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Alone with God

June 30th, 2014

Jacob saw the attitude of Laban and behold, it was not friendly toward him as formerly. The LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

Genesis 31:2-3

Not for the first time in the Bible, nor for the last time, we find someone’s personal life story turn in this way – suddenly he is alone. In Jacob’s case he was virtually like an outcast, traveling alone, forsaken of those who should have protected and helped him. Sometimes God calls us to leave the comfort of what is familiar to follow His plan – this was Abram’s experience – and out of our faith in God we choose to be alone. But often our faith journeys have moments when we suddenly find ourselves alone for different reasons. This was Jacob’s experience. The treachery and unfaithfulness of others caused him to need to leave the place.

We can explain this on a larger scale by simply saying that we live in a fallen world, and we are often alone not because of treachery, but rather such things as disease, simple neglect, close friends moving away, and the self-centeredness that closes people’s hearts to those around them. Perhaps our aloneness is our own fault – we have pushed people away or neglected them ourselves. Perhaps it is the fault of others, and there are those nearby who could and should help, but they are simply not interested in doing so. Probably it is a combination of these things. Whatever the cause (or causes), we need to take the first step and reach out to others, to look and see who we can help, but yet, we just might feel emotionally unable to do so. I think of widows, people out of work, orphans, the emotionally abused – as well as the betrayed – and we seem to discover that every life will have these moments.

When our personal faith story turns in this way, and we find ourselves alone, cut off from others, where do we look for help? The promise of God to Jacob is also Christ’s promise to us, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). The Spirit inspired Matthew to place that quotation as the last verse of his gospel, and as such it is like an echo that reverberates its truth in our souls. Where do we go next? What will we do? Who will go with us? These are the questions we ask, but Christ says, “I will be with you always I will go with you!”

Whatever the reasons we are alone, we should take comfort that we are “alone with God,” so we are not truly alone. As head of his own family, with his wives, children, and servants in tow, Jacob may have appeared as anything but alone. Leadership, however, is a lonely position; as the leader of the family, Jacob was peerless among them. The mantel of responsibility of leading and making provision for all fell on him. But for the person of faith, God will help us bear that responsibility. He comes along to strengthen and encourage, to open doors, to make provisions even in the midst of deserts.

If you feel alone, take this reality to heart – if you are alone with God then you are not truly alone. He will lead you and guide you. He will bring new friends into your life. He will open up doors of opportunity and provision. He will lead you into new promised lands that you knew nothing about. In fact, when our life story turns in this way, these seem to be the moments when God does His greater and more profound works in our lives. It was in Egypt that Joseph learned of God’s faithfulness. It was after godly King Uzziah died that Isaiah received the uplifting vision and his calling. It was after facing his trial alone that Paul wrote, “At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (2 Tim 4:16-17).

For me personally, all of the greatest and deepest works of God in my spiritual life have been preceded by seasons of aloneness. No one alone with God is truly alone.

Gleanings from Genesis ,

The Ministry of Aloneness

October 15th, 2013

I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

The Revelation 1:9

The Apostle John entered into the ministry of alone-ness more than once in his life. At the Last Supper he leaned his head against the chest of Christ, being alone together with Him in the midst of others. He stood with Mary alone from among the apostles at the foot of the cross, when all others had run away. Early in his ministry he lost his brother James to martyrdom, also an apostle and one with whom he had followed John the Baptist as well as Jesus of Nazareth, facing a sudden absence in his companions of faith. One of the pains we experience in life in the loss of family and friends is the loss of common and shared memory, and John became accustomed in the early stages of his service of standing alone for Christ.

Isolation will either destroy us or it will be God’s tool to make us. In this passage above we find the aged apostle is now exiled, isolated, and it was possibly an attempt to drive him mad by the authorities, and discredit him and his ministry and the Messiah he proclaimed. “See what your religion does to people!” could then be the somewhat credible claim by the persecutors, similar to what was said to Paul, “Your great learning has driven you insane” (Acts 26:24).

But the Lord ministers to our hearts when we are alone and these moments can become precious, comforting, character building, transformational, and peaceful. We have a heavenly Father with whom we must never fear to be alone. We have a Savior who “sups” with those who hear His call and open the door. What the authorities thought would destroy John became God’s tool to inspire Him and enlighten us of the end times. The New Testament book we call “The Revelation” was written against the backdrop of persecution, of a world confident they could destroy the Christian faith, that they could discredit those who serve. In his aloneness God found him, and He can find us as well in our aloneness. The ministry of aloneness uses the opportunities of isolation to go to God in prayer and in fellowship. Have others rejected you? Have others found no use for you? Are you less busy than you want to be for God? Before when you were busy you found no time for Him, now you have time! Use this time to be with Him.

Alone-ness must never become aloofness, trying to be above others in arrogance, choosing isolation for pride’s sake, refusing to love for Christ’s sake. John found no genius in himself during this time. He discovered no secret cache within his own heart that was his alone that made him special. He as an individual could be crushed just like anyone else. The secret to his life was the presence and life of Christ. John stood steadfast despite the persecution because Christ stood within him. As he had leaned his head against the chest of Christ at the Supper, as he had stood alone at the foot of the cross with His mother, so he continued to lean upon Christ, to trust and commune with Him, to hear His Spirit’s voice, to worship and surrender his heart to Christ – these he continued to do and his prison became a place of praise, his isolation became an experience deeper than any he had had.

Has the Lord found you alone yet? Has He visited you in your isolation and become the Friend who sticks closer than a brother? Has he become the bright light in your dark cell? Has He lifted you out of your despair by His gentle hand of love? The ministry of aloneness allows Christ to minister deeply within our soul, and these moments deepen us and prepare us for what He has. The greater the challenges that await us, the greater He desires to use us, the greater our need will be to be alone with Him.


Evening Devotionals, The Core, The Deeper Christian Life ,