Mr. M.J. Michaux resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has contributed numerous articles to Focus. No one has ever experienced loneliness to the depths which our Lord experienced it, particularly when He was on the cross. If we are seeking to walk daily with Him, then we need never be lonely or feel alone.
“I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind; I am like a broken vessel” (Psalms 31:12).
There is a loneliness of companionship which often can be cured. A man can speak to his friend face to face and forget for a time the empty hours. But there is a loneliness of spirit deeper than physical. It seeps into the fiber of a man, like oil, daily spreading a telltale stain. A quiet despair takes hold and deadens every sense.
David felt loneliness creeping over him. “I heard the slander. Fear was on every side.” He cried out for help. “Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble.” It was, however, not the fear of other men, fat-eyed and prosperous, whose senses were deadened with the satisfaction of lusts fulfilled. Rather, his fear was as a man who trusted God to deliver him and now found himself like a pelican in the wilderness, like an owl in the night. God had left him. That is the greatest loneliness in the world. More than physical, more even that spiritual; it is death itself.
David saw God forsaking him in his friends, his own familiar friend with whom he once took counsel, and with those whom he had worshiped in the sanctuary. He saw God forsaking him and the kingdom slipping through his fingers before his very eyes. He saw God forsaking him when old age took away his strength. “Cast me not off in the time of old age.”
“Lord!” he cried out. “Remember me, if only for Thy name’s sake,” Great promises were made to this people in your name. You promised to deliver them. Now, if you cannot deliver me, their king, who will care for “this, thy so great people?” They will say, “He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver him: let Him deliver him, seeing He delighted in him.” Seeing he cast all that he was and hoped to be on the Lord his God, He will be lost completely if his hope is empty.
It was not men’s disappointment in him as king that tormented David in this hour of supreme agony. It was not the loss of the kingdom. It was not even the loss of this so great people whom he loved, in spite of all their evil toward him. Rather, it was the contemplation that God was not God. He was not the Mighty One, Jah, who rode upon the heavens, who rode upon the wings of the wind. He could not, as his enemies claimed, deliver him.
All this was a foretaste of the agony of One to come, who hung in utter isolation between heaven and earth, rejected of men, separated from God. It was a loneliness none will ever know, crying, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
“But verily God has heard me!” David shouted. “He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me!”
All loneliness, then, is to be away from the presence of God, for in His presence is fullness of joy. Great fear fills the soul apart from God, even for a moment. He chokes with apprehension. “What if God is not so? What if my trust is abused? What if, in the end, He cannot deliver me?” At such times friends become enemies, the days become nights, the sweetest things become bitter. Great waves of helplessness roll over him. Like Jonah, he goes down into the deeps, to the bottom of the mountains, weeds wrap around his head. In complete despair his soul faints; he is cast out of the sight of God.
“I will look again to thy holy temple,” said Jonah. “When my soul fainted, I remembered the Lord.” (This is the best time to remember the Lord — when our souls faint.) It was then that Jonah’s prayers came unto His God in His holy temple. His prayers found a resting place, like a dove in its nest. He settled himself in it comfortably and surveyed the world below. He was thankful, and exclaimed, “Salvation is of the Lord.”
The Cure for Loneliness
The cure for such loneliness is God. He is both the beginning and the end of hope. David said, “For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death” (Psalm 48:14). He further stated, in Psalm 56:13, “For thou hast delivered my soul from death. Wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” David did not even bother to answer his own question.
Therefore, we come before God’s presence with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise. We immerse ourselves in the depthless, eternal fulness of His love. The bounds of our world are swallowed up in the realm of His control where He rideth upon the heavens.
David saw this and encouraged himself in the Lord. He saw without sight. He believed without fear. “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave” (Psalms 49:15). This verse literally reads, “from the hand of the grave,” reaching up, as it were, to drag him down before his time. “He will receive me. Selah.” (Pause and think of that.)
But One greater than David came, greater than Solomon his son, greater than Jonah the prophet. He came to fill the aching void in a man’s heart. He came to seek and to save, to bring joy, to deliver the world. “He will receive me.” Not to be received is a terrible hurt. A rejected lover knows the breathtaking stab of it. “Come unto me,” said this One greater than David, or Solomon, or Jonah. “I will receive you.” “Whosoever will may come.” He will be received as a son and an heir.
Who could ask for anything more? Who would want more? Christ becomes all in all to us. He is all. Loneliness, then, becomes a reproach to Him, because “He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness, such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron” (Psalm 107:9-10).
How full is that fullness, how satisfied is that soul! No longer forgotten as a dead man out of mind, he finds himself in the presence of a King, around him a multitude of singers, all who know the joy of the solitary who sit in families. At last, the dark, cold hand of loneliness is forgotten in the warm, full light of His presence.
We are alone no longer.