The loneliness of the Christian journey

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Tuesday, November 20, 2018

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16

Most Christian pastors have accepted the fact that ministry is a lonely vocation. Our lives are under constant scrutiny. We are often misunderstood, and we seldom have an outlet for decompressing without worrying about the way we may be perceived.

Pastors are not the only ones that struggle with loneliness. All leaders struggle with some type of loneliness. Someone said leadership is lonely, and those who seek leadership, are asking for a life of loneliness. Whereas the pastor/leader may be surrounded by others, called on by others, spend a lot of time in the public sphere, he or she will not be able to shake off the aching loneliness of their soul.

Loneliness is a necessity for every pastor/leader. It forces us to cultivate spiritual intimacy with God alone. In loneliness, our soul thirst for fellowship with the divine and we are driven to the point where we withdraw from others-physically and emotionally- so our existential thirst can be quenched by our communion with the triune God. Because of our uncommon devotion to Jesus Christ, we live like pilgrims who walk with God in the garden of our souls – and who but God alone can walk there with us (A. W. Tozer).

In today’s text, we are reminded that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Though Jesus was always surrounded by his disciples, and by those who needed him to meet their physical needs, he was lonely. The physical presence of other human beings could not lessen the spiritual loneliness of Jesus. His true self could not be understood or appreciated. Therefore, he withdrew to lonely places and prayed, often.

Many Christians confuse loneliness of the soul with depression. The believer gets lonely because their soul longs for fellowship with God alone. Depression is an emotional dis-ease that causes a feeling of sadness, difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions, loss of energy, etc. The loneliness I am talking about has to with a spiritual longing which other human beings cannot satisfy. The lonely Christian is not sad because he or she lives in the joy of the Lord. He or she is renewed by the Holy Spirit daily, and find purpose in living for Christ.

Every Christian has his or her own unique relationship with God and is at a different season in their Christian journey. The uniqueness of that relationship demands a level of exclusivity that others cannot appreciate. We have spiritual and emotional needs that others cannot understand or fulfill- not even our spouses. Perhaps the creator intended for it to be so. Just maybe, we will never shake off this gnawing sense of loneliness until our soul is reconnected with God in the hereafter.

In the meantime, you may find yourself getting less interested in the things of this world. You may even feel lonely in public places. That does not mean something is wrong with you. Just know you are not alone. There is such a thing as “sweet loneliness” that comes from being hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). Know that even when we are surrounded by friends and loved ones, “there will still at times be a sense of aloneness that draws us into lonely places with Jesus, our true Soul Friend.”

Prayer- Blessed Jesus, thank you for being our Soul Friend who alone can take away our loneliness.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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