I don’t know about you, but I can throw myself a darn good pity party when I want to.
You know what I mean. Things don’t go my way, and so I proclaim them “wrong”. Things don’t go my way, and I proclaim myself the victim. My life doesn’t follow the exact path I designed for it in 9th grade and suddenly I need to decide what’s wrong with it and complain often enough so that people know that my life isn’t going the exact way I planned it to go.
And the words.
The next thing I do is I find words that describe my life. Words that describe my state of existence. Some of them don’t last too long: “Ugh, that essay was awful. I’m so pathetic.” When, really, the next week I’m celebrating the A+ I received on my Psych test, all sense of my pathetic nature gone. Or “Someone come help me with this box! I’m so weak.” And the next minute I turn to my friend, “Hey, wanna go on a run tonight?”
But sometimes, my self-proclaimed prophesies last. Sometimes, those muttered words in times of frustration stick around and subconsciously become the standard for how I view my place on this Earth.
One word in particular has stuck around for far too long. This year has led me along paths I never knew I would take, and has made me leap into roles in ways I never thought I would. It has led me to new towns, unfamiliar houses, busy Saturday afternoon coffee shops. It has made me look into the mirror and create a person determined to stick it out. I have worked long hours in new places, driving unfamiliar streets and meeting strangers.
And one word has monopolized my vocabulary more than it ever should have.
“I am so…. alone.”
I began saying it one day, and it has taken me too long to stop.
If you read my blog, or know me at all, you know a bit of my story. Looking at my life, the world may approve my use of words and agree that I have reason to feel alone. I’m 20 years old, in that awkward place in life where I don’t live with my family I grew up with, and yet don’t have a family of my own. Though I desire a relationship, I have never been in one and don’t see any on the horizon. Living in a dorm, being an RA, I live in a hallway of girls I cannot wait to know better, yet nights can be quiet. Last summer, spending my 2 months in a new town, showing up without knowing a soul, it’s no surprise that quiet Saturday evenings had a knack for getting too quiet.
Sure, the World may agree. I have reason to feel alone.
But, friends, I urge you to be wary of the World’s opinion. I beseech you to look up for your reality.
There was a man who walked this Earth 2,000 years ago. His name was Jesus, and He did some pretty incredible things. He was born to a woman named Mary, grew up as a carpenter’s son, lived His life without turning a head. Until He was 30, that is. Then He began to do incredible things: healing diseases, restoring the sight of the blind, walking on water, calming storms. Of course, those around Him were baffled, astounded by this man who can do things no other person could ever do.
But not only that. He also began to claim things, things too incredible, things too great to believe. He claimed that He was life, He was love, He was light. He claimed that He was the Son of God who came to this Earth to save those of us who were pathetic, and weak, and alone.
He claimed that He came to save all of us.
As you would assume, only a few people believed Him. After all, He seemed only human. Who could possibly claim to be all that we would ever need and then live up to it?
No way, too good to be true.
And before too long, it didn’t seem to matter. Many people didn’t like the claims Jesus made about Himself, called it blaspheme, and reported Him to the authorities.
It didn’t take long. Jesus was arrested, flogged, publicly humiliated, beaten, and crucified on a cross. And then He died. On a Friday night, 2,000 years ago, Jesus died on a hillside in Jerusalem.
Jesus, the One who lived a spotless life, died a more gruesome death than most of us would ever dream of dying. And He went willingly, putting up no fight as they nailed His bloody hands and feet to a splintered up log and hung Him, naked, on a cross to suffocate as His body hang limp in front of a cheering audience.
In in that moment, as Jesus died, the Bible says that every sin of this world, every sin of mine, was placed on Him. In that moment, Jesus bore the weight of the world and received the wrath of God that all of us deserve.
In that moment, as He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”, Jesus was more alone than I could ever dream of being. He was more alone than anyone has ever been. In that moment, no one, not even God, was on His side.
And why? Why did He do it? He did it for you. He did it for me. He came to this Earth to live a perfect life and die the loneliest death in order to save me, in order to save you.
And He was put into a tomb, His body still. His body broken. Alone.
And why do I say all of this, friends? Why does it matter if this guy claimed things about Himself and then died? And what does it have to do with me, sitting in a coffee shop 2,000 years later, feeling alone?
That guy, Jesus… He didn’t stay dead. No other human in the history of the Earth has decided to ditch the grave and live a little longer.
But Jesus did. He did and He looked into the astonished eyes of His friends and said some of the most incredible words ever spoken. As they stared, wide-eyed at their once dead friend, finally believing that He was everything He ever claimed to be.
He looked at them and ordered them to go, and to not stay silent. To tell people, to write down what had happened. And then He looked into their frightened eyes and said the sentence that restores and upholds me today.
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
There is one word in my vocabulary that needs to leave. Every time I look at my life and claim to be alone I am spitting in the face of the God who gave His life to make it not so.
The God who has claimed to be with me. The God who is with me.
I am not alone. I am more loved than I could ever know.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.”