Welcome to ReCreate Ministry. Imagine a scene in which you wake up on Christmas morning, and there’s no one around. The night before, you had a house full of people. There was laughter, talking, joy, and a lot of love, but after waking up Christmas morning, you realize that all of those things are gone. The house is empty, and you begin to realize that you are all alone. You might have recognized that I’m talking in part about the plotline to the movie Home Alone, but what if I told you that there was actually a great Christian lesson to be learned from that movie? We don’t think about it often, but the times when we feel the most alone are often when we experience God in the most incredible ways.
This week, we are continuing our series called Lost, and we will be talking this week about loneliness. Now, I know this is something that we’ve all had to deal with at some point. Whether it’s the lost of a relationship, family member, friend, or even moving somewhere new, we’ve all dealt with loneliness at some point in our lives. If I’m being honest, the holidays are the loneliest time of year for me. My family hasn’t been close in years, so it’s always a struggle to figure out what I’m going to do that time of year, but it’s also the time where my accident happened, which makes it even worse.
Our main text for the week comes from 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18 (NIV). It says, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” There are several things we can take from this, and the first one is this:
These last 6 weeks have been extremely difficult for me. After enduring the end of a relationship that I honestly never thought would end, I found myself desperate for someone who knew me. I had put so much of who I was into my relationship that I had lost my identity. For many of us, this is something that happens all too often. We put so much emphasis on our relationship status that it becomes our identity instead of being found in Christ. Paul warns about this when he says, “outwardly, we are wasting away.” You see, the things of this world are temporary. No matter what you may be going through, it will fade.
I don’t talk about this often, but several years ago, I lost my uncle to Alzheimer’s. He had been my hero for my entire childhood. He was a 6th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and a very talented blues guitarist who taught me quite a bit about playing guitar, as well as buying my first guitar, which I still have today. The last time I saw him before he died was actually several years prior to his death. There was a weekend where I went to my grandparents house the same day that he was going to be there, and I brought my guitar so that we could play. When we did sit down to play, he couldn’t figure out what he was doing on the guitar, and he kept trying to tune a perfectly tuned guitar. The effects of the Alzheimer’s were already showing, and it devastated me. He was a man who I thought, as Randy Travis said, walked on water. To watch him struggle with something that had always been so simple broke my heart. I made a decision that day that I would say my goodbye to him then, while he still remembered who I was. That was the last time that I saw him, but I think about him every day. John 14:1 says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.” My second point is this:
Last week, we talked about the book A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis, and we are going to continue that this week, as well as next. Lewis wrote the book after the loss of his wife, and I can’t think of any more lonely feeling than the loss of someone you love. In his book, he says, “The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just that time when God can’t give it: you are like the drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.” This book is the most honest example I’ve ever seen of the way it feels to lose someone you love, and it fits just as well if it’s simply the end of a relationship as it does for the death of a loved one. The grief, anger, and loneliness you feel are the same.
I don’t use it often, but I love the way The Message paraphrases Proverbs 18:24. It says, “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” The thing that I have discovered in this season of my life is that real friends don’t care how broken you are. They love you regardless. God often sends us these friends in our most desperate times to help us see that we aren’t alone, and to show us an example of His love. The last thing that I want to highlight here is this:
Jesus took advantage of the opportunity to be alone to go and speak with His Father. Luke 5:16 (NIV) says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” In this season, I’ve been able to draw closer to Christ than I had before, mainly because He’s the only thing I’ve had for these last several weeks. When I haven’t had an actual person to talk to in the mornings, it’s left me with plenty of time to talk to God, which has actually helped a lot with my loneliness. Jesus did the same thing. He would go off on His own to pray, and it helped Him be close with His Father. The times when I have felt the loneliest have often been the times when God has shown up in the biggest ways, and the same could be true for you. Let’s thank Him for that.
Thank You for loving us in our brokenness. Thank You for making sure that we are never alone, and for being the one constant in our lives, even when we are alone. Lord, I pray for anyone who feels like they are alone right now. Wrap Your arms around them, and show them that You are there for them. Most of all, we thank You for Jesus, and it’s in His Name we pray.