Most of us have felt alone at some time. Jesus experienced loneliness, especially as He was dying on the cross, and sensed utter separation from Father God. Emptiness creeps over the soul when we are separated from family, friends, and familiar settings. Parting goodbyes are not easy; separation through death is even more difficult. Sadly, some people never recover from being alone, and life takes on bitter hopelessness.
Jesus understands our emotions. He felt so many of them Himself—joy, anger, grief, despair, jealousy, displeasure, fear, hurt, loneliness, and many more. His life on the earth would have been nearly impossible were it not for His constant communication and companionship with Father God. He would steal away to the mountains or drift offshore in a boat to escape crowds of people longing to hear Him or catch a glimpse of Him as He passed by. He knew He needed time with the Father, for there He would receive strength, encouragement, guidance, love, and courage to fulfill His mission here.
The disciples, His closest human friends, undoubtedly encouraged and challenged Him as they followed His every move and hung on every word He said. A more spiritually hungry group of men could hardly be found. At the end of the day, I’m sure Jesus was pleasantly exhausted when virtue had gone out from Him to His band of twelve friends and the multitude of followers He attracted.
Have you ever felt utterly alone in a large crowd? Perhaps Jesus felt that, too, as much of His time was spent ministering to large groups of people. He knew where His real source of strength and help came from, and that need drove Him to find time somewhere to have “alone” time with Father God. Hence the boat, the mountain, the garden.
King David had a pretty good grip on the loneliness problem. He, too, knew where His strength, help, and safety were found. In Psalm 16:8-9 (NLT), he said, “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.”
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. Sometimes I have the distinct feeling the Lord is right beside me in the car--or around me, as I’m walking or working or standing or playing the piano. And when I am feeling alone, I declare as David did, “I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.”
The Passion Translation records Psalm 16:8-9 like this: “Because I set you, Yahweh, always close to me, my confidence will never be weakened, for I experience Your wraparound presence every moment. My heart and soul explode with joy—full of glory! Even my body will rest confident and secure.”
The wraparound presence of the Lord—there it is! We are never alone, for He wraps His comforting, strengthening, encouraging, loving presence around us no matter where we are or our circumstances. When Moses saw God’s people worship a golden calf, he angrily dropped the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them, which shattered. What was God’s response? The Lord comforted him with this remarkable statement, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." (Exodus 33:14 NKJV). Even the most blatant expression of idol worship could not push God’s wraparound loving presence away from Moses as he cried out to the Lord!
There is no place we can go where God’s wraparound presence cannot be found. Again, David expresses this truth so well in Psalm 139:7-10, I can never escape from Your Spirit! I can never get away from Your presence! If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I go down to the grave, You are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there Your hand will guide me, and Your strength will support me. Even if we run away from Him, His wraparound presence can descend on us and cover us in His tremendous love.
You are not alone. Call on the Lord to wrap His presence around you. Be like Jesus, and push the boat offshore to spend alone time with the Father. Let Him strengthen and comfort you.
© 2022, Chris Werre