Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
(Matthew 28:20, NLT)
Do you feel alone sometimes? Me too. Most major news outlets, many health care providers, the Surgeon General and (of course) Google, all say that the new epidemic in the U.S. is loneliness. But you and I know this is not a “new” problem; it’s an age-old problem that has resurfaced yet again.
Even in the best of circumstances, all of us experience the sense of being alone. It happens in my life when I encounter situations where I don’t know what to do. Whether I am facing the big challenges, stresses and struggles of life, or just dealing with the little hiccups, hurts and hurdles of the day, the common thread that I feel (but don’t dare give voice to) is ... “I am alone.”
Just the other day I was frustrated to find that my roof was leaking—again. I thought I had it fixed! Now what do I do? Who do I call? How much is this going to cost? And as the rain fell, I was drenched in loneliness.
A few years ago, I found myself in the throes of a critical illness that had all the doctors stumped. My body, mind and life were ebbing away, and I was desperate. The medical professionals were working hard for me, my family was loving me, my friends were supporting me, and countless people around the world were praying for me … and I felt alone.
There is no rhyme or reason to loneliness. It comes on us when we are by ourselves, and it ambushes in the midst of a crowd. We feel alone when we are faced with difficulties in life, work, relationships, family, finances, and health and sometimes ... when all is well.
The Enemy of our hearts wants us to believe the lie, “you are alone,” but thanks be to God, we are not alone. God is with us in our moments of confusion and suffering, and—more importantly—He is with us even before we enter into those challenging places!
Jesus' last words to you and me, and to every lonely person who has ever lived, are, "Be sure of this: I am with you always." Thankfully, in God's economy, "always" means... always.
In Joshua 5 we find the leader of God’s people facing an impossible situation—the towering walls of the city of Jericho. I am sure that Joshua felt alone at that moment, but he wasn’t. Joshua encountered the Lord in an angelic messenger who told him that where he was standing—on the cusp of the impossible—was holy ground because God was already there. Even before the battle begins, the Lord is with us.
In John 6 we find the disciples on a boat in the middle of a storm and in big trouble. As the storm raged and the waters of chaos threatened, the disciples felt scared, helpless, and alone. But they weren’t. Jesus was already there—walking upon the waters!
In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul speaks a powerful truth to all of us who feel alone. He says, “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:5-6, NIV).
Did you catch that? In our moments of need and anxiety, we are not alone. The Lord is near! Even before the roof leaks, before that phone call comes, before the battle begins, before the healing happens, before help arrives, even before we call upon His Name (and even if we don't) … Jesus is with us.
Loneliness is real, and it is sinister, but it doesn’t have the last word in our lives. Look to Jesus with hope and take heart, for when we come before God with anything, we are standing on holy ground—because He is already there.
You and I are not alone.