Psalm 42:2a – My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (NIV)
One morning, while I was at my computer, my 15-year-old son interrupted my thoughts with these words: "Mom, do you know what the biggest problem in society is? It is loneliness!" He had no idea that at that very moment my fingers were poised over my keyboard ready to type the title, The Sacred Place of Loneliness.
That was in the 1990s. My son was eager to share what experts would later discover through extensive socio/scientific research: loneliness is at the root of the troubles facing youth. Without addressing loneliness, healing is impossible.
Once again, my fingers are poised over this title. Today, I invite you to consider loneliness, not as a hopeless plight, but as an inner void meant to be filled by God, and God alone. Consider it, therefore, as sacred space. Here is where we discover God. Here, His Spirit intertwines with ours. Here, we learn to distinguish God's voice from all other input.
In times of deepest loneliness, God often prepares His loved ones for their destiny. Abraham stood alone when he ventured into the unknown. Joseph was left abandoned in prison. The disciple John was banished on Patmos, where he received his revelation. We, too, can discover the best things of God in the experience of loneliness.
As we learn to walk alone with God, we no longer rely on the attention and validation of others; we lose our craving for false satisfactions and trendy notions. We become freer to think and create.
Inspiration for magnificent creative works has often been birthed through agonizing loneliness and rejection: art, literature, music, poetry, theology, and much more. These visionary works possess a lasting quality. They can touch the depths of the human spirit — because they did not arise merely from the trends of the day.
If we want to live effectively, we must guard this sacred space from clutter — like superficialities, busy-ness, and worries. We need to guard it from the constant barrage of voices; to fail to do so is how we end up doing things that God never authorized.
Let's not be quick to flee from the agony of loneliness, but rather to learn to embrace it. Consider what Jesus said in His own time of loneliness: "Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me." (John 16:32b NIV) As we learn to be satisfied with God, our pain-filled loneliness becomes transformed into peace-filled solitude.
- No bird is so solitary as the eagle. He who will fly as an eagle does, into the higher levels where cloudless day abides, and live in the sunshine of God, must be content to live a lonely life. God seeks eagle-men [and women]. Let us dare to stand alone. (From Streams in the Desert, December 20, L.B. Cowman)
Prayer: Dear Master, as we consider this sacred place of loneliness, we sense an inner battle arising. We thirst for You, yet we are terrified of loneliness, of not mattering to anyone. Train us to enjoy Your presence in the depths of our being, that we may dare to be alone with You. Amen.