So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
- 1 Kings 17:5-6
At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
- 2 Timothy 4:16-18
“As messengers of God, we will often lead lonely lives. ‘All men forsook me,’ said Paul. It is a price we have to pay; there is a loneliness in the Gospel. Yet you will not be alone, because you will be ministered to by the Spirit of God, as Elijah was ministered to at the brook Cherith. A true messenger lives a burdened life. If he is the Lord’s vessel, he carries in his heart a burden for souls none can share but those who know it firsthand.”
- Billy Graham, Day by Day with Billy Graham (devotion for March 5)
A year ago, there were a lot of isolated families. If you were alone in your home, you were truly alone, except …
One of the problems with being in that type of loneliness is that you have no way of knowing when it will end. In some ways, it seems it has not ended.
But we must understand that with God in our hearts, there is no absolute loneliness. We can talk to God all day long, and I find those days the most productive and enriching. It is when I get distracted that I quit the conversation with God and stumble along my walk of faith.
Yet, we need interaction with other believers just for those moments when we put our foot in our mouths or we use our lonely hours to cause our minds to wander into Not-Nice-Land. What kind of “not-nice?” The seven deadly sins may not be listed in the Bible, but they are pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth. If they were instantly deadly, I would have not lasted long in life. I am guilty on all seven counts at one point in my life or another, and probably a bit true of my times when I am not talking to Jesus today.
And have you noticed that all seven deadly sins have to do with thought? We do not have to act upon anything. We do not have to be near another human. In fact, when we are isolated due to lockdown and our minds are allowed to wander, we can indulge in all seven at once, being “entertained” by each of the seven deadly sins fighting the other six to see which one will be top dog.
Just supposing… Not that it has happened with me… Ouch, pride tried to sneak into the lead there.
And my “sloth” kicked in earlier on the day this was written, having taken a nap when I had a lot to do. Then again, I had a poor night’s sleep the night before. That becomes my constant excuse of late.
The other day, I found it fascinating that my wife complained that she never saw me due to my writing. She said that I needed to spend more time with her. But, when I first retired, she moaned that she did not think she could survive with me in the house with her all day, every day. At first, I would check up on her often during the day, but I noticed that I would awaken her from one of those naps that she professes to never take. So, I have drifted into a habit of not opening the bedroom door to check on her and going to the bathroom on the second floor when needed, so that she can rest. But in a way, we are both suffering from loneliness. She is around people at the dialysis center, but that is rarely an opportunity for conversation. She is one of the most vocal members of the Sunday school class, but that is just once each week.
Me, being an introvert, leading a Sunday school discussion once a week is plenty of human contact.
But we have our togetherness routine. Each morning I record blood sugar, blood pressure, and a few other things for her to have that data ready for her various doctors. Sometimes it is just taking the numbers, writing them down, and going our separate ways. Sometimes we discuss what is going on in the world. And even without the boys living with us, we try to have at least one meal as a couple each day rather than getting something quick to eat and running off to do something else.
But for those that are alone in their room, they should consider going to a park or a mall, if those still exist in your area. You can be socially distanced and still feel that you are not alone. That can be therapeutic.
And if you really feel lonely, maybe there is a bit too much noise. Pray. Read Scripture. God can speak to you, but He rarely shouts.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.