ONE vivid night, around October 2004, though there were many of them in that season, I found myself bereft of comfort. No presence of anything — thought, person or God — could have helped that night. I was inconsolably sad and lonely to the point of torment. Graced by no Presence of the Holy Spirit I was alone, vanquished of soul and spirit.
I wept. I laid there, with no thought at all apart from vacuousness, and just cried and cried and cried. When the psalmist writes that their tears were food and that their tears made the pillow wet the whole way through, I know what both of those images feel like.
I was rocked without a hope. As time would have it, I was also to have many of those nights through the ensuing months as my heart grew sick for a hope that vanished. And yet, God had provided hope for a different thing. He provided in a different way. I could see it. But that compensation did not amend my loneliness; a man only fresh from divorce finding his way in a new world.
God was very gracious in that day. My loneliness meant I got over my shy desire for time to myself; I was sick of being alone. I threw myself into church and the people of God loved me back to life. Yet there were still a thousand lonely nights to endure.
After those thousand nights, having been healed of the heartbreak of divorce, and having qualified at seminary, it was time to make a life that I felt God was calling me to own. Per the provision of God, I started courting the gorgeous woman who would become my wife only a short time later.
We married and still there was the occasional loneliness (for us both). We found not the perfect partner, but a partner we could each work with as we laboured in love. We learned that marriage doesn’t fix loneliness entirely; that there are still many times to run to God for the solace only he can provide.
Loneliness has taught me — even as I cast my reflective eye back, over a decade ago now — that that loneliest of experiences — when life were a bitter hell — that God is there when we imagine him there.
God is there by prayer.
As we lay there, sobbing our tears, exhausted and pitiful, faces amess, God is there.
God is there with heavenly care,
When by prayer we dare,
When we are bereft.
When life’s not fair,
We should go to God in prayer,
Even when we feel he’s left.
Loneliness can be the golden gateway of heaven’s healing brought to earth.
Loneliness can deliver us to our healing God, because we prayed in belief.
The absolute worst experiences of life can turn out to be the most memorable of healing experiences.
God may still heal you in your loneliness. Believe, for it can be true.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.