Have you ever felt lonely? Your mind might instantly go right back to a time when you felt completely alone. You might remember the feelings of sadness, or frustration, or the feeling that no one understands, or I just don’t fit in....Maybe that’s where you are right now.
Loneliness is tough, sometimes it is really tough. It is something that is very real to me. But as we talk about this, I want to give you a hope and a choice.
When I was eleven years old, my older sister Naomi got sick and died. Obviously I was upset, but my parents were devastated. Sometimes I would go looking for my mum in the house and find her in Naomi’s room crying. Only a few months later, I started a new, massive school. And then on top of that we started a new church. There was so much change. This meant not being around the friends I grew up with, friends who knew me and what I had been through, how fragile I felt.
In the midst of this, I made a choice. I chose to turn to Jesus and ask for his help. I turned to him when my mum was sad, or when I felt I had no friends. And I knew, I just knew, without a doubt, that he was there, on this journey with me.
I moved to New Zealand three years ago from Ireland. These days, I live in Doubtless Bay in the Far North. Its one of the most beautiful places in the world, with gorgeous beaches and lots of sunshine. But it can feel pretty isolated, especially because I have always lived in cities and been surrounded by people. When I said goodbye to my family and friends at the airport in Dublin to come to New Zealand, it was exciting, but it was like my heart was being ripped out at the realisation that I was leaving them behind.
But, as I left in a sobbing mess, I had a sudden thought. What God says in His word is true; it says, “If I take the wings of the morningand settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me,and your right hand shall hold me fast" (Psalm 139: 9-10). This peace came upon me, and I knew that I would never be on my own.
On the first Easter, way back, Jesus was in a situation where I imagine He might have been lonely. Jesus had a cool bunch of close friends who hung out together heaps. They had fun barbeques on the beach, went fishing together, raised people from the dead, walked on water, you know the usual things friends do…. :) But I noticed something in the Easter story in the book of Matthew; at a crucial time in Jesus’ life, his mates bailed. He was about to die for his friends, and his friends fell asleep. Then later, they ran away when he needed them most. They even pretended they didn’t know who he was. When he was being beaten and picked on, and lies told about him, His friends weren’t there.
Yet in that lonely place Jesus still chose to die for us, so we never have to be lonely. He died not only to forgive our sins, but to put us in a relationship with God; a relationship of love, in which he will never leave or abandon us. Some friends say to us, "I know how you feel." Yet Jesus actually knows how we feel. I love how his last sentence in the book of Matthew, the very conclusion, says this; “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
If you are in a lonely place now, choose to talk to God about it. The Bible says, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted" (Psalm 34: 18) and “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8) God cares, he hears and he wants to be on your journey. Choose to start talking to him about it.
Karen Mcallister is a Youth Pastor in Doubtless Bay. She shared on loneliness at Easter Camp 2015.
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Scripture: Unless otherwise specified, Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.