I recently had a conversation with a dear friend about loneliness. We both have very different stories that have led us to different places, but to the same Jesus. As we’re sharing our stories, we found patterns, seasons of loneliness that have led to increased faith, new trajectories, and changed stories.
I think back to pivotal points in my personal journey of faith, times that changed the way I viewed God and myself, and many, if not all, of those moments were spent alone.
I think about the time that my conception of my relationship with God was ripped from my fingers, when a promise was broken and I was deep in a pit of sin and misery. God pulled me up and rescued me, but it was just him and me. No one else. Sure, there were people around -mentors, family- but no one was walking the same road I was. I can distinctly remember a time of being so broken that the only option was to cry, and no one but God was there to soothe me – and he did.
Often times, we must heal alone. We must be walking a single path, a path that only God understands, so that He may come alongside us and speak to us so tenderly.
I remember loss, pain and hardship. I remember fear, doubt and insecurity. And I remember God speaking into those moments of my life and teaching me such vital lessons. Lessons that have shaped my life and my faith.
The pattern of solitude and subsequent revelation are so apparent throughout faith’s history. The one that is most prominent to me was when Jacob was left alone to wrestle with God in the night and emerged, with the name Israel.
Sometimes we are left alone for a purpose, and I have learned that. Jesus often withdrew to isolation to receive words from and to pray to His father.
While I believe that community is essential – being surrounded by people walking through life with you – I do believe that isolation is just as much a catalyst for faith as community.
In the loneliest places, find God. In the pits, know that you are not alone. In the isolation, find the lessons. Walk with God through the things that no one else will be there to walk with you through. Reach out to Him when you feel that there’s no one else to reach to, and allow yourself to rest in His arms. Know that He is near to the brokenhearted, the lonely and the downtrodden.