Someone once said “eyes are the window to the soul.” I couldn’t agree more. But when I highlighted loneliness last week, I took just one snapshot of a few lonely “windows” I’ve peeked into.
If we’re talking photography, the aperture I chose for the shot was wide – all my focus was on the looming feeling of loneliness, but I hadn’t yet captured the forest of hope to be found behind it.
That’s why I’ve been itching to follow up with a second snapshot.
The feeling of loneliness is monstrous. Whether you’ve experienced it as the sense of being unknown, the loss of someone dear, or the longing for a certain type of relationship, the source of loneliness is the same for us all: loneliness is the breach between our souls and the connections they were created for.
Loneliness hurts. But:
The hope behind loneliness is so much bigger than the feeling in front of it.
I remember the first time I saw hope behind loneliness. Just like a feeling (valid for a time, but eventually fleeting), I was in a season. It was a winter of loneliness brought on by loss and longing. But in that season, these words from Psalm 139 brought a december-y light to my soul:
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
In our highest highs and lowest lows, the spirit of our God is inescapable. Where can we go that he can’t find us? Can he find us in seasons of connection? Easy. In seasons of loneliness? You bet!
Now I can say this with confidence: without Jesus, there is no hope for loneliness. We can wander from high to low all we want looking for perfect connections, but as long as you and I are the fraying threads of Eve, there is no friend, family, or significant other who can mend our need for perfect connection.
But here’s the secret: there is a point to our loneliness. It’s meant to drive us to the only one who can mend us: Jesus Christ.
He can handle messy because he already came down to live in it, die in it, and rise from it. Why? So we can receive grace right now and later experience the reconnection of all creation to the way it was supposed to be in the first place. We have hope for right now while things are still messy, and hope for the day when they never will be again!
If Lonely always finds me
I’ll lose her at my grave
A short goodbye with tearless eyes
She took, but Heaven gave
Yes, we sometimes feel lonely.
But since nothing can separate us from the God whose “hand leads us” and whose “right hand guides us,” we can (and should!) live like we are never alone.
Well, let’s get practical! To live like you’re not alone, get to know the God who promises you aren’t!
Read his word daily
Invest in his people
Seek him in prayer
Enjoy his creation
If you’re feeling lonely, I feel for you. It is deep and disorienting. But remember with me that the hope behind loneliness is always bigger than the feeling in front of it!
So let’s set out bravely on the adventure of living like we are never alone.