Loneliness and the Holy Spirit (guest post by Curt Gough)

In this life we are alone. Whatever the experience, whether good or bad, we are alone in it, no matter who else is around. No one can enter into our space and feel with us. No one can see exactly what we see, hear exactly what we hear, understand exactly what we understand, and we can never fully explain what we feel or experience deep down. No one knows our reality. In all of life’s moments, we are alone.

For some, like me, that alone space can be comfortable. We find solace in that private space, and enjoy being alone with our thoughts, even when surrounded by a crowd of activity. For others, the thought of being alone is uncomfortable – frightening, even. They try to avoid being reminded of being alone, and will sometimes try to fill life with activities and interactions that drown out the “noise” of the alone space. Most just don’t give much thought to being alone, and live life without really thinking about it.

But when we are under pressure – when we are anxious, worried, depressed, discouraged, or hurting – we become acutely aware that we are alone, and that feels especially… well, lonely. No one can truly come inside and bring comfort. We try to communicate what we are experiencing, and sometimes others seem to understand. But we can never fully share what is going on inside, or know if the other person is able to really empathize with us and feel our pain, too.

From the outside, we feel powerless to offer comforting words or actions to those who are hurting. We know that we cannot even know what is really going on inside the other person. From the inside, our alone-ness becomes that much more painful because no one truly is there for us.

God changes all of that. When we exercise faith in the gospel we experience an intimate knowledge of God not previously known by humans. Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the day, but we have something that surpasses even that level of closeness.

God takes up residence in us in the person of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Spirit dwells in our alone space, and understands our inner thoughts, feelings, and emotions. He even communicates those things on our behalf to the Father (Romans 8:26-27) in ways that we ourselves could never express.

We are familiar with promises God has made to, “never leave us or abandon us”. But if we only think of that in terms of his being in close proximity – checking in on us now and then – we miss the full impact of his words. God does not merely act upon us from the outside. He is in us, and we are not alone. We can find true comfort in knowing that someone is there with us – someone truly understands what we are experiencing.

When circumstances shake us, when we are in the deep, dark recesses of our pain or fear someone is with us. Though our circumstances may not change, someone is there. We are understood. We are not alone.

 

-written by Curt Gough, covenant member of Raintree Community Church.

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