Friday, March 25, 2016

Acquainted With Grief, Part Three

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. - Isaiah 53:3

Over the past few days, we've discussed how Jesus is acquainted with our grief, including sorrow and weariness.  Today, I'd like to talk about loneliness.  Again, let us turn to my faithful friend, the dictionary, and discover exactly what loneliness is. To be lonely is to be destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, support, etc.; lone; solitary; without company; companionless.

Sad, isn't it? And here's the real kicker:  we don't have to be alone to feel lonely.  That sounds crazy, doesn't it? But I imagine there are many of you out there who know exactly what I'm talking about.  Even when surrounded by family and friends, you feel alone--like no one really "gets" you, right?  Being a writer, I understand that all too well.  You see, none of my family or close friends are writers, so they don't really understand what it means to be a writer.  At gatherings and parties, when others are discussing their latest accomplishments or future goals, I chime in by letting them know about the newest book I'm working on.  Suddenly, it's crickets and blank stares.  Then, someone politely smiles and says, "That's nice," and then immediately turns the conversation in another direction.

Don't get me wrong.  I understand that these people are not being rude or unkind.  They just don't get it!  Sharing a new book idea is not like showing off a newborn baby, a job promotion or a shiny, new car.  No matter how hard I try to share my idea, they don't see what I see.  They don't share in the excitement or the passion.  And frankly, some of them look at me as if they worry that I've gone insane locked up in my office day after day (which, I guess, is a possibility).

When it comes to sharing book ideas and excitement over my latest project, I've found that the Lord is the best place for me to go.  He gets it.  He sees the idea.  In fact, He gave me the idea.  He sees the passion in my heart to write this latest, greatest novel or Christian living book.  He sees the wheels that turn and turn and turn in my poor little mind, exploring every detail and possibility of the story as it unfolds in my mind's eye.  He really, truly gets it, and I can chat with Him about it for hours, and He never gives me a blank stare.  He only smiles and listens and makes me feel like I'm finally understood. (FYI, after the Lord, my sweet husband is the best listener when it comes to my writing.  He doesn't have all the insight, but he's learning how to relate to the writer within me.)

I'm sure many of you can relate.  Perhaps there is one (or more than one) area of your life where you feel like no one understands.  You try to help others see it.  You try to share the vision with them.  But no matter what you say or do, you get crickets and blank stares.  It hurts, doesn't it?  Sometimes, it even causes us to look around and say, "How can I have so many friends and family, yet no one truly understands me?"

Take heart, dear one, because Jesus is acquainted with your loneliness.  He, too, knows what it's like to be surrounded by family and friends yet feel so all alone.  Despite their claims to love and support Him, most of His followers didn't get Him.  They didn't understand His purpose for coming.  They didn't get His way of doing things.  They didn't comprehend the compassion He felt or the heavy load He was carrying.  Seldom in the Bible do we see an account of Jesus being on His own, but that's not to say that there weren't many occasions where He felt lonely.  I imagine there were countless times that He longed for the comforts of Heaven and the company of angels.

But get this, no matter how often we feel lonely, we can ALWAYS take comfort in the fact that we are NEVER alone.  Friends may not understand.  Family may not get it.  But God is ever present, and He understands.  He will never leave us or forsake us, which is something that Jesus couldn't claim for Himself.  In the midst of His darkest hour, when all had forsaken Him, when He needed a friend like no other, His own Father turned His back on Him.

Of all the parts of the crucifixion story, it is this element that always leaves me sobbing uncontrollably.  Jesus was left with nothing!  No strength.  No friends.  No family.  And He did it willingly.  He could have called on the angels to save Him.  He could have saved Himself.  But He had a plan.  He was on a mission, and that mission was to face the indescribable horror of being forsaken by God so that we would never have to.  He accepted absolute loneliness so that we would never know it.

Acquainted with grief?  Yeah, I'd say so.

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