Forced to be Alone
Usually, we have to fight for a moment to be alone with God. Yet in this season wherein fear of the COVID-19 virus dictate social policy, we have been stranded on the shores of our own homes, and most of us have found ourselves facing a fear far greater than the virus. Many of us won’t even speak its name. It is loneliness.
Even though the majority of us are surrounded by family, we fight an inevitable battle with loneliness. Loneliness is an unredeemed part of us all. Loneliness drives us to furiously struggling against the confinement of our circumstances, desperately trying to cover up the truth that being alone would expose.
Unfortunately, loneliness cannot be overcome by giving it what it wants since what it wants cannot fix what it needs. Loneliness is the name we give for the compulsive need we have to be liked, to be praised and to be admired. Loneliness even feeds on those that dislike us, hate us, or despise us. The reason for it is that loneliness is at attempt to cover up the brokenness of our identity.
We distract ourselves from this truth by filling up our lives with business, the acquisition of money, and the gathering of friends. Yet, this season of ‘stay-at-home-protocols’ has unmasked our loneliness. We don’t have busy schedules, places, and people to distract us anymore. For some of us, this season has forced us to confront family issues that could have been avoided under usual circumstances.
Yet, the challenges of the COVID-19-isolation
are presenting us with a rare opportunity. We are faced with a chance to convert our loneliness into being alone with God! Being alone with God provides us with the opportunity to confront God with our brokenness and encounter the One who is the source of our true identity. Being alone becomes an act of confession, an act of conversion wherein we encounter the One that affirms us and reveals to us who we truly are.
Loneliness must be redeemed. The bitterness of loneliness can be overcome when we unconditional surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We simply need to stop trying to cover it up. We need to stop trying to push away these compulsions we feel with sheer willpower. We need to stop making herculean efforts to escape the panic that being alone creates. No earthly weapon or method can destroy what God alone can overcome. It is only in Him that loneliness can be overcome by God's encounter. It is He alone that can lead you past temptation. Victory can only come when you face God alone.
At times we are tempted to face our broken identities with introspection. Yet, how can we look into the mirror of self-reflection and believe that the broken self-being be projected back could guide us to a true self? No mirror of soul searching could reveal a path to the true self. It is only when we turn to God alone that we have the opportunity to encounter the Truth that sets us free to be who He made us. Being alone with Him and Him alone is the first step towards real health.
Being alone suddenly reminds us that the goal of life is not people first but to put God first. Being alone reminds us that we cannot find rest in the business of life. God alone can grant us what we need and what we seek (Matt. 6:19-21). Being alone with God becomes the fire that fuels true transformation. Accept it, and enter into the place where you can be alone with Him.
Being alone is a place of great struggle but also of great encounters. It is when we are alone that we learn that God loves us unreservedly. It is when we are alone with God that we learn that He loves us all. Being alone with God is often the first step towards real compassion for others. Why? Because being alone with God teaches us that God loves others with the same love. Being alone with Him frees us from the manipulations and expectations of a world that tries to define us.
So, my friend, remember Matthew 6:6:
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
When we repent of our struggles with loneliness by embracing being alone with God, we will encounter the compassion of God and see how our judgments of others mainly create distance and distraction from others. Being alone with God opens us up to the still small voice of God, the birth of true ministry.
Being alone with the Lord has taught me to see the log in my own eyes, to uncover the deceit of my own heart, and in the process to see that I need to forgive as I am forgiven. Being alone with God then leads to ultimately back into real fellowship, real ministry, and real encounter with others.