Days will come when everyone will let you down. We are far too complex for it to be any other way. We are created in the image of God, immortal souls, and our needs can only be fully met by God. During times when we need the most support, we will often find that no one seems to be around.
We will experience vast and aching loneliness. We will despair. We will feel misunderstood and perhaps a little crazy. We will assume that no one else in the world understands or has this experience.
We are wrong. The fact is, everyone reading this post will be able to relate to it. This experience is universal.
For me, chronic illness intensifies this common human experience, making it a far more frequent occurrence. It is achingly lonely. Some members of our families may not understand. Our friends seem to move on without us. Some people may ignore our illnesses, because they simply don’t know what to say. Or they may simply have forgotten us, because we no longer comfortably intersect their lives in the usual places. Society doesn’t provide enough resources or support groups, and everyone is too busy to realize we’ve left the race.
The inability of others to truly see us can cause us to feel invisible. We find ourselves in a small and desperate place. Feeling abandoned, lonely, and unseen, when in reality God has his eyes fixed upon us, aware of our every emotion and comprehending our thoughts before we even think them.
This place of despair is where God can meet us and comfort us. But we usually run away from this lonely outpost, dodging him, distracting ourselves with our gadgets (as I am now), rather than simply turning to him immediately and avoiding all of this agony.
We are perverse. We are desert people.
Jesus knows what this feels like. He was misunderstood. His friends abandoned him. No one saw him clearly. People thought he was crazy. No one comprehended his mission. He died truly alone with God forsaking him on our behalf.
The enfleshment and suffering of Jesus made possible his comfort and provides our deepest intimacy. Here we gain his understanding and his peace. So I lay side the gadget and turn to him.
Will you join me?
“Before a word is on my tongue, you know all about it, Lord. You have encircled me; you have placed your hand on me” (Psalm 139:4-5 CSB).
Embodied Hope, A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering – This Give and Take Podcast with Scott Jones and Kelly Kapic offers great spiritual encouragement if you’re lonely.