Just learned that I get to make the 800+ mile road trip to Chicago this weekend with one of the boys. He’s been blessed by admission to Graduate School at Wheaton College just outside of Chicago. He’ll be working on his Master of Arts degree in Archeaology: New Testament. That involves a 6 week archeaological dig in Isreal this summer followed with courses at Jesusalem University this fall, before returning to Wheaton. That’s cool since it will give me a great excuse to return to Isreal, one of my favorite places to visit. Now all that brings me around to the discussion of Loneliness. You ask how did I get there?
Well with my son taking off to Wheaton where he knows no one, to Isreal where he not only knows no one, but also doesn’t know the language, that could lead to a lonely situation if he’s not careful to remember that God is always there even when you are alone. Being alone and being lonely are two different things. I’ve often been alone, but not lonely because I had things to do, and things to occupy my time and my mind. But, I’ve also been in the middle of a crowd and been lonely, especially in a large crowd. That is understandable, but the worst loneliness seems to be the one where you are with your friends or your loved ones and somehow feel alone, unwanted, undesirable, unable to participate, even wanting to be alone with your loneliness. It’s a strange feeling. But there are many who have been there and who know of where I speak.
So what is this loneliness. It’s an emptiness inside. A hole in the heart. A need that nothing seems to fill. For most of us, it even seems that God is not there. It’s important to know that when we are the lonliest and when God seems the fartherest away is when we have a great opportunity to grow in our sprituality. It is a time when we can be alone with God even though we are in the midst of much. It is a time when we need to turn to God and ask Him to fill that emptiness in our soul, in our heart, that only He can fill. Ask Him to fill us to overflowing, to let us know that He is truely always there. We need never be dismayed in our loneliness: we only need to call on Him. It is a time to use the loneliness to grow in knowledge about God and to grow in understanding of our relationship with Him. Put all else aside and let Him speak to you. What a blessing that time of loneliness can become.
OK, It’s here. A friend who was recently divorced told me “Oh No, Valentines is coming and I don’t even have a Valentine”.
Another said “I hate Valentines Day. It’s so stressful. You are supposed to show people you Love them Every Day and this is just a day for Card Makers and Florists and Candy Makers to make big bucks.” I understand where they are both coming from. For many people it is a sad day, a day of depression, a day they just wish would hurry up and get over so they can get on with life. For many men it’s a no win day. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you do you are in a great competition with what the wife or girl friends friends have done for them. Jenna’s husband bought her a diamond and Sally’s husband gave her tickets to a Bahamma cruise. Your flowers and card can’t compete with that. And you not only are competing with other peoples Valentine, but with whatever you’ve done in the past. So if you took the wife on a dinner in Paris last year, how are you going to top that this year? Nope, you’ll not top that this year and you like me will probably give up trying. You aren’t going to win!
For those who ”don’t have a valentine”, remember there is someone who always loves you, who will always be your valentine and whose gift no one will ever top. God loves you. He’ll never walk out on you. He’ll never divorce you and He keeps on giving and giving even though the gift of His son will never be topped. No one can compete with that kind of love and it’s love that is there not just on Valentine’s Day but every day of the year.
This is a time for many in which loneliness and depression reaches a maximum. But, you don’t have to stay there. If you are alone, and “don’t have a Valentine” this year, why not be a Valentine to someone else who is in the same boat. Sit down and make a list of all of the people you know who are alone today, the recently divorced, the widowed, the soldiers you know away from home, the students you know off at college, the people you know in the nursing home. Now how can you make a great Valentine’s Day for them. Yeah it may be too late to send a Valentine’s Day Card or Flowers or Candy, but many will be pulled out of their depression and loneliness just knowing you care. God tells us “Love your Neighbor as yourself”. There is no better time than now to act out that command. Pick up the phone and call those on your list who you know are lonely today. Email them. Or if possible just invite someone out to lunch. What a difference you can make in someones Valentines Day with just a little effort and I promise that your loneliness and depression will go away while you are spreading God’s Love.
Enjoy this day and help someone else enjoy it too. Wayne
I just realized that my valentines day will be spent at the doctors office offering a sacrifice of blood to see if I’m still alive and kicking or if I’ll have to be jump started to get through the week. Yep, they are going to want to see some blood. It will probably be just a finger stick, but blood no less. If I were attentive to my weight and my exercise they probably wouldn’t be asking for blood, but since I’ve failed to give those things up, I have to give up the blood. But, it reminds me that the greatest Valentine gift ever was a sacrifice of blood. It was much like this situation. Man had failed to do what God had asked him to do, and yet God love him so much that a sacrifice of blood had to be given in order to save his life. No, it wasn’t exactly at Valentine’s Day, but in some ways it was the same. He loved us so much that he had give up a precious gift to let us know He loved us and that He Himself was love. A gift greater than any other gift a man can offer; the gift of life.
So, God gave his only son, and He bled and died for the love and the life of each of us. The stress was so great that as knealt prayer He sweated blood from his brow, and then He gave more blood as the thorns pierced Him and the blood ran down His Holy face. He was beaten within an inch of His life with the cat of nine tails, leaving a trail of blood from the flesh that was barely hanging on His body as He carried His own cross to calvary. And at the cross, blood and water ran down from his side as He was pierced with a spear and hung there bleeding His life away for you and for me.
During this Valentines week, as we think about our loved ones and what gift we can provide for them, we need to think of the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for us. The ultimate gift of life and blood. Every red heart and red symbol during this special time of celebrating love should remind us of His commands for us. ”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind, and Love your neighbor (your friends, your family, even your enimies) as you love yourself.” Be thankful for what He has done for you and for me and share in His gift of Love. Wayne