Not Alone in Your Loneliest Place

At the heart of the Christmas message, we see Immanuel: “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). God took on flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, thus becoming one of us. We call this unique event the incarnation. So then, in Christ, God is with us (collectively). But does that also mean he is with me and with you (individually)?

At the conclusion of his earthly ministry of redemption, Jesus reiterates the wonderful truth: “…and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20b). He is speaking to his disciples—his friends. Every person present that day was hearing this as a personal promise from their friend Jesus. Surely this is not just a corporate blessing for the Church, but a very personal one for you and me, by faith in our Savior and friend, Jesus!

So, where are the limits on God’s provision of with-ness? King David wrestles with this in Psalm 139. He asks rhetorically, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (139:7). He explores the geography of both earth and the spiritual realm, concluding that there is no limit to God’s with-ness: “…when I awake, I am still with you” (139:18b).

That’s fine for David, but what about my loneliest place?

Based on recent experience, I’m thinking of 30-40 minutes alone in an MRI tube. Or worse, lying under a radiation machine. As I write this, I’m in the middle of radiation therapy, 10-12 minutes per session, 30 sessions total over six weeks’ time. When I enter the room, my feet are tied together and my face is covered by a mask that is strapped to the table to prevent me from moving my head a fraction of a centimeter. The medical staff retreats from the room for their own safety, piping in classic rock songs for my distraction, as my table moves in programmed harmony with the buzzing, whirring radiation machine. This is a terribly lonely place to be!

But I am not alone, I’m with God. David’s conviction is equally true for me: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” (Ps. 23:4). God is with me!

Don’t misunderstand—I’m never really alone these days. I have more support and encouragement from family and church and friends at a distance than I’ve ever experienced in my life. All these people are evidence that God is with me. But when I’m all alone in that room, I know the Lord Jesus is with me always. This is just a fact, cemented in his Word. And this is good. Really good.

What about your loneliest place? Dear friend, child of God, adopted through Christ Jesus… the Lord is with you—always.

Rev. Brent Juliot is Contributing Editor of F&F magazine and Pastor of Living Hope Church in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

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