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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Alone but Not Lonely

One result of being on a daily television program is that people feel that they know you. On The 700 Club, where we talk about issues of the heart, I feel that I hardly ever meet a stranger. A feeling of familiarity transcends any awkwardness that might otherwise exist when two strangers meet.

We receive a considerable amount of mail in my office, and much of it is from people whose lives are filled with pain and fear. Many letter writers say, “I’ve never shared this with anyone before” or “There’s no one else I can talk to.” The problems differ, but the common thread that runs through them all is loneliness. Men and women in broken marriages, alcoholics, victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, depressed young people, people with sexual identity problems. People feel trapped and alone.

The Bible is full of people who struggled with loneliness. Sometimes when we read their stories we feel comfortable with the familiarity of them and don’t really consider their extenuating circumstances.

Take Moses for example. We usually think of how God answered the prayers of his mother’s heart and how blessed he was to have been plucked out of the Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter. But I’m sure he felt the stares and whispers as the only Hebrew in an Egyptian royal household. While he was raised in a privileged environment, his people suffered at the hands of the very man in whose home he lived, at whose table he ate. Talk about an identity crisis!

Moses was a man without a country. When he did move in defense of his people, he wound up killing an Egyptian, being scorned by his people, and fleeing into the desert to escape Pharaoh. Even later in his life, he was still a man called apart for the things of God. He must have been lonely.

Consider Joseph. He was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, and carried off to a foreign country. While there unjustly accused, imprisoned, and forgotten. He must have been lonely.

Then there was Esther, a beautiful young Jewish girl. Her parents had died, Mordecai had adopted her, and suddenly she was taken to the palace as part of a harem of women for a very self-centered king. Though she finds favor in his eyes, there is no pledge of fidelity. She must have been lonely.

All of these Bible heroes have their loneliness in common. But they share a more significant trait. They served a God who is great and mighty and who brought them comfort and hope in the midst of their loneliness. What He did for Moses, Joseph, and Esther, He will also do for you.

Father, when I am lonely it is easy to allow depression to get a foothold in my life. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I choose to lift my voice in praise to You. Fill me with the wonder of who You are and Your great love for me. Forgive me for looking to others for what I can only find in You. You are my all in all.

Excerpted with permission from Near to the Heart of God, by Terry Meeuwsen © 1998

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