Al is a complex human being. He hides behind things. Sometimes, he buries himself in his career. Other times, his ego camouflages him. Most days, he is entrapped by his phone. However, he cannot seem to break away from a particular stereotype. He has tried numerous times to come out from behind the word “one” which keeps attaching itself to him. When that happens, Al becomes Al-one. Then he feels invisible, like no one sees him, because he flies solo. His feeling of isolation then morphs into loneliness. The morning and evening news won’t stop reporting, or reminding him, about what they refer to as the epidemic of loneliness. This issue is also discussed on social media. Al faces it wherever he turns, every “single” day.
The first man, the first woman, tried to hide. They also experienced loneliness, even though they were together. Genesis provides the setting, “When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees.” (3:8) Their choice to sin created a separation between themselves and God, so they hid together behind trees with their shame.
Jesus knew loneliness. After speaking creation into existence, God became a person, a man. For over 30 human years, Jesus lived down here. He lovingly drilled truth in people’s hearts via His parables, stories and miracles. Besides working with wood as a carpenter, He worked with dense souls, defiant against the faith. They hammered Him with their nails of disbelief. Others believed He was the only path to God.
Just like you and I, Jesus had close relationships with loved ones and friends, like Lazarus. When they died, Jesus was affected deeply. After learning that His cousin (John the Baptist) had been beheaded, Matthew tells us what Jesus did: “As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone.” “Night fell while He was there alone.” (14: 13a, 23b) Jesus knew loneliness.
Those who spent countless hours with Jesus, like His disciples, eventually deserted Him, when he was arrested, after Judas betrayed Him. Jesus was fulfilling His single mission, while His followers were filled with fear and uncertainty of the future. Jesus knew loneliness.
We no longer have to hide behind anything, because Jesus was crucified on a tree. From the cross, He yelled out: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (27: 45-46) From noon that day until three o’clock, Matthew also tells us that darkness fell across the whole land. God could not look at Jesus, as all of our sins were transferred to Him. Sin cannot exist in God’s presence, so Jesus became the final and complete sacrifice. He endured separation from God. Jesus knew loneliness. Since God knows what life feels like down here, will you trust Him with your current predicament? God I give you my ________________________.
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”