We come to the time of year when Christians around the world celebrate the incredible birth of Christ. For many it is a time of giving gifts—a holiday ritual recognizing the second greatest gift of all time. What manner of love for those of His image--yet deeply flawed, possessed God to send His Son to be conceived a baby? What marvelous humility flowed from our omnipotent Lord that His Son should bypass the greatest of human protocols to be born in a smelly stable? Like the wisemen who followed the star, we trace the life and ministry of Jesus, joyful that His holy journey liberated us from the dungeon of sin. But there is so much more to His story, so much more to who He is.
Who speaks of the loneliness that must have gripped Mary’s Son? Sure His mission was to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). Nevertheless His deity was confined to our skin and bones. When He withdrew to lonely places was it because He was lonely? Imagine the daily press of overwhelming crowds crying out to be healed, to be rid of terrifying demons, to be first, to be recognized, to matter. People sought Him on their timetable. What town or village existed without pain for Him to heal?
Yet even after the most pressing of days, Jesus did not cry “Enough! I quit! You don’t understand! You don’t get it do you?” The Son of Man would not flee to heaven. No—no matter what His day entailed, He established a divine habit—He withdrew to solitary places to fellowship with His Father through prayer.
Luke 5:15,16--But the news about Him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.
Do you walk in the middle of this congested season that bears little resemblance to dignified worship and feel alone? Do you dread this time of year because: you are estranged from family; you’ve suffered the huge loss of a child, a sister or brother, a mother or father; life has brought you little meaning; your hopes have been squeezed in the vice grip of unfairness; you feel soiled by sin before an innocent Savior? In a world of continents do you feel like an island? If so, I’d like to offer an encouraging word.
Loneliness is an indicator of dejection. When introspective it can lead to the darkest of depressions. The challenge of the lonely person is to overcome the lie that no one cares. Jesus knows all about loneliness. The One who felt forsaken in the garden understands exactly what it’s like to be isolated. There is no hidden hurt in your heart He fails to notice. Yet, He will not shower you with pat answers. He won’t place on your shoulders a “get-over-it” blanket or suggest that you should be joyful like those around you. Instead, He will wait for you to come to Him.
He will listen as you speak. He is not put off by the broken tears of an anguished spirit. When you are ready, and trust Him enough, then He will gently remind you that He loves you. There is no alone found in worship. In the presence of the Savior—loneliness meets comfort. Let our Father in heaven be your Father on earth. Merry Christmas and may God deeply bless you.
Loneliness marks the child of God.—Oswald Chambers in Christian Disciplines
©1998 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)