• on September 25, 2017

Drained: For Those Who Feel Alone

by Daniel Burton
by Daniel Burton

One of the more draining experiences I have ever felt was the idea of being alone.  There is something about being stranded by yourself in a busy world that takes all the energy out of you.  When following God, there will be plenty of times when you will feel as if you are going it alone.  The world will disagree with what you are doing, ostracize you, and gaslight to believe that it is crazy to follow God.  This loneliness is draining on a person who looks to only follow God.

In some ways, being physically alone is easier.  It feels almost like a retreat.  There are extended times of being by yourself and refreshing times of figuring some things out.  This is not the draining I am referring to.  The draining comes when you interact with the world around you and still feel alone.  For the Christian, following Christ can feel lonely.  With the struggle to remain in purity and follow Christ wherever he leads, often times there will be parts it will feel you are alone.

Unfortunately, I firmly believe that everyone who follows Christ will at some point feel drained by this loneliness.  This is simply part of being “not of this world.”  We will see the world around us and the incompatibilities of our faith to the promoted lifestyle.  Furthermore, we will even see those who claim to follow God, abandon their faith and seek to pursue their desires.  This travesty will take its toll on any person.  But as with any part of feeling drained, we run first to God, straight into His loving arms because we know that He cares for us and has promised that we willl never be truly alone or forgotten.

You Are Never Alone

At the core of our loneliness is the struggle to feel God in our everyday.  Loneliness is based in the feeling that there is no support in our faith and endeavors.  However, this feeling is antithetical to the promise of God.  Just before Jesus Christ left the disciples to go to the Father, he gave the following command “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV) The impact of this final promise must not be lost in the context.  Before Christ ascended, leaving the disciples in a position where they would undoubtedly feel alone in their mission, Jesus promised they would never truly be alone.

Our draining and loneliness eases when we understand that God seeks us relentlessly and does not leave us alone. Click To Tweet

God, at His core, is relational, seeking to be with His people and return us to Him.  Thus, even though we will endure times of loneliness in our mission to follow Christ, we are never actually alone.  As Jesus ascended into heaven, he did so with the promise that he would send His Spirit.  That same Spirit resides inside of us working to restore us to the fullness of our communion and relationship with God.  At any given moment, we have access to God.  We can bring Him any struggle, any burden, and any source of draining that we may feel.  With the Spirit of God moving and working within us, through our identification with Jesus Christ, we have the right to approach the fullness of God. Our draining and loneliness eases when we understand that God seeks us relentlessly and does not leave us alone.

The Presence of God In The Midst of Unity of Believers

Yet, God knows we are physical people and the idea of needing a physical presence is not lost on a loving, Spiritual God.  The research that psychologists and sociologists have done is clear, we need human contact.  Whether it be a reassuring hug, the physical presence of a friend, humanity deeply needs to be connected to other people.  The beauty of God is His incarnate presence, first in Jesus Christ, and continued in the presence of the believers gathering together.  Matthew makes it abundantly clear, “For where two or three gather in [Jesus’] name, there [He is] with them.” (Matthew 18:20, NIV)

We are not encouraged to abandon one another to sin but to walk with each other during the worst moments of our lives. Click To Tweet

Verse 20 comes immediately on the heel of how to rebuke a fellow believer in a Christian nature.  It comes on discussing unity in the church and how to deal with potential division.  It isn’t some emotional “hold each other and cry” moment but digs into the points when sin has attempted to ensnare our fellow brothers and sister.  When we hold each other accountability and deal with the sin of each other’s lives, this is the definition of unity, the cure to loneliness.  We are not encouraged to abandon one another to sin but to walk with each other during the muck and grime of our lives.

Feeling drained and lonely?  Bring it to the church.  Whatever it may be and however embarrassed we may feel in the process, coming to the church to ask for prayer and to acknowledge our loneliness puts the incarnational identity of Jesus Christ on full display.  Pray for one another.  Encourage one another to stand in the faith and pursue holiness, but to do so together.  The world will encourage your loneliness and isolation, but the love of God establishes you in a community of believers.

Talk It Out

Read Matthew 18:15-20 and Matthew 28:18-20

  1. How does God promise his presence to us?  How does this mechanically occur?  Where do we see the presence of God on a daily basis?
  2. Despite knowing what we know about the presence of God and meeting together with those of the faith, why do we still feel lonely some times?
  3. Why do we sometimes feel that isolation is the best answer to dealing with our sin or walking out our faith?
  4. How is God the ultimate cure to loneliness?
  5. Where in your life do you need the presence of God the most?  What do you need the body of Christ to be in prayer for?

For more in this series, check out Drained

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