Lately, I have discovered a deeply-rooted fear: Loneliness.
I feel its grasp as I force myself to be more productive and more independent. I ask myself: “What would I do if I was left all alone?” or “How will I survive on my own?”
While independence can often bring freedom, mine was a mask for brokenness and bitterness. My husband cannot be relied upon because If I rely on him and he leaves me, then how will I ever manage? If family moves or I am forced to move, how will I continue without their constant support? Instead of being thankful for their help, I am ashamed and offended. People are constantly moving and changing. Sometimes for better, sometimes as a result of lies and pain suddenly pouring out. It is awful to hear of so many people who are left in this way, and it terrifies me. As I have discovered this and prayed over it, and I have a sense that I am not alone.
My grandmother’s husband died shortly after they had their last of five children, my aunt. My grandmother was a homemaker and had planned to be a stay-at-home mother her entire life. She had many friends and family members who were able to do that, so why would she expect anything less? Suddenly she had six mouths to feed whilst grieving over the love of her life, ripped away from her at such a critical time in her life. It was cruel what the world did to my grandmother. Yet she did not become bitter, but joyful and empathetic. She is one of the wisest women I know. How did she do that?
As a young child, the insecurity blossomed into a fear as I saw friends and family leaving with heartbreak after heartbreak. I didn’t understand why they left. Most times I would understand that it was not my fault, but it left me with feelings of abandonment and loneliness I was unable to process. I felt silly for stating it, like those I loved would also leave me if they saw that others found a reason to. We all carry a similar baggage. Something that we hide in shame. Allowing the mold to grow, the wound to fester, and the shame to drag us deeper into isolation which verifies and validates the things we fear. It’s an awful spiral we get stuck into without any chance of restoration or hope. It is exactly what this broken world does best. It is exactly what the devil plans for us. We cannot escape from it until we die. How desperately we need hope.
Hope can often seem hard to come by. It feels like something we need to catch, but we’re never quite good enough.
It is also easy to say, but hard to believe. Yet, this is exactly what Christ wants us to strive for:
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV): And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
So we say it like the more often we say it the more likely we will be to discover it. Like an owner searching for a lost pet: “Here Hope!”
But it alludes us again and again.
The reality I have found is that hope cannot be created on our own accord. It creates lies that we strive after. Things that are broken and burnt. Things that will pass away. When I hear other Christians state that we must “count our blessings” I often huff and puff because I truly did not feel blessed. We are in a very difficult place financially, and our hope for a better income has been waiting for five long years. Five years is nothing compared to the lifetime others wait for “blessings.”
But is that really what Christ tells us to count? Are we told to count our money and feel blessed? Are we told to count our position and feel blessed? Our Home? Our Car?
No, He is not. These are not things of eternal value. They will all burn and be destroyed in the coming of our Christ. His desire is not to have us count our money and therefore find pride and honor in things of this world. Our blessings have already been given to us. They are the promises of Christ. As stated in “Counting Every Blessing” by Rend Collective, we have been blessed beyond all measure by the Scriptures God has given us and His relationship with us. It is our redemption and our freedom.
And just like with the world, we will be affected by the destruction around us. We will become moldy as we see the horrific things that seem to spiral out of control. But God is a redeemer. He can take grapes that are moldy and disgusting, that should be thrown away before they infect others and decrease the value of everything around them, and turn them into brand new grapes. Nobody else can do that. Nothing else can do that. When we speak these promises, they are not the empty promises of humans that might leave. they are eternal promises of a God who has died so you might be able to live. A god who is pursuing you even when you leave.
This is where our hope is, and it is the only cure for loneliness. That He completely restored us when He had every reason to leave us, and He will continually pursue us until we can be with Him every day. He draws you closer. He Does not. and will not, leave you.