“I’ll never be lonely again, never again,
For I’ve opened my heart’s door to Him.”
As a child, I loved to listen to this song by Audrey Meier. It is a beautiful song and emphasizes comforting promises of God such as, “He will do the same for you, as He did for me. He’ll never leave you, never forsake you. Trust Him and see.” Listening to this song helped to ease my worries and calm my heart. Thinking on God’s promise that He would never leave me nor forsake me, caused me to feel rested and happy inside. It is so very true that, if we have trusted Jesus as our Savior, we are never really alone. Jesus is with us always, for He is the Friend that sticks closer than a brother. However, it is the natural longing of the heart to have the companionship of another human being. This is not strange. God designed us to have this desire. Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 says, “9Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” Nevertheless, there are often times when we find ourselves with no human friend or loved one, and we feel very lonely.
There were two times when Jesus felt very alone -- once was while He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and again while He was dying on the cross.
In the Garden
On the night before His crucifixion, just before His arrest, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He took with Him Peter and James and John because He wanted them to pray for Him while He talked with His Father. He gave them a charge to watch and pray so that they would not enter into temptation. Then He went a little farther on to pray by Himself. “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:41-44)
Jesus was in turmoil of spirit. He knew that the terrible cross awaited Him. He dreaded the defilement He would feel when He took upon Him the sins of every person in the whole world. He wished He could stop the time from coming when He would be separated from His Father. How He yearned for those last hours of fellowship before He had to endure the cross! Imagine His heartbreak when He came back and found that the disciples had not been praying for Him at all. He had left them with the charge to pray, and they were sleeping. “What,” He said to Peter, “could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:38) Then He went back to pray the second time. When He returned, He found the disciples sleeping again.
In His hour of greatest heaviness, Jesus was deserted by His earthly friends. Not one person stood with Him or prayed for Him. But God had not left Him alone. God sent angels to strengthen Him. When we are in our greatest hours of trial, we also are not alone. We may yearn for the fellowship of another human – a friend, our husband, our Dad and Mom. Our hearts may break if we hear no word from home that someone is praying for us or if we cannot contact our loved ones. But God cares for us, and He has not deserted us. He sent angels to minister to Jesus, but we have the presence of God Himself with us. Isaiah 41:13 comforts our hearts with these words, “I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
On the Cross
The darkest hour of Jesus’ life was during His time on the cross. All the disciples had forsaken Him. Only a few women followed Him to the hill where He was to be crucified. There His hands and feet were nailed to the cross. Next to Him on either side was a cross with a thief. All around Him were people that mocked. He was in great pain. Yet, His greatest pain was to come about the sixth hour of the day. Jesus was bearing in His own body our sins and the sins of every person in the whole world; and darkness covered the whole earth for three hours while God the Father turned His back upon His Son because God could not look upon that sin. In heart wrenching agony of spirit, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
Jesus faced a loneliness that we will never face. God the Father forsook His Son. For three hours, God turned His face away from Jesus. Jesus was stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Jesus suffered rejection by His Father so that we would be accepted. Jesus bore the punishment for our sins so that we would not have to bear it. Jesus was forsaken of His Father so that we might receive the promise, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
We must not think it strange if we go through times of loneliness. Jesus did. We must not think it is wrong to feel sorrow and to long for fellowship during hours of loneliness. Jesus felt these things. But we must always remember that we have a Companion who understands our loneliness. This Companion is Jesus, our Forever Friend. We may experience loneliness, but we will never be alone. Jesus is always there.