“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33 [NASB]
Loneliness is a formidable foe for me these days. Much of my time is spent alone, but surprisingly, I sometimes feel most alone when I am in a group of people. It’s a deep loneliness not satisfied by just being in the presence of others. Instead, it’s a loneliness characterized by a longing to be deeply understood and intimately related to. It’s a hunger to be understood without explanation, a yearning for someone to simply but fully “get it.” In its depths this loneliness can only be comforted by one who comforts from the well of grace that only experience supplies.
Praise God, my blessed Savior has gone before me having experienced deepest pain, greatest grief and stinging loneliness. My aching heart resonates with His words as He wept in the Garden that night as overwhelming grief threatened to consume Him.
“And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.’ And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.’ And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. And He came the third time, and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.” Mark 14:34-41 [NASB]
“My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death.” These words reverberate through my heart with the crash of each tidal wave of grief that washes over me. What tremendous comfort that my Comforter knows the agony of greatest grief. He knows the throbbing in my heart, the aching of my arms, and my desperate longing for Home.
As He entered the garden He shared the magnitude of His grief with His disciples and implored them to remain and keep watch. He fell to the ground just a little beyond them, and as He was crying out from the depths of His grief to the Father through tears and sweat dripping as blood, they fell asleep. They abandoned Him to slumber in the midst of His incomprehensible grief, not once, not twice, but three times. Surely His heart was pierced by that solitude, the bitter sting of loneliness in the midst of greatest grief.
When in the depths of my grief it feels as if those around me are unaware, and loneliness overtakes me, He meets me there. He who knows the sting of unimaginable aloneness reminds me He neither sleeps nor slumbers, and He will never leave me nor forsake me. He sees my every tear, feels my every pain, sympathizes with my every weakness, and understands my every temptation.
My steadfast and loving Savior beckons me, “”Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16 [NASB]
My God, my Father, my Savior, my Lord, my Comforter, my Counselor, my Healer, my Great High Priest, my Refiner, my Shepherd, my Redeemer, my Defender, my Rock, my Refuge, my Deliverer sees me. He hears me. He knows me. He deeply understands and intimately relates to me. He is with me. He will never leave me. I am not alone.
“O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
Psalm 139:1-12 [NASB]