Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Are you lonely?
A while back I attended a large Christian conference on living for God as a single woman. One of the statements I remember from the speaker was "Loneliness is a call from God to act."
At the time I was impressed with this ideal. When I hurt and wanted so badly to find a husband, God wanted me to use that time to get closer to Him or to help others. I tried it. But the loneliness, the anguish of living life without a significant other, did not leave me.
Loneliness is a difficult emotion to bear. It is easily connected to self worth. What's wrong with me that I can't have some one? I remember screaming that out to God as I drove around the desert after my mother died. My three best friends had all gotten married within the previous couple of years. I'd spent that time trying to help my dad and my mom as she dealt with lung cancer. That loneliness was some of the deepest pain of my life.
Right now, I have three close friends who are all single and who all want to be married. I cry out to God for them because I know, I know that pain.
But I also know that being single has so many benefits. All three of these friends travel more than I could ever hope to. They are more focused on causes and their jobs than I have ever been. I never tell them that their loneliness is a call from God to act, though. I just try to remind them of how much God loves them and cherishes them. And I feel their pain.
Loneliness is not only for single folks. It is common to feel horrible loneliness in marriage, especially when
you or I expect our spouses to fulfill needs that only God can. What pain it is to be in the same house with someone you cannot connect with.
I am friends with a couple of new empty nesters, and their loneliness at being apart from their children cuts to their hearts. Going from their constant helper to just their "base camp" is excruciating.
Jesus knew what loneliness was like.
Mother Teresa wrote: "When Christ said: 'I was hungry and you fed me,' he didn't mean only the hunger for bread and for food; he also meant the hunger to be loved. Jesus himself experienced this loneliness. He came amongst his own and his own received him not, and it hurt him then and it has kept on hurting him. The same hunger, the same loneliness, the same having no one to be accepted by and to be loved and wanted by. Every human being in that case resembles Christ in his loneliness; and that is the hardest part, that's real hunger."
I know now, that while I was screaming in my car so long ago, Jesus was sitting right there with me. He wasn't offering meaningless platitudes. He was holding me as I felt horrible pain, the same pain He felt long ago. I don't think He was calling me to do anything at the time, but allow Him to be with me. So I did. And the pain passed. If you are experiencing loneliness, look up and let Him comfort you.