As I reflected on the beauty of this Easter weekend and shared in festivities with my family, I felt to reach out to those who are faced with the reality of lockdown loneliness. And I wanted to encourage you, especially at a time like this: we are no longer lonely.
It’s a strange thing to say in the middle of national lockdown. When loneliness is screaming louder than any other noise. The reality is that we have been asked to live our days in lockdown, absent from the ones we hold dear; family and friends. Social distancing is now the social dance that we do because avoiding social interaction is our governments prescription for our protection. Yet loneliness lurkes around, even longer and louder than before. For some of you, lockdown has knocked you off your feet leaving nothing but a bruised soul.
As we lock ourselves into our homes, I encourage you to not become locked out of relationship. Isolation doesn’t have to lead to the termination of coffee shop catch ups and dinner date laughs. Thanks to technology, there are very high possibilties that our previously arranged social engagements can continue still. However, as the noise of busyness calms down and all becomes silent; allow this moment to set you up for success and teach you a trait or two. Read that book that’s been lying on your bedsie table, take that quiz, learn that thing that you’ve always wanted to learn. Allow your creativity to run rampant around your loneliness. Find creative ways to connect with others.
I remember a time when silence was deafening. I was a young girl living in a strange city. My then boyfriend, now husband; had just moved away for business and my best friend had just moved away for love. I was left behind, alone. The sound of my own heartbeat was the music to which I tapped my toes. My tears were the only thing that made me feel alive. As they wet my face, they comforted me with their warmth one second and then swiftly became the cold sting that would pierce my grieving heart.
I was desperate for friendship, family and familiarities.
I’m encouraged by the life of Jesus. Jesus was no stranger to loneliness.
In Psalm 22 David writes these words:
Psalm 22:1-2 – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.”
In Mark 15:34 we see Jesus crying out these very same words as He hung on the cross.
Mark 15:34 – “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
For the very first time, ever; Jesus experiences separation from His Father. Jesus is isolated on the cross as He bore our sins. Jesus is alone. His emotional turmoil is far greater than His physical pain. Jesus became sin for us and endured the full wrath of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 – “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Charles Spurgeon says – “It was necessary that he should feel the loss of his Father’s smile, – for the condemned in hell must have tasted of that bitterness; – and therefore the Father closed the eye of his love, put the hand of justice before the smile of his face, and left his Son to cry, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'”
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 – “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
John 3: 16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Loneliness lingers when forever seems so futile. Yet, the message of the cross brings promise and repositions our heart. It takes us from a place of pity to a place of plenty. We are forgiven, set free, forever. We have a future with Jesus. He paid the price for it all. The empty grave is a symbol of hope. A hope that longs to embed itself into the chambers of our hearts. Let’s take this time to get hooked onto hope.
The favourable truth is that we are no longer lonely because we have a friendship with Christ, a future home in heaven, and a promised eternity. We no longer live as orphans, because we are children of God. We no longer live lonely because He calls us family. This becomes our new reality and we savour the sacrifice of our Saviour.
Romans 8:16 – “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Jesus is the hope for those who have been harmed by loneliness. He made us for relationship and then reconciled Himself to us, so that we could dwell in the heavens with Him. He promises that we will never be without Him. He promises us His presence. His promises us His Spirit, who is our Helper. In times of trouble or in times of triumph, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us and show us the way forward. When God created us, He made us with the blueprint of Kingdom culture. The culture of the Kingdom is relationship. We were made to love Him and to be loved by Him. We are adopted into His Kingdom, as we anchor ourselves to Christ. He is the assurance of our salvation, the answer to the questions of life.
Jesus was and is and will always be my go-to. These days my home is busy with three toddlers, and even though it’s not lonely, it is loud. Often, I hide out to seek out His face. I recognize that His comfort, cools a burning heart that bleeds from brokenness. His compassion, covers our open wounds. His cross, cancels the sin that once enslaved us. His companionship; carries away the loneliness of yesterday. His kindness, cures our doubting minds. But His Kingdom, calls for our faith.
If only we will heed the call and hasten towards the prize of life which is Christ.
Can you hear Him call?
Do you know Him?
He is close to those who are lonely.
(Please send this to someone who may be hurting during this time of lockdown, share some love and lean in together and pray for one another.)