DayBreaks for 3/22/18: There Was No One There
From the DayBreaks archive, March 2008:
Have you ever felt absolutely and totally alone? I am not the kind of person who minds being alone – in fact, I rather enjoy it…most of the time. But when I worked in high tech, I traveled a lot and there were many times when I’d go to a strange city (or even a strange country) and loneliness would settle over my soul like a shroud. There are many places where loneliness raises its head and comes to sit next to you. Once it arrives, it tends to stay.
Some of the loneliest places I’ve been read like a list of places most folks would like to visit: Ireland, Sao Paulo, London, and in America, Mississippi and Alabama. I don’t know why I felt so alone here in the US, but when you’re in a foreign country (even one like Ireland or England that speaks my native tongue) you can feel desperately alone. Without my family, my wife, my dogs or friends, loneliness haunts like a spectre. The more foreign, the greater the haunting.
The story of Gethsemane is one of the most painful stories for me to read in the entire collection of Scripture, and having been there, is even more painful to me. It appears to be the time of Jesus’ greatest loneliness, with perhaps the exception of the cry of dereliction from the cross itself. Anticipation of agony is oft times worse than the pain we anticipate. I wonder if it was that way for Jesus.
In his novel, More Like Not Running Away, Paul Shepherd wrote: “I’d always known, in one place in my throat, how Jesus must have cried in the garden—crying not to die, because there was no fear of death, and not to leave his friends, because he walked alone, and not to suffer, because the blood and bruises and thorns were part of his perfection—but crying because he could not find his Father’s face, because when he would suffer all that he could bear, the pain of every person, living and dead, in that dark moment, there was really nobody there.”
Jesus truly had no peers to swap celestial stories with. He had no one on the planet who understood what he faced just in a matter of hours. There was no one else who truly understood the weight of the world’s sin as it came and settled on him like a hot blanket on that Palestinian night. If ever anyone was in a foreign land, it was Jesus. If ever anyone found “there was really no one there,” surely it was He. “We esteemed him smitten by God…”
For all who have ever felt loneliness, for all who have ever felt that there was “no one there,” take heart in knowing that Jesus has been to that desolate place before you. And no matter how alone he felt at the moment he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, he soon proclaimed with great confidence: “Into Your hands I commit my spirit!” In the midst of his massively heavy aloneness, He still had confidence in the Father He knew and loved, and was supremely confident that the Father saw and loved Him and would not ultimately let His Holy One be abandoned.
Dare we hope for the same assurance? Absolutely, for His Father is our Father and is unchanging.
PRAYER: Fill our loneliness with the confidence of Jesus that we may, in childlike trust and faith, abandon ourselves into Your hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.