“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so.” – William Batchelder Bradbury (hymn), Anna Bartlett Warner (poem)
For those of us who grew up in the Church, how many of us know this song? I’m confident when I say a fair number of us have heard it before. We grow up knowing He loves us, hearing He loves us and even singing (via countless worship songs) about how much He loves us. This divine Love is even described and referenced countless times in Scripture! Though I know in my mind and heart that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have a love for me that cannot be matched or comprehended, I would be lying if I said that I’ve never questioned how or why He loves me. Of course I’m not perfect, none of us are. And it is absolutely amazing to know that God, the Father loves a sinner like me. Me! He loves me, He wants to be with me, He sacrificed His Son for ME! I cannot begin to comprehend how much He loves all of us. Always offering grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, wisdom and strength. But what happens when we forget?
There are many thieves of joy but the one that is really waging war on so many of our hearts is loneliness. What happens when we know that God loves us, but we don’t feel it because loneliness has such a strong hold on us? In this current season of life, I am enjoying and thriving in my singleness, serving in the Church, pursuing ministry, being deeply involved in Christ-centered community, and falling more in love with Jesus every day. But to be completely honest, I’ve been struggling with loneliness for a couple of weeks now. After having gone to my small group and confessing how I’d been feeling, I have an amazing group of women praying over me every day to ward off the enemy and say, “not today, satan! Jesus has my heart and you will NOT conquer me with loneliness!” Even still, some days are better than others and I am quickly seeing how constant prayer needs to be. I have always wanted to improve my prayer life and really grow that part of my relationship with God. However, I still have those days where my loneliness is so immense, I can only cry into my pillow and repeat Jesus’ name in my heart and mind.
Now some people have always wondered, “how can you be in community and still feel lonely?” Well I’d love to clear that up for you: being alone and experiencing loneliness are two different things. Alone is defined as, “having no one else present; on one’s own”. Being alone is physical because no other people are around you. Loneliness is defined as, “affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone”. In other words, loneliness is very emotional and though you may be surrounded by many people physically, you may be lacking fulfillment in emotional closeness. I hope this helps!
There are many myths about Christians and as we continue our journey together, I will debunk as many as I can. Why not learn truth while you’re learning Truth? One of those myths that relate to our topic today is this: Christians never feel lonely; 100% of our days are spent feeling the Lord’s presence because we don’t have anything to worry about in our lives! May I just say, that is a LIE from the depths of hell itself (can I get an amen?). This is very untrue and I will show you 3 reasons why. 1) The Bible itself is a testament (see what I did there, haha) to how God was able to shine through the many trials and hardships His people and servants faced. Many died because they professed Jesus as Lord! But o how sweet it is see such encouragement come from the Father. In James 1:2-4 it says:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”.
It doesn’t say “if” you meet trials, but “when”. Christians are told from the get go that we will have to face many things in our lives just like everyone else but the difference is that we have God to rely on. He says we will have hard times but we won’t have to face them alone. Another aspect of this myth to debunk is that we always feel the Lord’s presence by 100% of the time. 2) How many of us have been in a dry season where we may know He is there but don’t necessarily feel Him there either because we can’t hear His voice or sense His presence? Many of us have been there and this isn’t because He has left and abandoned us. Hallelujah, that’s not in His nature! He does have times , however, where He is simply silent. This isn’t meant to hurt us or tease us but to draw us closer to Him so that we can seek Him more and truly lean into all He is. Scripture repeatedly says He will never leave us or forsake us and God is a God who is active, present, and always keeps His promises. Amen! Finally, 3) Christians do feel loneliness because we are human. We are just as likely to experience the very human emotion of sadness that stems from feeling lonely.
From here, I will dive into my struggle with loneliness and I pray that it gives you insight, hope and encouragement to see how God has been moving in my life! In my previous posts, I shared with you my struggle with coping in this season of singleness and having peace in understanding it’s just not my turn yet. I have since made peace with that and it gave me a deeper desire to get involved in my community, pour into my small group girls, and serve with a heart rooted in joy. Nonetheless, I was still feeling like I was missing something. One day, I sat in my room, looked up at the sky and yelled, “Why do I still feel lonely, Lord?” Here I was, a single, unemployed, 22 year old woman at home alone finally shouting to the Lord what had been on my heart for months. “God, I feel lonely! I have community, I go to church, I serve with joy, and I’m pursuing Your calling for my life. Why do I still feel this way? I’m fine with being single! What more is there? Why do I still feel like this?” I sobbed. It physically hurt me to feel the amount of loneliness I was dealing with and I couldn’t bear it. I continued my daily Bible plans, I continued being in the Word but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I then realized I hadn’t dealt with the other parts of being single: the emotional and physical. I will say this, I won’t ever be fulfilled physically until I’m married (post about this to come) so that was a ship that had already sailed. Emotionally however, I knew this was something that could only be fulfilled with the Lord.
Over the years, I have learned that God is a Father when I didn’t have one, Jesus was a friend when I didn’t know one, and the Holy Spirit is a helper when I needed one. These are identities many of us are familiar with. But how many of us have actually taken the time to learn about Jesus’ other identities? In particular, as a Bridegroom. Many of us have seen this in the Bible but don’t really understand what it means or the history behind it. We understand today that a woman on her wedding day is a bride and a man is referred to as a groom. Historically, and especially in the biblical sense, a bridegroom is also an important term to refer to a man who is to be married. Now I am still diving into this lesson and seeking understanding, but I would like to share with you what I’ve learned so far.
- Jesus as a Bridegroom means that He has the ultimate longing for our hearts to be hidden in Him and for us to reciprocate (in our human capacity) His love.
- In marriage, 2 are becoming one and our most basic needs as people are met when the 2 come together. So Jesus, being the Holy Bridegroom, is one with us and therefore any need we could possibly have can be met when we rely on Him.
- Earthly passions, pass-times, nor people can satisfy fully us; only Jesus can.
- He just wants to spend time with us and there are so many ways to do this! How do you spend time with your significant other when you want to have quality time and intimacy? Talk, be near each other, spend time doing activities you both enjoy, serve one another. This translates to our relationship with Jesus as well. Talk to Him by praying, be near Him by having quiet time or reading Scripture, do something you both enjoy by using a gift God has given you to worship Him, and serve the Lord in love with all your heart.
I am still learning and growing in this lesson day by day. But the one thing I do know is that God is still good and if you’re invested in your relationship with Him, you will always be reminded of just how good He is. Nothing, not even loneliness, can take that away.