This past week I dwelt a lot on recent decisions I have made. My loneliness often drove my thoughts to wonder how I ended up in this spot in the first place, as has often happened in the past. Most days I don’t really understand it. One day in particular last week I was thinking about this topic a lot, and then had a good conversation with a friend, only to leave me asking more questions. I went to my room and opened my bible and my treasured copy of Streams in the Dessert and began reading the excerpt for December 20:
“Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” (John 16:32).
It need not be said that to carry out conviction into action is a costly sacrifice. It may make necessary renunciations and separations which leave one to feel a strange sense both of deprivation and loneliness. But he who will fly, as an eagle does, into the higher levels where cloudless day abides, and live in the sunshine of God, must be content to live a comparatively lonely life. No bird is so solitary as the eagle. Eagles never fly in flocks; one, or at most two, ever being seen at once. But the life that is lived unto God, however it forfeits human companionships, knows Divine fellowship.
God seeks eagle-men. No man ever comes into a realization of the best things of God, who does not, upon the Godward side of his life, learn to walk alone with God. We find Abraham alone in Horeb upon the heights, but Lot, dwelling in Sodom. Moses, skilled in all the wisdom of Egypt must go forty years into the desert alone with God. Paul, who was filled with Greek learning and had also sat at the feet of Gamaliel, must go into Arabia and learn the desert life with God. Let God isolate us. I do not mean the isolation of a monastery. In this isolating experience He develops an independence of faith and life so that the soul needs no longer the constant help, prayer, faith or attention of his neighbour. Such assistance and inspiration from the other members are necessary and have their place in the Christian’s development, but there comes a time when they act as a direct hindrance to the individual’s faith and welfare. God knows how to change the circumstances in order to give us an isolating experience. We yield to God and He takes us through something, and when it is over, those about us, who are no less loved than before, are no longer depended upon. We realize that He has wrought some things in us, and that the wings of our souls have learned to beat the upper air. We must dare to be alone. Jacob must be left alone if the Angel of God is to whisper in his ear the mystic name of Shiloh; Daniel must be left alone if he is to see celestial visions; John must be banished to Patmos if he is deeply to take and firmly to keep “the print of heaven.”
These words at first struck because they spoke into exactly what I have been feeling. This strange feeling of separation and loneliness because of decisions, because of the cost of following Christ in my life right now. Some days it brings anger, doubt, fear, and pain. Some days it brings incredible joy, peace, greater faith, and lasting hope. And when I am completely honest, most days it is lonely. Following Jesus since I gave him my heart in 2005 has led me time and time again into lonely places. And yet every year I love Him even more than they year before. He has taught me, through fire and flames, what it means to be content in Him alone.
I don’t want to be alone; I don’t want to live alone. I yearn for physical comfort and for a friend to listen. I forget that He is always here, He is always waiting, He is always ready to hear. In the darkest times and the hardest times, He has always been faithful. He has always been more than enough. He has never failed. I don’t know why, I may never understand it, but it seems my convictions are always leading me into a lonely life, into a life that is set apart and foreign to those around it. And that definitely brings loneliness. But I am never alone. These feelings, they are just feelings, they are not reality, and they are not forever.
I long, I yearn to be with my Jesus. I want people to know this Jesus too, I want them to know who He is and what He has done for them. I pray He will come and interrupt your life today and lead you into a lonely season… where you learn that HE is all you need, He is more than enough. You are never alone, because your father is with you.