Though we are created to be in community there are times and seasons of our lives where though we are surrounded by many who love and care for us an immense loneliness in our souls still exists. It exists in the times when you are brutally aware of what you alone are walking through and must walk through. And even when others have walked similar paths and there is great comfort in the commonality of those journeys, still there is a loneliness only you experience. It’s found in the person who feels like the outsider in their community, the person who longs for a spouse, the woman and man struggling with infertility, the parent grieved over choices his/her child is making, the person who has just lost a loved one, and the parents carrying a child to term who is not expected to live. And these are only a few of the countless seasons of life that can produce profound loneliness. As I read Hagar’s story I am struck by the profound sense of loneliness she must have been experiencing and the fact that it is those very places of loneliness that God reveals more of Himself to her. We do not see Him revealing himself to her anywhere else but in the loneliness of her soul, though He may have. But He chose to show us more of His character in these particular moments in Hagar’s story. Why? I wonder if though we are created to be in community we must come to know and understand who our God is in those seasons of great loneliness because otherwise we are too inclined to escape it, to fill the void with things that do not fill, to run from the deep recesses of pain and never more fully grasp the sufficiency of Christ in our life… That in those places of great loneliness, He is enough. That we are most definitely not alone. And we are not alone because people have walked similar paths as us or because those who love and care for us surround us with support. Rather, we are not alone because the God of the university, Elohim, the Great I am, is with us. Today, Kevin and I were at one of our many doctor appointments, watching Dasah move around on the ultrasound screen and I kept thinking of Hagar’s story. Because in this chapter not only do we see God as with her, but with her son. And not only is the God of the universe with Kevin and I, but He is WITH Dasah. I was reading a passage that Kevin read to me over and over again as I was in labor with Sophie in Isaiah and reminded once again that in the great fears, unknowns and seeming mountains before us… He goes with us.
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.” – Isaiah 43:1-3 ESV
God doesn’t always rescue us OUT of the pain and loneliness but He does rescue us IN and THROUGH it. And there He is revealing the treasures of His character that can only be found in the lonely places. Treasures that actually pull us out of the loneliness and into deeper, richer and greater awareness of the profound community we have with our Savior, walking with us in every season of our lives and giving us His power to experience the richness of community with others.
Questions for Reflection:
- What impact do you think Gods revelation of Himself had on Hagars life and view of God?
- How would knowing God is with you in the loneliest seasons of life affect how you step into community with others?
- How would knowing God is with you in the lonely places refine your perspective of loneliness?
Tomorrow’s Passage (Day 34)
Genesis 22: Abraham & Isaac
A song I have loved over the past few weeks… “I am not alone” by Kari Jobe
And this beautiful song… “Alone yet not alone” sung by Joni Eareckson Tada