Friday, May 07, 2010

Lessons from Loneliness

Loneliness is never fun. In fact, it just may be one of the hardest trials in life to endure. It can come from many different sources. This Sunday at Grace Church we will conclude our “Face Your Fears” message series by looking at the final of six very real fears – the fear of being alone. We will see this Sunday five individuals in the Bible who all faced the darkness of loneliness. They each were in different situations and the source of each of their loneliness was unique from the others. But from each of these six individuals we can learn a lesson to help us when we are facing the fear of being alone in our lives.

We will see Elijah who in 1 Kings found himself alone in a cave. The cause of his loneliness was self-pity. After his great victory on Mt Carmel, Queen Jezebel threatens his life and he ends up in a cave where God asks, “What are you doing?” You can see his loneliness and self-pity in his answer in verse 10, “I have been very zealous for the Lord…the sons of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets. And I alone am left and they seek my life, to take it away.”

We will see Joseph who in Genesis 37 found himself alone in a pit. The cause of his loneliness was betrayal. Because of his brother’s jealousy toward him, they abducted him and threw him in a pit. Verse 24 says, “And they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it.”

We will see Hannah who was alone at a banquet in 1 Samuel 1. The cause of her loneliness was infertility. While at a banquet, her husband’s insensitivity led her to go to the temple to be alone and to pour out her heart out to God. Verse 9-10 says, “Then Hannah rose…she, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.”

We will see Naomi and Ruth who in Ruth 1 were alone in a strange land. The cause of their loneliness was grief. Naomi’s husband died as did her two sons leaving behind just her and her two daughters-in-law, one of whom was Ruth. Verses 8-9 says, “And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go, return each one of you to her mother’s house…Then she kissed them and they lifted up their voices and wept.”

We will see the Apostle Paul who in 2 Timothy 4 found himself alone in a jail. The cause of his loneliness was imminent death. At the tail end of Paul’s life, he is in prison awaiting his execution and deeply desiring for Timothy, his companion and friend, to come visit him. In verse 9 and verse 21 he pleads with Timothy, “Make every effort to come to me soon…Make every effort to come before winter.”

And finally we will see Jesus who found himself alone on a cross in Matthew 27. The cause of His loneliness was rejection. Jesus had been betrayed, denied, and abandoned; even God the Father had to turn His face from him due to His carrying our sin. Verse 46 says, “And in the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?’”

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