TIMES I’ve struggled most in my relationship with God are when life is going well.
Times I’ve made the best gains in growth and life have been when I’ve struggled; when part of me was dying.
Times when I’ve been plodding along with the flow and rhythm of life have been times when God hardly got a look in.
But on top of all these observations, God gets top billing every day nowadays because of a time in my life when I experienced an extended loneliness.
Loneliness back then, at a time when my old life died in so many ways, was the key to actually experiencing God’s Presence. Having chosen to do go with God, no matter what, meant, despite the excruciating reality of loneliness, I was able to know God was there with me. There was an intrinsic communication between God and I, in tearful lament, in anger, in brokenness, and when there was no confidence in me.
It was heartrending grief that takes us there — to a place where, God alone, can reach us. And still, if we struggle to get any sort of connection going with God, we are advised simply to reflect into ourselves. This is why loneliness is the key. When there is no longer any distraction from the outside world, we have the perfect opportunity to enter the sorrowful boredom of aloneness. Then we get to know ourselves.
It seems horrible, but we imagine God is there with us — because he is.
Even though the lonely realisation is full of fear and there is a lack of hope, we may search for and know the one who can calm our fright and provide a vision to believe in.
Loneliness is the opportunity we have waited all our lives for, if we hope to know God’s Presence.
The more we are by ourselves and lost to the world, the more God can find us by the Presence of his Spirit.
God turns the hopelessness of loneliness into the greatest hope of all — by his Presence in that loneliness. Imagine he is there with you, for he is.
Imagine God is there,
Right beside you now,
Imagine him ask you,
To give in to him and allow.
Imagine God right there,
Someone to whom you can relate,
Imagine him make it happen,
For this loneliness to abate.
The best experience of God is garnered from the loneliest desperation.
Once this is experienced, even once, we can never be the same again. Loneliness, God convinces us, was the very key to experiencing his healing Presence.
And, perhaps best of all, loneliness convicts us to search out a community who will love us — the church.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.