Thursday, February 02, 2012

Aloneness As the Cure for Loneliness

Times Square
Years ago, in a D. Min. seminary course on Spiritual Formation I was teaching, I sent the pastors out to pray for an hour, using Ps. 23 to meditate on. I always begin my classes this way. We do some introductions. Then I send the students out to pray.

After the hour the pastors came back. Except for one. He didn't return to class. I thought, "Maybe he doesn't like this assignment?"

On the second day of class this pastor was there. I asked about what happened yesterday. He said, "I went out to pray. God told me that he loved me. I needed to hear those words, which I haven't heard for years. I couldn't leave that place and come back to class - I stayed out praying for hours."

I was blessed. He received love and affirmation from God himself. It doesn't get any better than that.

The Jesus-follower who follows Jesus' own prayer-example will often hear God say to them, "I love you." God calls you by your name. He gives you The Blessing, a gift no human can give. Your sonship or daughtership gets reconfirmed. You experience your heavenly Father, your Creator, who likes you and cares for you and embraces you.

I have personally experienced this many times. I'm looking forward to getting some of this good stuff today. Today I will tell Linda, probably more than once, "I love you." She will initiate this with me, too. God is like that, only more purely so.

When one experiences this God-love they no longer feel lonely because they are no longer alone in life. In aloneness-with-God loneliness dissipates.

There is a deep, inner existential loneliness that being with people cannot cure. This Kafkaesque sense of isolation and marginalization is, essentially, a matter of the heart. When we bring this loneliness, on a daily basis, to God, he wraps his arms around our hearts and is known as "Emmanuel, God-with-me."

Aloneness with God is the cure for loneliness.