Alone is a word that stands… alone. It sounds sad, like being intentionally left out of, or unintentionally left behind, something. Unless desperately trying to get away from “the madding crowd,” alone is a word that seems to have a hollow echo to it. Many experienced pastors of multitudes know this all too well. I do.
Alone is something that we often readily try to avoid at all costs. But when the realization comes, through some unforeseen circumstance, that we really are alone, it can become easy to feel orphaned; no hope and unloved, with no available remote to conveniently change the station. So we isolate in the suffering silence, uncertain of where to definitively turn in the big world of echo. Alone stands alone.
Yet, WHAT IF? What if there is a higher cause at work in or through this uncomfortable state I’m in? What if this possibly might be guided by the Hand of a compassionate God? What if something so painful might also be so purposeful? What if that which we are helplessly trying to escape, is that which we are intended to hopefully embrace? What if alone is not a detour but a destination? What if, Alone is not?
Alone may actually have a different meaning for the soul. Rather than crowding my soul with numerous attractions and distractions in a driven attempt for being whole or complete, perhaps I need to rest in my aloneness to get in touch with my true need. Although peace and contentment may be found in the intimate embrace of another, it still cannot be held forever. Likewise, anything partnered as “good for the soul” still will come to an end, as does a memorable and blessed Christmas. Yet, once alone again there is opportunity, not for sadness but for search; to consider and contemplate what or Who it is it that truly completes me. So, I must embrace Alone.
The year of COVID has covered us like a terrible dark and wet blanket. It has wrought fear, despair, grief, and defeat. Additionally, my own disability during COVID has worked the same on me. Life as we had normally known it is normal no more. We find ourselves, like never before, separated from those loved. Some were separated from us (from Life itself), leaving us stiflingly stuck and sadly alone. But are we, really? Am I?
In one sense, I have always been alone. I came into the world by myself, and one day will leave it by myself. Just as there are times now that I am by myself, solo with Alone.
Yet in a greater sense, I am never alone. I am known by the One, both before I was born and after I die. I am known by Him right now. My God has always desired incredible intimacy with me alone, an embrace that is without end. He alone is good for my soul, partnered forever. He always, even now, wants me to know Him fully; a fullness that, alone, will make me complete. Only my God can do that.
I still struggle with Alone. It can slip in silently or suddenly. Left to my old nature I easily look to someone or something else to staunch the emotional bleed. However, when I intentionally choose to look to the One who knows me most and is with me, my bleeding ceases. The struggle rarely stops readily or easily. But in the end, I am never standing alone.