Saul came to mind. I hated to think I was like him, someone who didn't love God. But I had to ask myself, "Did King Saul feel this way?" 1 Samuel 16:16-23 tells us his relief from a troubling spirit came only when David played the harp. Interesting to note, King Saul never cried out to God in any way. (There's no mention of him doing it, so I can only assume he didn't.) He rested in the advice from king-pleasing-servants and in his own strength. Hmm. I wonder, if he had cried out to God would he have struggled so much? All I know is that each time I sang along with the praise music and cried out for Jesus to help me I felt the heaviness lifted.
The sermon at my church the following weekend spoke about taking refuge in Jesus during our battles with emotions and sins. After speaking of how God provided Old Testatment cities of refuge for the Israelites our pastor pointed out that Jesus is the New Testament place of refuge. (Hebrews 6:18-19)
Oh, I must say that even after conquering the sea of loneliness there have been moments when I feel it trying to encroach on me once again. But each time, I try to stop it in it's tracks before my emotions can kick in too far. Instructing my mind to focus on God's promise brings relief.
I'm not alone. I have Jesus with me always. I've been informed that the holiday seasons will bring some of this battle, but that in time there will be no more episodes. I need to remember it's a path that I must traveled to the place where loneliness cannot nor is able to enter. I look forward to that day.
Thank you Jesus for Your Presence with me. With You there is always hope.