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Alone again, naturally

During the 70's there was a depressing song called Alone Again (naturally) by Gilbert O'Sullivan.   In the beginning of the song the person is looking to end his own life, "in an effort to
make it clear to whoever wants to know what it's like when you're shattered".  The remaining stanzas describe heartache in this life that find a person left alone.

During particularly lonely times in my life, this song would come to mind, and I would sing the song's chorus to myself, "Alone again, naturally..."

It was the naturally part that resonated with me as my attitude reflected the dictionary's definition:
  as may be expected; of course.

For most of my lonely seasons were just circumstantial, not due to being left alone by heartache, yet it bothered me greatly to find myself feeling alone time and again.

As I was preparing to write this blog post, I looked up the lyrics to Gilbert O'Sullivan's song, mentioned above, to refresh my memory.  I was so surprised to see this was one of the stanzas of the song.  I certainly didn't remember this.

Oh, if He really does exist
Why did He desert me
In my hour of need
I truly am indeed
Alone again, naturally

How many of us have felt that God has deserted us in our hour of need.  If we were to be honest, we've all felt this way at one time or another.

Even our Lord Himself cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" as He hung dying on the cross.

John Piper explains why Jesus said this...

First, this was a real forsakenness. That is why. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” means he really did. He really did. He is bearing our sin. He bore our judgment. The judgment was to have God the Father pour out his wrath on us, and instead, he pours it out on him — and that necessarily involves a kind of abandonment. That is what wrath means. He gave him up to suffer the weight of all the sins of all of his people and the judgment for those sins. And we cannot begin to fathom all that this would mean between the Father and the Son. To be forsaken by God is the cry of the damned, and he was damned for us. So he used these words because there was a real forsakenness. 

None of us will ever feel the weight of abandonment that Jesus did.  Yet, we can take comfort that our loneliness is never devalued by Jesus.  He understands better than anyone what it means to experience loneliness.

While reading the December 20th devotion of Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman, I saw God's purpose for loneliness in a whole new light. 

"No man ever comes into a realization of the best things of God, who does not, upon the Godward side of his life, learn to walk alone with God. We find Abraham alone in Horeb upon the heights, but Lot, dwelling in Sodom. Moses, skilled in all the wisdom of Egypt must go forty years into the desert alone with God. Paul, who was filled with Greek learning and had also sat at the feet of Gamaliel, must go into Arabia and learn the desert life with God. Let God isolate us. I do not mean the isolation of a monastery. In this isolating experience He develops an independence of faith and life so that the soul needs no longer the constant help, prayer, faith or attention of his neighbor. Such assistance and inspiration from the other members are necessary and have their place in the Christian’s development, but there comes a time when they act as a direct hindrance to the individual’s faith and welfare. {God knows how to change the circumstances in order to give us an isolating experience.} We yield to God and He takes us through something, and when it is over, those about us, who are no less loved than before, are no longer depended upon. We realize that He has wrought some things in us, and that the wings of our souls have learned to beat the upper air.

We must dare to be alone. Jacob must be left alone if the Angel of God is to whisper in his ear the mystic name of Shiloh; Daniel must be left alone if he is to see celestial visions; John must be banished to Patmos if he is deeply to take and firmly to keep “the print of heaven.”

He trod the wine-press alone. Are we prepared for a “splendid isolation” rather than fail Him?"

Isolation and dare I say, "desertion", are the means by which God uses to draw us to Himself!  Through isolation we can experience the best of God!  Every season of loneliness brings with it God's special blessing!

Loneliness is experienced in life and in death; in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad times, in total isolation and in a crowded room.  It does not discriminate...  

We just came out of the Christmas season, a time where people can feel especially lonely.  Maybe you were one of them...

But take heart, as we saw in the Biblical accounts above, those who experienced isolation received great spiritual blessing as they journeyed through their time in the desert...

There are many more Bible accounts of those who found themselves alone.

But El Roi, the God who sees, saw them...

The Lord saw lonely Hagar fleeing into the wilderness from her mistress Sarai.  But then came God's blessing...

Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son;
And you shall call his name Ishmael because the Lord has given heed to your affliction.
Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”;
Genesis 16:11; 13

The Lord saw Leah who was married to a man who did not love her.  But then came God's blessing...

Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb.
Genesis 29:31

 The Lord saw Joseph who was rejected by his brothers, thrown into a cistern,  entrapped by Potiphar's wife and imprisoned.  But then came the blessing...

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love 
and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
Genesis 39:21

You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you." Pharaoh said to Joseph, "See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt." Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck.…
Genesis 41:40-42

“Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.  So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.”
Genesis 50:19-21

I do believe that God created us for community, and it is essential to be a part of the fellowship, but I also realize now, through all the Biblical examples shared above, that much spiritual growth in our faith walk and relationship with Jesus comes through seasons of loneliness and isolation...

Seasons that the Lord ordains...

Seasons that come with promises...

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20b

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

May we all hold fast to these wonderful promises when we enter into a season of loneliness, and wait expectantly for the blessing to come.

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  1. I can't tell you how many times I felt deserted. But we're still here standing strong, aren't we?

    Cheers to us.

    Happy 2017!

    1. Lux, Indeed we are! Praise God!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and happy 2017 to you too!

  2. The Piper quote sheds new light on a a struggle I faced a few years ago. We all face aloneness at times. Love the verses you included in this post. Visiting from Testimony Tuesday.

    1. Ginger. I agree with you, John Piper's insights definitely added clarity to those verses.

      I'm glad!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. What an encouraging, beautiful post! I have found throughout life that this is exactly true. God has to take us all through those wilderness experiences to teach us to rely upon Him solely. It is SO hard to walk through, but, as the Scripture says, "nevertheless afterward". There is an "afterward" for every trial in this life, and sometimes we later see the "why" in God's purpose. I am always so encouraged by visiting with you, sweet friend, and your dear support, friendship, and love extended to us through your visits at my blog just means so much to me. Sending you much love and gratitude in this new year!

    1. Thank you Cheryl!

      I so appreciate your thoughtful comments. They add so much to my blog posts. You are edifying me! :-)

      Praising God that you find encouragement here and for the Lord bringing us together in sweet, kindred friendship.

      Blessings and love to you sweet friend.

  4. I did a Bible study recently by Michael Card: A Sacred Sorrow – Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament. He talks about how God calls us into the wilderness to worship Him. It's a great study! And yes, that wilderness experience and its loneliness is the perfect place for God to show up and love on us and help us to grow closer to Him.

    1. Ruth, Oh! I have never heard of that study before. It does sound like a great study! Thanks for sharing!

      Thank you so much for stopping by. Your visit was a blessing.

  5. Oh, that song. I'd forgotten about it, and didn't know that God was addressed in it. Ruth's reference above to Michael Card is wonderful. He has so much wisdom for the wilderness.

    1. Michele, It does sound wonderfully edifying!

      So nice to have you visit Michele! Happy New Year!

  6. That was a wonderful post. Until we are on our knees, so to speak, with God, only then does the real relationship take place. It starts with repenting because on this earth all humanity has been cast of of Eden and we all have the same affliction- we are sinners. That has been the way I have experienced it. Then after we get past all of that stuff you can really begin a true relationship with God.
    You had so many good examples! Great post.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words.

      And thank you so much for adding to the conversation. Your words are a blessing.


  7. This is a beautiful post, Karen; your words touched my heart. Thank you for sharing the sweet and precious promises that the Lord grants through seasons of loneliness.

    Have a blessed week, dear Karen!!

    1. Thank you Bekki!

      Praising God that you were blessed by God and His very precious promises to us during seasons of loneliness.

      You too! Miss you!!


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