Greetings, and welcome again to Meditation Moments, and the dear Lord bless you. We love again that old-time greeting: The Lord bless you and make you a blessing for others!
In reading our mail over again, I think I mentioned some years ago how many letters we receive from people who are lonely. I chose this verse for our meditation today, John 16:32. It’s Jesus that’s speaking, and He says, “Ye shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.”
I think every single Christian can say that, just like Jesus said it. “You can leave me alone, others can leave me alone, and yet I’m not alone, for the Father is with me.” I’ve been amazed to find in my mail so many letters that tell of loneliness. There are two burdens expressed in these letters, more than any other kind of distress or burden, and that’s sickness and loneliness. And this very verse today deals with the latter.
There are people who may have an abundance of everything and have folks all around them, and yet they are living in this utter loneliness. I think I told you some time ago, I’m not sure, the story about a young man in one of our hotels in Los Angeles who was planning to take his life. He was going to leap from the hotel window, but as he stepped up on the table, he knocked the Gideon’s Bible off. That happened as he was moving toward his objective of leaping out the window. In the fall, the Bible opened, and curious to see just where it had opened, he read this very verse. “Ye shall leave me alone: yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.”
You know, his wife had left him and friends had forsaken him because of certain things, and it just seemed like a direct lesson, a message to him. He sat down then, taking the Bible, and he read it over and over and many other passages at the same time. And he read those words, “I am not alone: for the Father is with me.” Then he read other passages about the Father, and he turned to the back of the Bible and looked up the passage about the Father. Well, the story ends beautifully, because both his life and his soul were miraculously saved!
As I read this, a little poem comes to mind:
Is the midnight closing round you?
Are the shadows dark and long?
Ask Jesus to come close beside you,
And He’ll give you a new, sweet song.
And He’ll give it and sing it with you;
And when weakness lets it down,
He’ll take up the broken cadence
And blend it with His own.
I like the part where it says, “He’ll give it and sing it with you … and blend it with His own.” He’ll take over in every avenue of your life. The Lord Jesus Christ will do it, He’s promised to do it. It has been proven so; He’ll stand at the controls to guide you and He’ll live His life through you, and that’s true. He’ll blend it with His own. Isn’t it wonderful? You think about a passage like this in John 16:32, that is so true and we can claim it for ourselves.
You know, this story about this young man leads me to think of something that happened in my own life some time ago. I had lost my loved one, and perhaps that’s why I’m talking about this subject on this particular meditation. I was lonely, in a sense, very lonely at first, but never the kind of loneliness that the world talks about, not that kind of loneliness. It was just a long companionship of 54 years, and then suddenly the ties are broken and that partnership is there no longer.
But the kind of loneliness the world experiences, I’ve never known about such a thing, since the Lord Jesus Christ came in my heart, because He’s always there. And I always feel His presence there. That’s one kind of loneliness—when loved ones are taken away and the heart and the home seem somewhat empty, but there’s the loneliness also of old age.
I don’t think that there’s more loneliness in old age than at any other time, because after all, young people away from home and among strangers get mighty lonely and homesick; they really get so homesick that they’re ill sometimes. But it is hard when the life companion is gone and old friends have passed away. So much of our recent mail told of friends that had gone away, and in so many of these letters they spoke of this loneliness.
One day in the launderette when I was trying to get a letter written, passing the time away, a very talkative elderly lady was pouring out her heart and all of her life story to a woman by her side. Later I said to this listening friend, “Your friend surely enjoyed talking to you.” And she answered, “Well, she’s so lonely and she has no one to talk to. I thought I could do just a little good by being a good listener until she emptied out her heart. She was so lonely.” Sometimes it’s a wonderful thing just to be a good listener for some lonely heart.
But the loneliness that Jesus speaks of in our verse here is the loneliness of leadership. We have a few leaders today who, because of being true to their convictions, they are being rejected and they are being ridiculed. Jesus knew this rejection, for John 6 tells the story: “Many of his disciples went back and walked with him no more” (John 6:66). That’s the loneliness of being misunderstood.
Then there’s the loneliness of defeat, like Elijah under the juniper tree, when he wished he could die, and he was certainly lonely. He was being pursued and rejected (1 Kings 19:3–4). There are many other kinds of loneliness; it can happen to almost anyone. There’s such a deep longing in every heart to be understood, and to have someone share your interests, and help solve your problems and sympathize with you—someone that can enter into your joys and triumphs, your sorrows and your defeats.
Perhaps you wonder why there is this deep craving to be understood. You have sometimes such an intense longing to have someone that fully understands you.
Perhaps you might ask a question, like someone did, that you can’t understand why no human being can ever fully understand you; no living mortal seems to be able to enter into the deepest recesses of your mind, your heart, and your soul. There always seems to be, in the end, a locked door where no one ever can enter but yourself. That’s just about true. If this is true it’s because God has made us that way. He made us a living soul that only He can understand and only He can enter into that close companionship.
We’re His masterpieces, and do you think for one minute that He’d leave us with some void in our makeup that can’t be filled? No, He’s made provision for that hunger also. He’s given provision for all the hungers in our life: bread for the body, knowledge for the hunger of the mind, love for the heart, the heart hungers. Now, is the soul to be unsatisfied? Think about it a moment. Would God leave the biggest part of a man to be unsatisfied? Ah, no!
This longing for true understanding is to be fulfilled, and that’s one of the biggest parts of God’s plan. He knew that when man would find human love and sympathy so lacking, that then he’d turn to divine love and sympathy for fulfillment. They’d find they could find no fulfillment any place else. It’s just God Himself who is the answer; He’s the only fulfillment. He Himself feels the longing, and He’ll fully satisfy. He will, if you’ll give Him a chance!
God made you for Himself, and not until He fills your life will you be free from that sometimes loneliness. When He fills your life, you’ll never have the same kind of loneliness again. He knew that this sense of isolation, of not being understood, would drive you to Himself. You’re just made that way. Only God Himself can ever fill your soul. God’s Word says, “Christ is your satisfying portion.” (Lamentations 3:24) God, as I say, made you that way, so that only He could fill your soul, and this would drive you to Himself and He’ll satisfy every longing of your heart. Oh, this is true! It’s real!
Millions today are testifying that they never found satisfaction until they found Jesus Christ. God is great enough and big enough to fill any soul and give complete companionship, ideal, perfect friendship. He’s verily God, and the lack that you feel, this incompleteness, is the cry of your soul for Himself. To the Christian I would say, God’s Word stands true, and if you’re lonely, Christian, it’s because you’re not drawing close enough to the Satisfying Portion. “Christ, your satisfying portion.” You have all of these wonderful promises in God’s Word, with God Himself backing them up with His power, His truth and His love.
It’s because you’re not living in that Word, and close enough to Him, if you as a Christian have such a longing that’s unsatisfied. I would say to the one that doesn’t know Him listening in at this moment, let Him come into your lonely heart and take over. Then you can say, as Jesus said, “I’m not alone; the Father is with me” (John 16:32). He’s your Father, your heavenly Father—why don’t you turn your lonely heart to Him?
This, as I say, is His way of drawing you to Him. It’s only a manifestation of His love and of His longing for you. He’s yearning in deep sympathy and understanding for your companionship. Oh, make friends with the Lord Jesus Christ now, and you’ll never have the same desperate loneliness again!
There is a little verse that I love, in closing:
There is a mystery in human hearts
And though we be encircled by a host
Of those who love us well, and are beloved,
To every one of us, from time to time,
There comes a sense of utter loneliness.
Our dearest friend is a stranger to our joy,
And cannot realize our bitterness.
“There’s not one who really understands,
Not one to enter into all I feel,”
Such is the cry of each of us in turn.
Each heart, mysterious even to itself,
Must live its inner life in solitude (without the Lord),
And when beneath some heavy cross you faint
And say, “I cannot bear this load alone,”
You say the truth! Christ allowed it purposely,
So heavy that you must return to Him.
The bitter grief, which “no one understands,”
Conveys a secret message from the King,
Entreating you to come to Him again.
For those who walk with Him from day to day
Never have “a solitary way.”
Adapted from “A Solitary Way.” From an old Gospel tract; author unknown
Oh, give Him a chance at your heart! Let Him come in and share that wonderful companionship that He offers to you.
Lord Jesus, bless each one that listens, and help them, Lord, we pray Thee, to so open their hearts and turn their whole life over to Thee, that Thou canst come in and utterly fill any emptiness there. Jesus, we ask it in Thy name.
He’s still on the throne, and prayer does change things.