Less than two months ago, a move ripped me from my comfort zone. Church family, neighbors, and favorite spots disappeared into the horizon as a truck too small to hold our home carried us northward. In just a few hours, the temperature chilled ten degrees. Familiar people and landmarks vanished like fog and I shivered in isolation.
My husband had long hours to work at his new job. I had plenty to keep me occupied in the house and the sparsely furnished room where I must resume writing. Though each morning began with Psalms, I fought to maintain joy throughout the day. Cavernous walls loomed around bare rooms and my new house still failed to seem like home.
I despaired over the unfinished state of the house, then concluded there’d be no one to visit our house anyway. I had no friends to invite into this space. An overwhelming sense of isolation sagged on my shoulders. Other than my husband’s company in the late hours of the night, I spent my days in complete seclusion.
Yet, I could not declare myself utterly alone. Nor would I remain in this lonely place forever. Father God lingered ever near, whispering reminders into my ear that he’d never left my side. The Lord taught me to lean upon him during this time of seclusion. He showed me cracks in my faith which needed reshaping and fortification from the Creator-Potter’s expert touch.
Then, the Lord delivered unexpected tokens of his love. Not once, but on several occasions, God prompted me to go where I would discover these blessings. He sent me to a large church, where the usher directed me to sit beside a lost friend from many years past. He insisted I move next door to a warm-hearted soul who introduced me to great neighbors. And on the other side of this neighborhood, where I’d felt so certain I was alone, I discovered one of my closest friends from high school had been living for several years.
Though the Lord used my seclusion to transform my faith, he didn’t leave me to suffer in loneliness longer than I could withstand. He knows my needs, both for spiritual renewal and human connection. Yet all of these blessings required me to listen to his promptings to find them. Had I not responded to his whisper, I might have remained in seclusion much longer.
I’ve learned three things about lonely places from this journey:
- As Jesus withdrew to lonely places for time with his Father, we also need time alone with God. If we find ourselves in isolation, we can choose to make it into an opportunity to invite the Lord to renew our souls.
- I must obey the Lord’s promptings to enjoy his blessings.
- God loves to share gifts with those he loves, especially through those he loves.
Psalm 68:6 resonates in my soul today like a theme song, “God sets the lonely in families.” I pray for those of you who find yourselves in lonely places will cling to faith and have hope. Wherever this day finds you, I encourage you to listen for the Lord’s loving voice.
What has the Father given your heart to sing about today? I look forward to reading your comments.