“Turn to me [Lord] and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.”
— PSALM 25:16 (NRSV)
Loneliness is a state of being difficult to shake; it’s a lack of spiritual filling and comes as sheer emotional emptiness. When we’re lonely we beg to be filled, and there is only One that can truly fill us. As we pour ourselves out, the heart of God pours Himself into us. As we empty ourselves of our little lack, we are filled anew, and we receive new purpose. Loneliness is hence replaced with meaning, and that meaning is how God heals us for that moment.
Loneliness, therefore, can be seen as a lack of God – of felt Presence.
But there is a practical side to loneliness that must be vindicated; it comes as much through our relationships, and our need of them, than anything else.
But truly, true loneliness is a lack of felt Presence, for we hunger after One thing all our lives. This is what underpins all loneliness and even boredom.
Learning a New Skill – Going to God
For many of us this is a new skill: going to God instead of going to places and things of habit.
It is truly the loneliness of soul that takes us into bingeing, and all other types of ‘therapy’ that are not really therapies at all. This is where we need to be brutally honest with ourselves. Only God can save us in the moment. It is the way he designed life; this existence will not work properly without him.
But when we turn to God in our loneliness, God turns to us and he can heal us in that moment, because we have been honest. And somehow as we pour ourselves out as a libation, the Spirit of God – by his Presence – pours himself into us, filling us with a thing called meaning.
We are transformed by the renewing of our minds.
We are given something momentous that makes the moment different. And this is how we know the Presence of God in our lives. As we have sought God, this Lord of Glory makes himself known by the resplendence of his ability to change the moment. It happens first in our minds, and our minds – convinced – ensure our hearts come along. By such a thing our faith is restored, because it is a sign for us that God comes when we need him.
Going to God is the only wise thing to do when we are in lack.
When we are empty we need to be filled, but there is only One filling that will do the job; we need God – his Presence for our moment – to pour meaning into our lives. When we approach God empty he fills us with meaning.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.