Only the Lonely

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

There’s nothing quite like loneliness to break a heart. Isolation pushes in, and the air is too thin to breathe. You wildly look around for someone to help, to see, but there’s no one there. Or at least that’s how it seems.

The truth is, we’re never alone. Apart from the fact that we have an ever-present help in times of trouble, an always-there God, we also have His family. I know the temptation to think, but I don’t want to bother anyone with my problems is enticing, but that’s purely the work of the enemy. If he can keep you away from your brothers and sisters—who need you and your problems—he can keep you worn out and ineffective. If you avoid letting your family be your family, your problems will stay big and bad. Families exist just as much for the hard seasons as for the good times.

If you’ve been laboring under the impression that your only work in the kingdom is to do something, please hear your Dad’s heart for you: He wants you to be for the kingdom. Push pause on the trying harder, the production, the performance-oriented way of life; just be for a minute. To be is to allow all of who you are and all that you are dealing with right now (the good and the bad) to meet with all of who the next brother or sister over is. Of course it gets messy. Of course it can be uncomfortable. (And of course you should use wisdom in deciding who to let into the dark places and avoid gossip like the plague.) But this is where life happens.

In His perfect wisdom, God set the system up in such a way that our being made whole again comes about through living in community with others. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” As nice as it might be to hide our imperfections, our desperate need for the cross, from others, that’s not what the Lord who died on that cross had in mind. He wanted us to experience a good dose of family.

If you’re in a season of loneliness right now, please please please reach out to a mature believer. Yes, it’s vulnerable and scary. But what’s deep down more vulnerable and scary is the idea of living under Satan’s cries of joy for your isolation any longer. Coffee and confession are the quickest pair of grace shoes we can slip on and walk around in toward our freedom. And remember that these times are beautiful opportunities to do some gospel work: “Because my identity is secure in Christ, and not in being (say, a great wife), I can open up about my shortcomings at home and ask for help.”

You are not alone. Ever. Jesus died alone so that we wouldn’t have to live like that. It’s only when we step out and trust God’s plan for us in the healing process that we can begin to let the hurt come undone.

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