Never, ever, ever…ever alone

“I feel so alone all the time”

…The words of emotional pain spoken by a girlfriend, broken, and desperately searching for love. Her family has failed her. The separation of her mother and father has left her confused and insecure and feeling abandoned. She has had many and messy failed boyfriend relationships.  Having done well with education, it too, in the end, has failed her – unable to set her up in the career she had envisioned – and she has found herself working in a local fast food restaurant to make ends meet. Her friendships are “rocky” leaving her feeling rejected and not good enough. Often she spoke to me of wanting to give up her life. The pain of her aloneness is severe.

Another of my girlfriends told me that once she was “left”. As a young girl, having broken her ankle, she was using crutches to get around, and her mum forgot one day to pick her up from school. She had to walk the few kilometers distance to her home. She talked often, when we talked deeply about life, how that impacted her. Perhaps if it had been a one-off occasion, this would not have affected her so, but it wasn’t. Physically and emotionally she had been “left” too often. She felt not important enough, not valued enough to be cared for or remembered that day – and many other days. She felt abandoned again and again by the circumstances and people in her life. It has gone on to cause certain reactions and survival habits in her life. She lives with the pain of separation, rejection, and abandonment from those who were meant to be her security and safe place. In an almost sub-conscious way, she does things, and has protective measures so that she will not be left alone. She has told me it is one of her biggest fears. 

In the beautiful verses written by Saint Paul, who invites us to explore the depths of love that cannot be fully understood (Ephesians 3:16-19, NIV), he tells us to search the heights, the depths, the width, and the length to see if we can measure the immeasurable. So great is God’s love for us. Then in another outbreak of expression or stupefaction, over the wonder of it, Paul again invites us to enter an exploration of God’s love. This time the measure is one of space and distance. It too is immeasurable –

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39, NIV).

Abandonment, separation, rejection, and loneliness hurts.  Was I not valuable enough for them to stay? Did I do something wrong? Was I not good enough? Do they even care that I exist? Am I not worth being remembered, or being included or having around? Where is God in all this hardship in my life?

The reason it hurts so much is that it is a value issue. 

Reydon Stanford said, “The word rejection actually means to throw something away. With that in mind, what is the term for something thrown away?  Trash.  No wonder rejection is such a painful experience!  When someone rejects us, it leaves us feeling like we are trash in their eyes; something of no further value and that leaves us feeling extremely hurt.  How could that not hurt?” (The Pain of Rejection, Reydon Stanford).

To be left, to be alone, to be unwanted, to be forgotten, to not be invited, to be left out, to be rejected, all shout, “I am of no value”. Something of no value is just trash. Knowing that rejection, aloneness, separation and abandonment can deeply hurt, God is persistent in His Word about letting us know He is close. He has always been close. 

“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NIV). “I will never leave you” (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV). “What can separate us from the love of God…nothing” (Romans 8;35-39, NIV). The value God places on us means He will always be there. We cannot be separated from Him. Time and space cannot put distance between His Love and our person. Neither can things – actions, people, stuff ups and messes, wrong decisions and the brokenness that we make in our lives or find ourselves in.  Who we are will never create non-inclusion or non-acceptance with Him. While we can feel like trash because of the treatment and careless words and actions of others, to God we are too precious to leave, to be left unwanted, alone and lonely.

We can have the security that no matter where we find ourselves physically or emotionally, we are absolutely loved and safe in His love if we were to believe His words. He is not going to leave us or walk out on us if we don’t measure up or meet conditions and expectations, like those that are set by people around us. He doesn’t give us up. He doesn’t forget about us. He doesn’t forsake us and leave us standing on the sidewalk, crippled by this world trying to navigate our life alone. We may say, “I never feel You”, or “I don’t even know if You exist”, or “Where are You?”  These are all cries of longing for the safety and security that can be found only in being close to Someone who has great love for us. God’s words, “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you” (Joshua 1:5, NIV) must be some of the most important words for us to know. But it will only impact our lives if we believe them. God is not a liar. He is with us always.

God created this world and has never left it. We are not just mortals left to our own devices, we are humanity created in His image, loved, and never left. This is God’s place and within it, we live. He designed and has intimate, personal interest in this world. He has said that the earth is His dwelling place (Isaiah 66:1, NIV), meaning that He made this place, gave it to humanity as home, but it is also the place where He dwells – His home. He is here with us. He is Emmanuel, God with us. “In Him, we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28, NIV). He has not moved from this planet because of the sin that entered, angry and disillusioned with humanity, abandoning us to ourselves. He is still here, moving over the earth, in and around it. He is still intimately here and involved in all that is going on. It’s His place. I have life because He gives it to me. The fact that I am alive and breathing and moving is because He is here with me. But its more than just His presence here, it is His love that is present with me always.

Adam and Eve in their fall, hid from God. They tried to separate themselves from Him – to get far away because they were afraid. Sin had made them afraid and they thought God would now be looking out for them to punish them. God did in fact go looking for them, and in this game of hide-and-seek, when He found them, instead of the punishment they feared, He lovingly and graciously clothed their nakedness and shame (new negative, unfelt before, feelings that came as the result of sin). He never left them, though from this point on they, through the separating nature of sin, lost the intimate closeness they had experienced with Him each day, but He was still there, still in His world, still close and actively working on the plan to bring humanity back to Himself, still seeking closeness with people, and seeing His plan through to deal with the ruin of this world.

God says in the book of Hosea to Israel, that He will remove all obstacles of love between them. It is true for us also. We will one day not only believe He is with us, we will know, we will see, we will feel Him without any barriers, obstacles, obscure vision, lack of faith or whatever.

He is always here, close. Whenever we call or reach out to Him, He is close. We need to understand that His Presence is here alongside us, always. The feeling that we have that we can be separated from His love is just that – a feeling – that is not the reality. God longs for us to know He is always with us. He is Love. He is here. We cannot be separated from His love. 

We are never, ever, ever…ever alone.

Continued in next week’s blog…