Loneliness can be a funny thing. I don’t have to be alone to be lonely. I can feel just as lonely in a crowded room as I might on an empty street.
As I make myself busy and attempt to ignore my feelings of loneliness, I make more of a mess. Fortunately, I am blessed with some amazingly wise and godly friends and a husband who all encourage me to struggle through those feelings. Why do I feel lonely? What am I looking for that God has not already provided me? Is there something I am holding on to that I shouldn’t be? What do I not trust God to provide? Going back to the gospel and Buechner’s words, what is God stripping me of to ultimately clothe me? Why do I like my ugly labels and sins more than the gifts he has for me?
In a Nashville adventure last spring, we SOARed (aka an intense study) through the book of Habakkuk. I recently reread Habakkuk’s prayer in 3:17-19 and am reminded of the reality of the gospel and how I should live in response to that reality. (Funny that this verse mentions a fig tree.) “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on to the heights.”
One of my wise friends has frequently loved me with these words from Zephaniah 3:17. “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Despite my ugly sins and my filthy rags, my Jesus loves me. He strips me bare to ultimately clothe me. Jesus wants to expose me – to expose my need for his grace. I am not alone, though I may feel lonely. I can acknowledge that I feel lonely so long as I do not live in those feelings as my reality. I need to struggle through my perceived loneliness and live in the reality of the gospel and his grace. God is greater than my prison of loneliness. Thank you, God, for revealing to me this prison. Thank you that you are greater than my prison.