Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ever Feel Alone in a Crowd?

Photo courtesy of
My dear friend Pat Hunter!
     Do you ever feel alone even in the middle of a crowd?  I have had that experience at different times in my life.  There are people all around you, but somehow there is never a connection made which gives a sense that you belong.  Even in a wonderful church fellowship, I would venture to say that there are many lonely people sitting in the pews.  It is not that people are necessarily unfriendly.  Most everyone says hello, but it is a lack of relationship which is often the root of the problem.  The sense of isolation may also be exacerbated by the size of the church.  Large congregations make it difficult to get to know people unless an effort is made to reach out.  So how can we deal with this issue?
     First, if we are the one that feels all alone in the middle of the crowd, we can take some positive steps to deal with this.  We need to look at the "alone" time as an opportunity to deepen our relationship with God.  Even God's prophets felt all alone and abandoned at times.  I am thinking specifically of Elijah who felt as though he were the only one left in all Israel who was faithful to God.  He had just come from a great victory over the prophets of Baal, and then was threatened by Jezebel.  He fled some  130 miles south to Beersheba in order to escape the reach of King Ahab.  He was tired, discouraged, depressed and he felt alone.  Whenever someone puts their heart and soul into a project, ministry, or activity, they feel a let down if they do not get positive feedback.  Certainly, Ahab gave no positive feedback and Jezebel only cried for Elijah's blood (I Kings 18-19).  This made the prophet of God feel alone.  His famous words are found in I Kings 19: 10:  "He said, 'I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts.  For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away." Here is a picture of dejection.  However, Elijah was looking in the right place for answers by talking to God and telling him how he felt.  God, in his wisdom and mercy, provided Elijah with rest, food, and His insight.  As the Lord meets with Elijah, He tells him that He will appoint another to be prophet in Elijah's place and assures him that there are at least 7,000 in Israel who have not bowed their knees to Baal.  Running to God when he felt all alone was the best thing Elijah could have ever done.  It is also the best thing we can do.  As our relationship with God grows, our loneliness will be eased.
       Secondly, our alone times will cause us to deepen our prayer life.  When life is going smoothly, we often forget to pray.  However, when we feel all alone or dejected, this is the time for us to spend in deep prayer with our heavenly Father.  Jesus looked for occasions when He could slip away from the maddening pace of life to have quality time with His Father in prayer.  We need to embrace this idea if we are feeling lonely.  See it as an opportunity to draw closer to God, to pray for others, and seek answers for our direction.
      Finally, our lonely times are when we need to reach out and invest ourselves in others.  We do not need to wait for others to come to us.  Let us go to them.  Since we know we are not the only person who may be feeling alone in a crowd, we know there are others.  Seek out those in the church family who need a friend, a hug, a listening ear.  By giving ourselves away to others, we will find fulfillment and greater joy.  Having a purpose takes away a feeling of isolation on our part.
     As a church body, we need to be certain to make newcomers feel welcomed.  We need to thank those in ministry for their time and efforts because pastors, teachers, and yes, even blog writers can feel alone at times.  No one should ever feel alone or lonely in the family of Christ.  Therefore, let us seek ways to take what the enemy means for evil (that feeling of loneliness), and allow God to turn it for our good by first seeking Him, praying more deeply and reaching out to others.  As we do this, God will be glorified and the enemy will be defeated.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and comments here.  Please feel free to leave them!

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