One of the most discouraging situations in life, particularly in one’s senior years, is a sense of loneliness that comes from experiencing the neglect, rejection and distancing of family.
This writer recalls when someone asked one of the ladies in his congregation how did she handle being alone. She quickly responded, “I’m never alone, the Lord and I talk to each other all day long. We have a grand time.” This was a person whose intimate relationship with her Lord was so real that she could say with the psalmist … “My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD” (Ps. 104:34 KJV).
That young man on the death march to Babylon, chained to others, probably forbidden to talk and mingle with fellow captives, reveals to us how he endured loneliness and despair … “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97 KJV). His thinking was saturated with God’s Word. Family was no more, perhaps killed by the invading army. Loved ones were torn apart in the deportation, children separated from parents, men and women ravaged by the Babylonian soldiers. It is clear that this young captive was in the midst of horrendous circumstances. Yet he possessed something in his soul that could not be destroyed by that which was external. He had contentment and inner happiness because these were not contingent on the things of this world. Though his life would never be the same during those 70 years of captivity, one thing remained constant in his thinking – God’s Word.
One Person remained unmoved, unchanged and ever faithful, his God. If he were the only survivor, he would not be alone. His relationship with God was firm, for his faith was grounded in the eternal Word of God; thus he would say … “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Ps. 119:103 KJV)!
Centuries later, as Jerusalem faced captivity and dispersion at the hands of the Romans, the writer of Hebrews encouraged fellow believers soon to face disastrous times … “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me" (Heb. 13:5-6 NKJV).
The very fact that Christ indwells every believer eliminates any possibility of the Christian being alone regardless of adversity or rejection by friends and family. This indwelling presence of Christ along with the Father and Spirit was granted to Christians as a result of Jesus’ prayer just before his arrest. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:20-23 NKJV).
Human thoughts of loneliness may be real, but these have no enduring effect on the Christian who meditates on God’s Word. He has the privilege of staying his mind on the eternal and not the present. “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:1-2a NASB).