Sometimes we feel very alone. We may be driving in traffic on the way home from somewhere and all of us sudden we are overwhelmed with this idea “I’m alone; no one really cares about me.”
Or we might lying in bed at night and the family might be home, or we may live alone, and suddenly it’s like a dark cloud hovers over us out of nowhere and we feel so alone – we feel depressed, discouraged, afraid. We start to have thoughts like “I don’t care what I do anymore; I give up; I’m just going to throw in the towel and go do this or that. I know it’s sinful but I just don’t care anymore.”
It seems to me that this is a rather common human emotion and experience – feeling alone. That’s why rock stars make hundreds of millions of dollars singing songs that say stuff like “I love you.” Because we feel alone and then someone says “I love you”; “I like you just the way you are”; “You are loved” etc; stuff like that.
But at those moments of darkness nothing seems to help; praying, thinking, meditating, remembering things, quoting Scripture, sometimes just nuthin helps.
Listen to John the Baptist – he suffered from the same condition.
“John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen— the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.’”
First of all John is in prison and likely knows that he is going to die. He did eventually get beheaded for telling the King that the King shouldn’t have married his brothers’ sister because it was adultery. So John is sitting in prison and waiting to die. And then he thinks to himself “is Jesus really the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
This is our very same problem: we have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are God’s children, we have been born again by the Spirit of God, we are going to heaven, we are blessed with peace and joy knowing our sins have been forgiven – then in a moment of weakness we say to ourselves: “there is something wrong here; I am all alone; no one cares about me and God certainly isn’t guiding me the way He should.”
Look at Elijah
He calls for a contest with the prophets of Baal; he calls down for fire to fall from heaven and it does; he wins the contest; he hears from God; the prophets of Baal are killed and Elijah is used by God to do miraculous things.
Then Elijah prays for rain. It hasn’t rain for 3 and ½ years. We know this because James tells us so in James chapter 5: “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!”
And now Elijah is praying for rain and the rainclouds appear on the horizon and the land is flooded with glorious water from above; the parched land drinks it all up; people rejoice and dance in the rain.
But then Ahab’s wife Jezebel wants to kill Elijah and Elijah flees in panic to a remote place and starts sulking under a tree. Let’s read about it in 1 Kings chapter 19:
“When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.”
Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” – 1 Kings 19:1-4
Oh how sad and pathetic we can be. How quickly we forget that the Almighty God in heaven never stops loving us; how quickly we forget that the Holy Spirit is living within us and we can pray and have access to the Almighty at any time of the day or night.
Don’t worry – in your brokenness and despair, in your sulking and asking God to kill you, He will come to you and show His glory to you. God doesn’t want you to be left alone in your self pity; He will make sure that He fulfills His promise He gave to you through His Son Jesus Christ: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
And so it was with John the Baptist – Jesus sends a message to John telling John that He (Jesus) really is the Messiah. And God speaks to Elijah in the following passage and comforts Him – let’s listen:
“But the LORD said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him.
And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
You see. After all the crazy things happen in our life and stop to listen; when we just calm down we hear the voice of God.
And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied again, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
Then the LORD told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”
God answers John; He answers Elijah. And guess what? He answers you as well. He says to you: Where are you right now and what are you doing?
And we think to ourselves – that’s it: I’m drinking; I’m cursing; or I’m angry; I’m confused, and scared and baffled; I’m at my wit’s end.
And God says to us: I am with you. I am here. I have you in my care. Don’t worry – all you need to know is that I love you and I will take care of you.
When my wife gave birth to one of our children we knew that it was going to die because it was born at 21 weeks. It’s lungs weren’t developed and full of water – he was alive. We named him Charles. And I held little Charlie in my hands and he cuddled into my beating heart. I loved that little guy for the hour that God gave him to me.
But at that moment I cried out to God and said “Why! Why? Why did you cause my wife to give birth to this baby boy and now he’s going to die?”
And the thoughts from the Holy Spirit came into my mind: “You don’t need to know why. What you need to know is that I love you and will care for you.” And with that my heart was at peace.
So remember brother or sister – God loves you and will take care of you. We will see each other in heaven.