Loneliness

I’m sure a friend wouldn’t mind if I quoted what he said to me once. “It’s not the answer to loneliness, you know – getting married.” Yeah, I knew that, but what is the answer? It certainly isn’t being a Christian. As Christians, God sometimes asks us to speak up about things that’ll make us unpopular, so in a way, we can become lonelier than we were before we knew the Lord.

“Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with His garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendour, striding forward in the greatness of His strength?

“‘It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save.’

“Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress?

“’I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with Me. I trampled them in My anger and trod them down in My wrath; their blood spattered My garments, and I stained all My clothing. It was for Me the day of vengeance; the year for Me to redeem had come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so My own arm achieved salvation for Me’” (Isaiah 63:1-5).

Such poetic words.

The answer to loneliness is, He understands. Jesus knew what it was like to suffer with no one to help Him. His friends James and John asked to sit at His right and left in His future kingdom, but they weren’t prepared to be at His right and left when He died on the cross. He trod the winepress – alone. In a winepress, grapes were trodden on and crushed to make wine, and Revelation 14 talks about the winepress of God’s wrath. Figuratively speaking, Jesus walked into the middle of God’s anger in our place, so that our punishment wasn’t on us; it was on Him. No one took that journey with Him or even understood fully what He was about.

If you’re feeling misunderstood or lonely, Jesus knows where you’re coming from. There’s nothing you’ll go through that He hasn’t gone through first. Isn’t that something to praise Him for?

Love Unchangeable

My Facebook newsfeed has really touched me tonight. I’ve read about someone who’s away from their spouse for Christmas (Christmas Eve is a night more than any other when you just want to be held), someone else in prayer for a family-member, and another in horrendous physical pain. Maybe ‘Happy Christmas’ isn’t quite the right thing to say this year.

My heart goes out to you, however you’re feeling today. Maybe you’re in prayer for a friend or family-member, whose circumstances are changing when you’d rather they didn’t. Maybe you’re grieving. Maybe the hope of ever seeing a change in your circumstances is slipping away. Wherever this Christmas finds you, there’s a God whose love for you never changes, who sent His Son into the world to be our Immanuel – God-with-us: God with us in our loneliness; God with us in our suffering. We can give all our worries to Him.

Circumstances may change, but Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He wants so much to be invited into the nitty-gritty of your life, and to give you the hope of a future with Him in heaven. Bonnie’s OneWordAdvent focus for this week is love, and there’s none greater than the love Jesus showed. Will you love Him back this Christmas?