The thought of living the rest of my life without another spouse (FYI – my husband died three years ago) truly frightens me. It feels like an abyss of loneliness, especially once my daughters grow up and go away.
I run an organization – it’s lonely at the top. I lost my best friend – it’s lonely every night when I come home. I have wonderful friends in my new home (our family moved here 3.5 years ago), but they have families and I see them rarely – I’m lonely most weekends. I am lonely for a family – I have few relatives, none nearby, and none that share my faith in Jesus.
One benefit of work – it relieves loneliness. And I am so grateful for the ability to virtually keep in touch with old friends.
But when I think of living without a spouse the next 20 years, and travelling the world alone (a dream), and going to bed night after night alone, I want to vomit.
God knows about my loneliness. Jesus knows it all too well. He experienced it when he didn’t entrust Himself to others, because He “knew what was in a man” (John 2:24-25 NASB), at Gethsemane when his close friends fell asleep and he faced the Cross alone, and on the Cross – when His BFFs in the Trinity turned their face from Him – for me, for us – because of us.
Over the last week, and even today, God has been speaking to me that somehow, someway, He can relieve my loneliness… even if nothing changes in my circumstances. Even if I never marry – and gain a confidante (about work) and a best friend to do things with. Even if I never find close friends to hang with every weekend. Even if my girls move away.
If God wanted to ease my loneliness with people, He is more than capable of doing so. He could whistle and a husband would appear, snap his fingers and friends would come over every weekend, clap to drop an instant family on my doorstep.
Maybe God wants to personally relieve my loneliness and draw me close in a way that’s amazing. Like the Psalmist experienced:
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise!
For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness. Psalm 84: 1-2, 4, 10
I’ve read about people who’ve experienced deep intimacy with God. I know some people who truly find in Jesus their best friend and their antidote to loneliness. I read how Paul got to the point where He could say, “to live is Christ; to die is gain.” (Philippians 1: 22).
When I read Psalm 84, I get that same sense, that someone so longs for God that he can’t wait to be in the temple, to be with God. His soul longs for God. His heart and flesh sing for joy in God’s presence.
I believe that there’s a place in the deepest aloneness where I can find God and not be alone. I long for that. I want to rejoice in His presence even if no one else is there.
Frankly, it’s a bit of a scary prospect to go there with God. I mean, what if I get so filled by Jesus that I don’t care if my loneliness is never relieved? Oh, it WILL be relieved … BY HIM!!! I won’t be lonely if I have Him!!
And maybe, just maybe, Jesus took my husband and is withholding the other sources of friendship and family that I desire – so that I might find in Him all I need or want, the end to loneliness. Maybe Jesus wants my longing soul to faint ONLY for His courts, for Him.
Dear Lord: I’m scared to walk this path closer to You, to let go of my dreams and longings, to come into Your courts alone. But what choice do I have? So, help me move forward and lose my life that I may find it in You. Amen.