It may have seemed like Jesus was leaving them alone when he said this. After all, he was then "taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." (Acts 1:9). It is hard to think of someone being with us when he is out of sight. These were among the last words they heard Jesus speak. These words must have contributed to the disciples' sense of "great joy" as they returned to Jerusalem (Lk. 24:52).
There are times when a Christian may feel "alone." It may occur when there is a separation of some kind. For example, the death of a very close loved one may leave us feeling alone. It is hard to go on after losing a beloved spouse, a parent, a child. We cannot begin to imagine our lives without them. However, go on we must. David came around to this reality after the death of his son. He recognized, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." (2 Sam. 12:23). His terrible sense of loneliness was overcome by his realization of a coming reunion.
When family or friends move away, they may leave us feeling alone. As I write this, a number of friends are saying goodbye to their college-bound children. The parents come home to a quiet house. Their child's bedroom is carefully preserved, and they feel alone. They remember the good times and cannot imagine being separated from someone so dear to them. They must focus on the prospects for future togetherness.
Some have felt the agony of watching their brethren leave the truth. In some places, whole congregations have left. It is a lonely, painful experience to see brethren once faithful depart from the Lord. "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy." (Rev. 3:4). How lonely those few at Sardis must have felt! What could they do? All they could do was remain faithful and keep going on. They had to be reminded that they would walk with Jesus in white.
In the loneliest moments of life, it is good to remember the words of our Lord, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." God gives us the motivation we need to keep going. He recognized long ago that it is not good for a man to be alone. (Gen. 2:18). Christ is with us in the dark days as well as the bright ones. We have his word, his example, his influence, and his people!
God surely knew the importance of staying in close fellowship with our spiritual family when he enjoined upon his people a faithful attendance to the assemblies of the church. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Heb. 10:25). "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Mt. 18:20). One of the keys to combating spiritual loneliness is exerting a deliberate effort to strengthen the ties that bind us together in Christ. This may require changing our routine to be together with God's faithful people.
Worshipping together with faithful Christians is a regular reminder that we are not alone. Jesus sings with us when we sing (Heb. 2:12); he partakes of the communion with us when we partake (Mt. 26:29); his word fills our minds when the gospel is proclaimed (Rom. 10:8-17); and he lives within our hearts when we make him Lord of our lives. (Rom. 12:1, 2).
Earthly friends may leave us. They may move away, they may die, they may abandon or forsake us. Jesus Christ never will. He said, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (Jn. 14:18). I felt the sting of loneliness when youth and friends had passed, When comrades of a brighter time had gone their way at last; 'Til, struggling with a fainting heart, mine eyes I opened wide, And sweetly saw my Savior dear still standing by my side.
Surely, we serve a Lord who will never leave us or forsake us (1 Sam. 12:22). If we remain loyal and faithful to him, he will guide us safely through this short life, "even to the end of the world," and take us home to be forever with him and the redeemed of all ages. 21536 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Rd., Hagerstown, MD 21742. email@example.com
(Robert is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University and has been a gospel preacher for over 25 years. He is also a full-time prosecutor with the State's Attorneys' Office in Washington County, MD. He worships with the Central church of Christ in Martinsburg, WV when he is not preaching. Editor)
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