The Christmas season is a paradox. There’s the joy that comes from celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, the excitement of family gatherings and the fun of watching the anticipation of children and grandchildren waiting for the big day of opening presents.
Unfortunately there is the other side of Christmas; the alone side. Hidden behind the smiles and laughter, there are a lot of people struggling with being overwhelmed with life. They are discouraged, desperate and can’t shake the isolation.
They feel alone, and are in good company.
Moses spent a good portion of his life feeling isolated and alone, first while on the run from Egyptian law then while wandering the dessert with a mass of ungrateful, grumbling people.
Joshua felt alone and deeply insecure as he looked across the Jordan River and into what was to be the promise land. Moses was no longer in the picture and Joshua was, “The Man.” That realization brought a heavy sense of “aloneness.”
David felt alone while dodging and hiding from Saul as Saul sought to kill David. I imagine the solitude that comes from running for your life was significantly different than the solitude he experienced while watching sheep and enjoying the serenity of the peaceful countryside.
Paul felt alone and at times abandoned as he dealt with one trial after another. Imagine the uncertainty and feelings of insecurity that came with being imprisoned, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked and ridiculed at every turn of his ministry.
And there is no greater picture of isolation and loneliness in Scripture than Jesus Himself as He struggled in the Garden preparing for His imminent crucifixion. Repeatedly finding His disciples sleeping had to add to His stress and feelings of aloneness. Then the most gut-wrenching moment in all of history:
“My God, why have You forsaken me?”
The list goes on and on: Noah, Nehemiah, Job, Ester, Isaiah, Elijah, Peter, John and many more. However, in every case – in every case – God Himself came to each individual and reassured them they were not alone.
And He reassures you, too, that you are not alone despite how desperately alone you may feel. For example:
“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
“The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. ‘Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged'” (Deut. 31:8).
“For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones. They will be protected forever…” (Psalm 37:28).
“For the LORD will not reject His people; He will never forsake His inheritance” (Psalm 94:14).
“God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
“Therefore, He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service[i] to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested” (Hebrews 2:17-18)
And one of my favorites, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20).
This is just a sampling of the truth of the presence of God in the lives of those who belong to Him. What should we do with such profound statements of God’s personal reassurance? Here are four things we must do.
- We must anchor ourselves to these and other verses of Scripture that reassure us of God’s unwavering promise that He will not let us go.
- We must pray. Pray for ourselves for lost people, for brothers and sisters in Christ and especially for God to encourage and protect our pastors, ministers and their families.
- We must notice others. If someone appears distant, sad, alone, depressed, despondent we must reach out to them. Be concerned and express concern. Love for others is always appropriate.
- We must encourage others. Scottish Pastor John Watson said, “Be kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.” The type of burden shouldn’t matter. Encouragement is always appropriate, which is probably why Paul wrote, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up … .” (I Thessalonians 5:11).
By God’s grace we are never alone and reassured because of His never-ending promises. This Christmas, find someone to encourage. Be genuine, cut through the holiday congeniality and let them know they aren’t alone. Comfort the brokenhearted.
It is a joy to be on this journey with you.