These two words seem like opposing places of existence. However, both are strangely connected when it comes to intimacy with God.
My wife Beth and I were in church this morning and a thought from our pastor resonated deeply with me, causing me to jot this down before the profundity wears off. Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church here in Charlotte hit a nerve in me when he shared this profound and challenging thought: God can bring us to intimacy with Him when we are experiencing isolation and loneliness. That may not be exactly how he said it, but that is the morsel of goodness that I took from it.
Think on this for a moment: if you are currently experiencing loneliness and isolation, you have an invitation to connect in a very real and authentic way to the Creator who longs to know you as your Father.
In my own life, I have experienced a whirlwind of emotions the past several years as I have relocated from Charlotte, NC to Lynchburg, VA to Los Angeles, CA and then back to Charlotte, NC. When you move around so many times in less than a decade, your relationships can get very fragile. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve made some incredible friendships in each place along the way. But I can speak to this as well as anyone: a friend 2,000 miles away isn’t the same friend they were when they were in living in the same city.
I married the love of my life almost six months ago and she truly captivates me more than any woman who’s ever walked the face of the earth. She’s sincerely the best friend I’ve ever had outside of knowing Jesus. But anyone who is married knows that you can still experience isolation and loneliness, especially when brokenness is part of your story.
Those of you who know me well know that I suffer from an anxiety disorder that often paralyzes me as I long to live my dreams and know God. As this is a reality, it can also bring great loneliness and isolation, even though my wife loves me through even the hardest fears and doubts. As I think about what Pastor Steven said at Elevation today, I have a new longing to become more intimate with Jesus when my experiences turn to isolation, insecurity, and loneliness.
Whatever you are going through in your own journey that may be bringing you to tears, consider the words of the psalmist in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (NIV).