I spoke to a friend today about her kitten. It was missing for 4 days, and showed up on her back porch today. Visions of this lost kitten conjured up images of it being tired and hungry and lonely, out in the cold, trying to find its way home, not hearing the voice of its master calling for it from a distance. My heart went out to this poor little kitten, and then I realized why. I was feeling a bit lost and lonely, myself.
Loneliness can occur in different scenarios. We can be lonely when we are alone, lonely when we are in crowds and even lonely in our circumstance. Loneliness feels empty and it can hurt.
I wrote and taught a bible study last year, long before I knew of my current struggle. It was on Psalm 107 and it was titled "Unfailingly Loved." In particular one of the phrases that I used to summarize part of the chapter (verses 4-9) was "Lost and Lonely and Brought Home." The Psalmist talks about being lost in a desert wasteland, thirsty, hungry and failing away, looking for a way to a city. Finally, the people cried out to the Lord in their trouble and He delivered them from their distress, and led them by a straight way.
Yes, sometimes we wander from the Lord and we are lost, and other times I think that we can even feel lost and lonely in our troubles. They become wastelands for us. We are in need of so many things (food and water, only to name a few of what seems like the least of our needs) and we are looking for a place of safety -- a refuge. We are not much different from the Israelites of old or even from each other. Our pain and suffering may be different, but in it, we can feel lost and lonely.
The good news is that we can be brought home, as we call out to Him. He leads us by straight paths, satisfies our needs and brings us to a place of safe keeping. It may not always feel like it, but we can be confident. For the God that loves us with an unfailing love, even sent His one and only Son to die for us, and be raised from the dead, so that we can have forgiveness of our sins and live in the bliss of eternity with Him. This very God relentlessly seeks after us, and is waiting for our call.
Sometimes, I think I get too weary or discouraged to cry out to Him, perhaps afraid that He will not answer or will not hear, both of which I know are not true. I can fear that His answer may be different than what I expected, or think that I can handle. However, we can trust God that His way is the straight way, that He knows every need that we have and will satisfy it, and even give us good things amidst it all. He has us just where we need to be right now, and is directing us towards the city of refuge that He has for us - Himself.
Dear reader, perhaps you feel the same right now, in your solitary place of suffering. If so, join with me as I cry out to the Lord. "Dear Lord, I am lonely and feeling as if I am wandering in and through my time of suffering. I do not always feel your presence. Help me to really know that you are an ever present help in trouble and that you are leading me, satisfying me and filling me with good things, even now. Help me to know the safe refuge of You as my home. Please hear my call. I choose to trust in You. In Jesus name I pray. Amen."