I Am Not Alone
I Am Not Alone
One of the loneliest times I ever experienced was in a city of over 1,000,000 people. I learned then that loneliness is not about numbers, but about relationships. There were plenty of people around, but I didn't know any of them well enough to feel "at home." I don't suppose there are many emotions as powerful as loneliness. The feeling of being overcome is almost too powerful to resist and, indeed, many people don't resist it.
Jesus, at the culmination of His entire ministry, felt so overwhelmed and forsaken that He cried out to His Heavenly Father, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Mark 15:34. If that doesn't tell us anything else, it should tell us that this is a serious thing we're discussing...this feeling of being forsaken. If the powers of loneliness and discouragement are that strong (strong enough to impact even Jesus), we had better not take them for granted. But notice that I said they impacted Jesus. I didn't say they overcame Him, because they didn't! By the way, Jesus' experience with discouragement and loneliness on the cross should also teach us something else. Given the fact that Jesus didn't commit any sin (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:21-23), we know He didn't sin by crying out as He did. It's not a sin for you to cry out to God. It's not a sin to feel discouraged and lonely. It only becomes a sin when you don't turn to God for relief.
Long ago, God promised never to leave or forsake His faithful ones, Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Joshua 1:5. The author of Hebrews quoted those verses and applied the same promise to the faithful of God today: "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," Hebrews 13:5. God is on our side. Aren't you glad? I know I am! I need Him on my side!! And you won't be offended if I point out that you do, too.
The night before Jesus' crucifixion, He was already under a lot of stress. The pressure to give in and just run screaming into the night (like we've all felt like doing) was beginning to build. In Matthew 26:38 Jesus said His soul was "grieved to the point of death." If that's not an indication of great stress, I don't know what is.
Let's back up a few hours, though. Jesus made a statement to His disciples that gives us a clear picture of what was happening and provides for us today a ray of hope that will help us not to be overcome. We are not alone because Jesus was not alone!! John 16:32,33: "Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world."
I know that there will be times when you're all alone and you know it, too. It may be that all your friends have forsaken you. It may just be that in an unanticipated moment of stress, there is no one available to "watch your back," or give you the encouragement you need. It's true that sometimes awful and stressful things happen in a moment and there's no time to prepare or to line up the forces on your side. Jesus said, "You will leave Me alone, but I am not alone!" I want you to know, that is as powerful a statement as we'll find. It may look and feel like you're all alone in this world, but if you belong to Him, you're not alone!
Good friends, the world can throw some big and scary things at us, can't it? "...but take courage; I have overcome the world," Jesus says. Our Lord is bigger and stronger than the world. That means we cannot be overcome if we'll trust in Him. Those disciples did leave Jesus, but eleven of them came back and they overcame and were not overcome. You may have left Jesus at some point or another. You may have thought He had forsaken you. Well, He didn't! He's waiting and He's ready to give you the strength you need to overcome whatever stands in your path. He's there because He loves you and I send this to you because I do, too!