Dec 042013 0 Responses

When You Feel All Alone

Abandoned. It’s one of humanity’s greatest fears.

It can express itself in many ways—one person throws himself into a string of relationships refusing to be alone while another person refuses to draw close to anyone so to never be let down. One person becomes so controlling that she can’t let you out of her sight while another becomes so enmeshed that he can’t separate himself from his spouse.

Nervous stomachs, unexplainable anxieties, a string of failed relationships or a stoic demeanor free from any emotion–the fear of abandonment can express itself in many ways. Deep within the heart of all of humanity is a fear that we are alone.

We can sense it in a noisy room just as easily as in a quiet house. “No one loves you,” the voice says. “You’re not worthy,” it whispers. “You have no one to turn to,” we think.

We fall for the deception of believing our feelings are circumstantial.

“When I start dating, I won’t be lonely.”
“When I get married, I won’t feel alone.”
“When I have a child, I’ll always have someone to love me.”

The voice speaks to us all. It might whisper in different ways, but the message is ultimately the same—you are on your own, forgotten, insignificant, unloved, and unwanted.

It was the voice that:

slithered toward Eve in the Garden.

whispered in Adam’s ear as he hid from God.

wooed David from the rooftop.

haunted Job in the dust and ashes.

spoke to Mary every time her baby kicked.

chided Joseph every time the people murmured.

spoke to Jesus in the desert and in the garden.

It is a hard voice to ignore for it speaks to our greatest fear. It is a hard voice to ignore for it speaks truth. The fear of abandonment is more than a fear; it is a reality. We are alone.

It wasn’t meant to be that way. The Bible opens with a story of community. The communal God creates the first family and all live in perfect unity. Intimacy in a way that none of us have ever fully experienced was the nature of life in the Garden. God and humanity, husband and wife, humanity and nature lived in harmony. No need for competition; no need for survival instincts; no need for defense mechanisms. If Eve asked Adam a question, he didn’t need to wonder if there was a hidden agenda. When Adam made a kind gesture toward Eve, she didn’t have to discern his real intent. When God walked through the Garden, humanity didn’t have to tremble in fear. They didn’t question God’s existence; they didn’t doubt his providence; they didn’t wonder about his love. God knew Adam and Eve; Adam and Eve knew God; Eve and Adam knew each other.

That kind of intimacy which we long for was not cherished by our ancestors; instead it was traded in for the hope of something better. The promise of moral freedom seemed more appealing than the intimate knowledge of companionship and so Eve and Adam fell for the serpent’s offer and ate of the forbidden fruit.

The result was not as they had hoped. Like every lie of Satan, the object was far less valuable and the cost was far more expensive than advertised. When sin entered the world, intimacy left. Walls were erected; suspicions were heightened; trust was no longer considered. Adam and Eve were forced out of the Garden. While they lived together physically, their hearts were separated emotionally.

God’s presence was no longer a welcome sight for humanity. Slowly they went from hearing directly from God to hearing about God to eventually not even considering God. They had experienced the cruelest fate—to have knowledge of community, only to have it taken away. While the poet says that it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, humanity’s experience of intimacy with God made the pain of his absence even greater. They went from complete intimacy to total isolation. They were abandoned.

Sin produces feelings of abandonment. We walk away from God only to feel that God has walked away from us. It was the experience of the Israelites enslaved in Egypt. Disciplined for their sin, the people felt deserted by God. Yet God had not abandoned the Israelites, he had allowed them to experience life apart from him. He had hidden his presence enough to make them feel alone in order to remind them of their need for him. When that realization was fully felt he rescued them from Egypt and the people promised to never again walk away from God.

They promised, but they failed to keep their word. As the years passed, God’s provision supplied a security that turned into arrogance. Before long the people fell for the same old lie that Satan has long used—humanity can be self-sufficient. As the Israelites forged their own way, God slowly began to mask his presence. Sin increased and eventually God’s patience wore thin. Discipline was needed and the people, who promised to never forget the land which God had given them, were stripped from that land which they thought they had gained for themselves. Exiled to a foreign land, once again God allowed his people to experience life outside of his protection.

There in the foreign lands the people cried out for the days of old—they longed for God’s presence and the security that it brought. They wondered why God would abandon them at the time of their greatest need. And eventually most of them simply forgot about God. They gave up on him. Yet a few remembered the promise. A few continued to believe. A few continued to act as though God would one day rescue them.

It is in the midst of this desperation and to this deserted people that the Messiah was born. Not with great pomp and circumstance but in the most unworthy of ways to a rejected woman in an unknown town. With the cry of an infant, God boldly announced that humanity was no longer alone—Emmanuel, God with us. Abandoned no more.

There is a prerequisite to enjoying the full meaning of the coming of Christ. Before we can experience the joy of his coming, we must first experience the pain of his absence. We must hear the whisper that we are alone in order to fully understand that God is with us.


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