John 12: 32
Anti-malarials can be fun! I had some fantastically colourful and slightly scary dreams under the influence of Larium whilst in Ghana. I didn’t need Larium, however, to fuel many of my other reactions. Loneliness hit hard when I left my teammates to spend my second month in Ghana working at the opposite end of the country with locals whom I had never met. Having been in the very close company of the team for three and a half weeks, I was suddenly left to discover a completely new and very different part of the country by myself. For a considerable amount of time on the bus journey to the South and then settling into my new accommodation, I had not spoken to anybody that I knew. I was feeling very lonely. At night I dreamt of family and friends back home and of the teammates I had left behind. During the day I had plenty of spare time to think about what the others in the team were doing in our normal everyday routine.
Perhaps you can relate to this experience of loneliness. Perhaps the exciting novelty stage of your time overseas has worn off and you long to be surrounded by people whom you know and who know you. Perhaps the thought hadn’t even crossed your mind until now - sorry for bringing it up in that case!
It was a great help for me at that time to be reminded of the fact that Jesus knew what it was like to be in a similar, only much more serious, situation. Betrayed and abandoned by His friends, having known all along that this would happen, Jesus was taken, beaten, falsely accused, put on trial, rejected and despised by His own people, who demanded His crucifixion. As you picture Christ walking to Calvary, it is hard to imagine a more lonely scene. The King of kings, by rights the Ruler of everyone past, present and future, was rejected by everyone, even His closest having abandoned Him.
Yet despite the loneliness of the situation, Christ knew that He was not alone. Jesus knew that He and the Father are One and that the Father was with Him at that time. In the same way we as Christians, united to Christ, can be confident of God’s presence with us. God has given us His Holy Spirit as He promised He would (John 16: 5 - 16), He has promised that He will never leave us (Hebrews 13: 5) and He has told us that nothing can separate us, His children, from His love (Romans 8: 35 - 39).
To be reminded that the greatest Friend that it is possible to have is still around and loving you is a sure-fire way to fight the feelings of loneliness. All too often the manic pace of life on the wards can distract you from giving quality time to the development of such a relationship. Make the most of the time that you have now to develop your relationship with God. Pray to Him. Read His word. Grow in your knowledge of and faith in God.
Mark 10: 32 - 34; John 16: 25 - 33