Anyone who is a seasoned leader knows that leadership can at times be lonely. Leaders regularly face times of being misunderstood, criticized, blamed, and judged. However, the cost is worth it. The reward is worth it. Peoples lives being transformed is worth it. Your job isn’t finished yet. Keep running, persevering, and pioneering. Keep reforming, inspiring, and building. God believes in the vision and dream He has placed within your heart.
In church, we sit together and sing together and greet one another cheerily as we leave at the end of a service. We do all of these things, sometimes for years, without forming any real personal Christian relationships. Our words often seem superficial. The church, therefore, becomes a place where Christians live alone together.
Some of you aren’t doing okay out there. Some of you hide your feelings of loneliness, shame over things you did wrong, or the pressure of feeling you never do enough. God sees you, God wants to be closer to you, He has people who want to encourage you too. Stop hiding and trying in your own strength; this will only make things worse. Be vulnerable with Him and be real with a trusted friend and pray with them. Not all feelings are real, not all thoughts are truth. Cast your cares upon the Lord, for He cares for you. (Psalm 35)
No one should ever have to suffer in silence or live alone in pain. We are called to mourn with those who mourn and although I suck at it, I understand the benefits of extreme compassion. There are aspects of the nature of God that are only discovered in suffering.
Bare heights of loneliness…a wilderness whose burning winds sweep over glowing sands, what are they to HIM? Even there He can refresh us, even there He can renew us.
Sometimes we react by a kind of religious reflex and repeat dutifully the proper words and phrases even though they fail to express our real feelings and lack the authenticity of personal experience. Right now is such a time. A certain conventional loyalty may lead some who hear this unfamiliar truth expressed for the first time to say brightly, “Oh, I am never lonely. Christ said, `I will never leave you nor forsake you,’ and, `Lo, I am with you alway.’ How can I be lonely when Jesus is with me?”
Now I do not want to reflect on the sincerity of any Christian soul, but this stock testimony is too neat to be real. It is obviously what the speaker thinks should be true rather than what he has proved to be true by the test of experience. This cheerful denial of loneliness proves only that the speaker has never walked with God without the support and encouragement afforded him by society.
Insecurity, loneliness, frustration, self-hatred, anger, or the like—that goes unchecked will eventually grow into something massive. It may not be today or tomorrow, but it’s much like a sliver under your skin. Left unattended, that sliver will begin to fester and grow an infection until it’s so painful that you don’t want anyone to touch it. But until you remove the sliver, the infection will continue to grow.
In any trial, in any bitter situation, you are not alone, you are not helpless, you are not a victim. You have a tree, a cross, shown to you by the Sovereign God of Calvary. Whatever the trial or temptation, it is not more than you can bear. It is bearable. It can be handled. You can know as Joseph knew, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.
Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for.